September 21, 2008
By ALYCIA LIM HUI
Losing a beloved
pet can be traumatic, but giving it a decent send-off can help
ease the pain. If that is how you feel, then a career as an undertaker
for pets may be just right for you.
HIS may not be the
first job that comes to mind when you are contemplating a career.
But for those who lose their beloved pets, it is comforting to
know that there is someone to conduct a proper memorial service
and attend to the details of the burial, or cremation, as they
struggle to come to terms with their loss. Actually, that was
how it all started for 30-year-old James Kho.
Kho takes his Labrador Rocky out for a walk every morning.
When his dog died
about three years ago, Kho had problems trying to find an appropriate
final resting place for it. here was no proper way of disposing
the body, says Kho. sually, people wrap their pet in a plastic
bag and throw it into the rubbish bin because they do not have
a choice. It was this that made him decide to start his own company,
Pet Memorial Services, to cremate or bury deceased pets. The company
now conducts memorial services for all kinds of animals dogs,
cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs. If you like, you can even
request that your fish be cremated. once had a client who wanted
a cremation service for his Koi, so I wrapped it up in a piece
of cloth and cremated it.
The cremation ceremony is painful, but provides a sense of closure
for pet lovers.
The service he provides
has certainly attracted the attention of pet owners. On average,
Kho gets about 40 cases each month. He works hard to ensure that
he handles all of them well because it is a responsibility that
has been entrusted to him. ven when I am very busy, I will never
rush through a memorial service. used to work as a sales executive
at a bank prior to this job. Banking was very stressful, so I
was quite happy to leave that and start my own business. least,
this is doing something that I care about, he says. According
to Kho, some clients like to have prayers conducted at their pets
cremation ceremonies. ne of my clients arranged for a Buddhist
monk to attend the ceremony, he adds.
My job involves
... organising the whole memorial service, from providing the
things needed to picking up the dead pet from its home for cleaning,
and then preparing it for burial or cremation. I also drop off
the urn containing the ashes the following day, after a pet has
My morning starts
... waking up at 7 and taking my three-year-old Labrador for a
walk. Then I have my breakfast and read the newspaper. I usually
start my work day at around 9.30. I will either go straight to
make urn deliveries, or wait for calls from clients. Each day
is different, depending on the type of pets I attend to and the
kind of service required, be it cremation or burial.
To qualify, you
... No specific paper qualifications, but communication skills
are important because I deal with different people all the time
and need to understand their needs.
The best person
for the job is ...
... someone who loves animals and has lots of patience. I sometimes
receive calls from clients who cry over the phone for quite a
while before they can even speak. Also, one cannot be afraid of
animals, blood or carcass. Occasionally, I get animals that have
been involved in accidents and I need to clean them up before
the burial or cremation ceremony. It is also important to be familiar
with the roads around the Klang Valley because clients will usually
just provide their home address. We have to be able to find our
Prospects for the
Nowadays, there is an increasing number of pet shops and vets,
so more people are keeping pets at home. Since there are not many
people in this industry yet, the prospects are quite good. I am
looking at Penang and Seremban as possible locations for future
I love my job because
... I love animals! I also understand the grief one feels when
a beloved pet dies, so it is nice to know that I am providing
a service that helps pet owners in their time of need and grief.
What I dislike
... is clients who constantly ask for discounts. Some people also
try to delay payment. There are some who will only pay after many
phone calls have been made, long after the service has been held.
I also dislike the idea of people putting their pets to sleep,
or leaving them to die on the streets after the animals sustain
injuries. Keeping a pet is a lifetime commitment. I feel people
should think the idea through before making the decision to keep
A millionaire by
As of now, I make enough to support my family. But then, while
money is important, it is certainly not my motivation for staying
in this job.
1995-2008 Star Publications
(Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)