Pet Memorial Services (001634464-U)


Carcass Dispose

The Star

Education Sunday September 21, 2008

Final salute



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 been cremated.

My morning starts with ...
... 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 need...
... 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 way around.

Prospects for the future
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 expansion.

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 most ...
... 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 one.

A millionaire by 30?
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.

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