File photograph. / SUR

Spanish city opens its first funeral home for pets

The facility in Valladolid has a cremation oven, urns for ashes and a therapist to care for mourners

J. ASUA

A northern Spanish city has just got its first funeral home for pets. The centre in Valladolid - called Tanatomascota - has facilities that differ very little from those intended for humans.

"We wanted it to be a warm and welcoming place,” said owner Ana Belén Pérez Pahíno.

In the first month of operation Tanatomascota has already hosted 12 individual and five collective burials. The service began at almost the same time as new laws protecting the rights of animals in Spain were adopted.

The funeral home for pets aims to show empathy for animals and their grieving owners from the collection of the corpse in an isothermal van and its transfer to the funeral home, to the cremation of the remains after mourners pay their last respects to a dead pet in one of three rooms where the animal’s body is laid out.

“There are people who are very affected, with a lot of pain for the loss after having shared many years. Here we want that goodbye to be carried out in the best possible way,” she said.

The layout of the funeral home for pets is identical to those of a funeral home for people. Sofas to receive visits from friends or relatives who have known the deceased, exposition of the body after its preparation on a table with a cloth and rose petals, cremation of the pet and later an urn to keep the ashes safe.

Costs can vary. An individual cremation costs between 220 euros and 320 euros depending on the weight of the pet. The reservation of one of the rooms costs 125 euros and urns cost between 35 euros and 200 euros. The funeral home also has a columbarium with 49 spaces for remains. The cost to house an urn in this ‘pet cemetery’ is 165 euros per year.

Tanatomascota also offers support to grieving owners with a therapist. "We have a specialised therapist to accompany the person who has lost their pet, to help them overcome it because many are not prepared," said Pérez Pahíno.