Zoya Girard treated her beloved dachshund, Poncho, like a member of the family all his life. She's giving him the same kind of attention in death.
She wanted her 11-year-old dog to be buried in his favorite blanket, a prayer read at his graveside service and a viewing before he was laid to rest.
Girard leaned over his casket last week, looking at her beloved pet one last time in a visitation room at the East Lawn Pet Loss Center in Sacramento.
"He was like a grumpy old man, always barking," Girard said, weeping. She leaned over and kissed him. "But he was always there for me. This is the least I could do for him."
More often, man's or woman's best friends are getting final send-offs similar to those for their owners. Pet funerals with viewings or visitations, prayers, blessings and religious readings are becoming more common, say industry experts. The cost? About $800 and up.
Pet cemeteries have been around for decades, but the number of funerals – 10- to 15-minute graveside services – has increased dramatically in recent years, according to the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories in Georgia.
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