advertisement

Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > Relationships> Pets > Photos: The man who gives strays a respectful send-off

Photos: The man who gives strays a respectful send-off

Kent Luk, who runs a pet shelter in Hong Kong, takes care of 500 strays—and gives them a dignified funeral through a green burial when they die

Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, interacts with dogs inside his shelter in Hong Kong, China August 30, 2021. Picture taken August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik (REUTERS)

By Aleksander Solum

HONG KONG, Sept 6 (Reuters)—In Hong Kong, where land is at a premium and burials are expensive, pet owners can choose "green burials" at more than a dozen animal crematoriums—an option that Kent Luk, who runs a dog shelter, says brings compassion to their deaths.

Luk, owner of the city’s Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, takes care of about 500 strays at a time. Luk ends up caring for many of the dogs until they die. He says arranging a respectful funeral for his strays adds dignity at the end of their lives. 

Also Read | Planning to adopt an Indie pup? Here’s what to keep in mind

If he handed their bodies over to the government, they would end up at one of the city’s landfills. “We don’t want them to end up with the trash. We want them to be treated with some respect,” he told Reuters.

Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, interacts with a paraplegic dog on a wheelchair at his office in Hong Kong, China August 30, 2021. Picture taken August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik
Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, interacts with a paraplegic dog on a wheelchair at his office in Hong Kong, China August 30, 2021. Picture taken August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik (REUTERS)

The cremations take place at a nearby animal funeral parlour, which charges him a "symbolic" fee. Other pet owners pay higher rates, from HK$1,400 ($180) or higher for larger animals. 

Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, and a volunteer put down offerings for dead stray animals during a funeral at a crematory in Hong Kong, China August 13, 2021. Picture taken August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik
Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, and a volunteer put down offerings for dead stray animals during a funeral at a crematory in Hong Kong, China August 13, 2021. Picture taken August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik (REUTERS)

Owners can say goodbye to their pets in a designated room. Later, they can choose to bring home the ashes or have them scattered in a garden at the funeral facility.

Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, interacts with dogs inside his shelter in Hong Kong, China August 30, 2021. Picture taken August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik
Kent Luk, founder of Paws Guardian Rescue Shelter, interacts with dogs inside his shelter in Hong Kong, China August 30, 2021. Picture taken August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik (REUTERS)

Joey Wong, who chose cremation for her cat, Suet Suet, said she wanted to spread the cat’s ashes at the foot of a palm tree on her balcony. Wong said she wanted Suet Suet to have funeral rites, just like a human. 

A staff member of Rainbow Bridge Cremation Services scatters ashes of cremated stray animals at the garden of the crematory in Hong Kong, China August 13, 2021. Picture taken August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik
A staff member of Rainbow Bridge Cremation Services scatters ashes of cremated stray animals at the garden of the crematory in Hong Kong, China August 13, 2021. Picture taken August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik (REUTERS)

“She can look back at us from the balcony … And she can remain part of our lives and be together with the children as they grow older,” Wong said. (Writing by Farah Master. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Also Read | How can you make the process of ageing easier for your pets?

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    06.09.2021 | 10:26 AM IST

Next Story