Dogs to dust: pets get send-off with a human touch

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Animal funeral home/taxidermy in Belgium
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Dogs to dust: pets get send-off with a human touch
The body of Chico, a Chihuahua, is seen in a decorated basket at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 12, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
The body of Charlie, a Jack Russell terrier, is seen in a decorated basket at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 8, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Paolo Presti reacts next to the body of his dog Bianca, a Canadian shepherd, at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 12, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Patrick Pendville, founder of Animatrans, adjusts coffins made for animals at his shop in Brussels, Belgium April 15, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
People react next to the body of their dog Bianca, a Canadian shepherd, at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 12, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
The body of Bianca, a Canadian shepherd, lies in a decorated basket at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 12, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Chantal Detimmerman reacts next to the body of her dog Chico, a Chihuahua, placed in a decorated basket at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 12, 2016. "I loved him so much that I decided to keep his ashes, to always have Chico next to me," Detimmerman said. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Cathy Vertongen, a taxidermist, works on a dead dog at her workshop in Aalst, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Cathy Vertongen, a taxidermist, works on a dead dog at her workshop in Aalst, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Cathy Vertongen, a taxidermist, works on a dead parrot at her workshop in Aalst, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Cathy Vertongen, a taxidermist, poses with a stuffed dog at her workshop in Aalst, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Cathy Vertongen, a taxidermist, works on a dead dog at her workshop in Aalst, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
The stuffed body of Moukys, a barbary macaque, is seen at its owner Chantal Bauchez's home in Rebecq, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Patrick Pendville, owner of Animatrans, poses with a stuffed dog at a taxidermist's workshop in Aalst, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Myriam Waeles poses with her stuffed duck, a mallard named Arthur, at her home in Lennik, Belgium April 29, 2016. "Arthur was a special duck... He was always waiting for me at the door when I came home, walking next to me in the living room," Waeles said. "Having Arthur, stuffed next to me, comforts me." Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Chantal Bauchez poses with her stuffed barbary macaque, named Moukys, at her home in Rebecq, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Monique Kroonen-Dupont poses with her stuffed Yorkshire, named Doudou, at her home in Genval, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
The stuffed body of a Yorkshire, named Doudou, is seen at its owner Monique Kroonen-Dupont's home in Genval, Belgium April 29, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A statue of a dog is seen at a cemetery for animals in Aywaille, Belgium April 8, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Graves of pets are seen at a cemetery for animals in Aywaille, Belgium April 8, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Patrick Pendville, founder of Animatrans, shows a resin mask depicting the face of a dead dog at the Samsara Eternity crematory for animals in Soignies, Belgium April 15, 2016. Pets are getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets. Other customers choose to stuff their dead pets to turn them into an even more tangible reminder. REUTERS/Yves Herman SEARCH "ANIMATRANS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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BRUSSELS, May 19 (Reuters) - Chantal Detimmerman weeps at the funeral parlor as she spends a last few moments with her beloved Chico who has been prepared for cremation and laid out in a dog basket.

That is no disrespect for Chico.

Curled up as if asleep, with a garland of flowers around one paw, the Chihuahua is getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets.

"I loved him so much that I decided to keep his ashes, to always have Chico next to me," Detimmerman said.

Other customers choose to turn their dead pets into an even more tangible reminder.

"Arthur was a special duck," said Myrian Waeles, who nuzzles her nose against the mallard's green head as she poses for photographs for a Reuters Wider Image feature, at her home in nearby Lennik, a town west of Brussels.

Arthur stares ahead with the same expression he has had for the last eight years, since he died and Waeles took him to Animatrans to be stuffed. The company also makes death masks, casting an impression of an animal's face in long-lasting resin.

"He was always waiting for me at the door when I came home, walking next to me in the living room," Waeles said of her duck.

"Having Arthur, stuffed next to me, comforts me."

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Patrick Pendville set up the funeral service after seeing first-hand what animal disposal often looks, and smells, like.

Dropping a dead dog off at an animal rendering plant, a guard instructed him to unpack the carcass, remove its collar, and throw the body into a two-meter-high (7-foot) container swarming with flies, among other animal remains.

Pendville says his company - which charges between 35 and 350 euros for a cremation - provides a humane way for people to say goodbye to animals they feel were part of the family. But by law it is classified as a processor of hazardous waste.

"I totally refuse (that) name," he said. "I eagerly wait for when a pet is considered to be sentient and not an expired common commodity when it dies."

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