Man cares for city’s pets, dead or living

Published: 08/03/2009 05:00



One local animal lover turns a piece of prime real estate into a pet cemetery and hotel to honour his furry friends.

A view of the cemetery, where nearly 200 pets are buried.

One local animal lover turns a piece of prime real estate into a pet cemetery and hotel to honour his furry friends.

Many people consider their pet as part of the family, but 70-year-old Nguyen Bao Sinh is taking his love for animals to extremes – to love and honour pets even after they are six feet under. Sinh has opened a pet cemetery.

Sinh says he had nurtured the idea of setting up a pet cemetery for years before he actually built it a decade ago. The graveyard is down an alley off Truong Dinh Street in Ha Noi.

Nguyen Bao Sinh’s love for his dog Ami did not fade away even after the pet died.

The scene is tranquil: the wind ruffles the leaves of the willow trees and a statue of Bodhisattva Kwan Yin, the Buddha of Mercy, is reflected in the water of a small lake. But this is central Ha Noi and prime retail estate, so why on earth did Sinh choose to bury dead animals here?

“Many people said I was crazy for using this 700sq.m plot of land as a pet cemetery when I could have built a hotel and made some money, but I am a follower of Buddha and love animals like I love people. Animals, like humans have souls that need to be worshipped.”

Sinh says that for many people, their love for their pet doesn’t fade away when the animal dies. “Many feel like they’ve lost a loved one when a pet dies so they need a grave to help the grieving process.”

Sinh can empathise with that. In 1978, he had a dog named Ami, the French word for friend. It died in 1990. Sinh built a tomb for Ami in the centre of the cemetery with a statue of a dog, a stone stele and an incense burner. A picture of the dog still hangs in Sinh’s living room.

“I still remember one little girl who came to my cemetery and asked me in a whimpering voice to bury a butterfly. It was a strange request, but I consoled her and used a small piece of land to bury her butterfly because she had a kind heart,” Sinh says.

It’s free to visit the cemetery, donations are accepted.

Roll over Rover

In the last ten years, over 200 pets have been buried in the cemetery. But space is limited, so two years after the funeral, the animal is exhumed, cremated, and a stone stele erected in its place, leaving space for more dead pets. Now there are around 100 gravestones.

When pets are newly put to rest, their owners visit regularly and take care of the graves, Sinh says.

“Most people come on the 1st and 15th days of every lunar month and during Tiet Thanh Minh (grave visiting festival).”

But people gradually forget their furry friends as time goes by, so Sinh and his 10 employees take care of the graves for them.

Good care is taken of the cemetery, says one woman visiting the graves.

“I live quite far away, near West Lake, so I don’t have much time to look after my pet’s grave. I feel very happy knowing the people who work here will look after it for me.”

As a dedicated Buddhist, Sinh says he believes humans and animals need salvation. As proof, he built a pagoda in the cemetery and named it Te Dong Vat Nga (love animals and humans equally). Here, he prays for the dead animals with participation from Ha Noi pagoda bonzes.

Sinh also plans to build a US$176,470 animal crematorium in the cemetery.

Hotel Fido

Sinh doesn’t just cater for the dead. Alongside the pet cemetery is the “hotel,” he built in 2000 to house pets whose owners cannot look after them for a certain period of time. The two-storey kennel has 50 “rooms” that are always booked up come Lunar New Year.

Animals looked after at the kennel are arranged into different rooms according to their weight. Animals under 20kg have kennels 2sq.m and bigger animals have larger areas.

“I’ve lived with pets since I was six years old. I remember every one and still love them,” Sinh says.

“I have had a lot of different jobs. I’ve been an artist and a poet, but whatever I’ve done it has been for the love of my pets.”

That’s why he spends so much money on them, Sinh says.

“Some people think I’m wasting my money, but they just don’t understand how much more valuable life is if you love animals.”


Provide by Vietnam Travel

Man cares for city’s pets, dead or living - Profiles - In depth |  vietnam travel company

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