A GRAVEYARD FOR PETS
(01) Despite the recession, Britain's pet owners are willing to pay for a permanent memorial (02) to much-loved furred and feathered friends. The Rossendale Pets Cemetery, near Rawtenstall in Lancashire, now stretches to over 10 acres covered by 1,600 graves and 800 plots for small caskets of ashes.
It was started 26 years (03) ago by a local farmer who ran his dog (04) over with a tractor and was (05) so grief-stricken that he put up a headstone. That has long since been dwarfed (06) by elaborate monuments, including a marble gate flanked by pillars. Dedicated to a horse called Brandy, it cost well (07) over £2,000 seven years ago. Other animals commemorated in the cemetery vary from budgies to a lioness. The owners of the cemetery, Mr and Mrs Annable, have had some upsetting experiences:
"We had a man (08) who tried to climb into the incinerator to kiss his Irish wolfhound goodbye. He was an educated man (09) as well, an English teacher. In the end, he left half the ashes here and took half home.
"Every Sunday a long-distance driver brings fresh flowers (10) for his dog. Rain, hail, fog or snow, he never (11) misses/forgets. And then (12) there is Kakkoo the parrot, who spoke four languages. His grave is marked by a simple wooden cross and a bronze plaque.
"(13) One/A couple arrived carrying a cage. They had not seen their hamster for (14) some time. Was it in hibernation or was it dead? They couldn't bear to look. In fact, it was as stiff as a board. When I told them, they burst into tears. I didn't (15) have the heart to charge them."