Because we like to answer questions you didn't know you had and we like to write about things we're pretty certain no on else has and because we wish someone else had written about this already, we're going to tell you what options you have if your dog dies in Istanbul. We're servicey like that.
The answer to the question "what do we do after?" created a pit in our stomach well before any dog headed that direction. We imagined having to put them out with the trash or futzing around with taxis and shovels in Belgrad Forest, the only sizeable piece of undeveloped real estate within an hour's drive of home. Neither option appealed in the least.
Thinking the worst and incapable of asking the questions ourselves, we tasked the able and Mo-loving Villa Luna with assessing the alternatives. We dreaded her report, but we were surprised when she told us we had three choices, not all of them awful:
- Istanbul has a pet cemetery. Who knew? We didn't care much for this option, but we were surprised to hear such a thing exists. Someone who has more motivation than we do should look into the who/what/wheres of this. In a culture where keeping animals as pets is a relatively new phenomenon and dogs carry lots of theological baggage, this is sort of intriguing.
- Official burial in Belgrad Forest. Apparently you can get a permit to bury your pet in the forest north of the city, which is the watershed for Istanbul's water supply. This option didn't appeal either but it's surprising to know it exists. We have no idea where you'd go to get such a document or how long it would take or who you'd have to bribe or if it wouldn't just be easier to be low profile about doing it yourself. It's a big forest and probably there are lots of things buried there without a permit.
- Cremation. You may or may not know that, like many observant Jews and Catholics, Muslims don't cremate. So, while pet cremation is pretty common in the US (our ancestors have boxes of childhood dogs lying around), it was hard for us to imagine cremation was an option in a culture where people aren't cremated. As it turns out, it's expensive, but possible. Seriously, we didn't devote much energy contemplating the logistics surround this process so don't ask, but his ashes were returned a few days later, albeit in inappropriate packaging. The Turkish Life sought out a more appropriate container, which turned out to be a cookie jar from the bazaar.
Carpetblog: Answering questions you didn't know you had for a couple years now.