If the dog is, as the old saying goes, "man's best friend", then the passing of a faithful companion probably deserves some ceremony and pomp. That may be the philosophy behind the decision by TheStraits Times newspaper in Singapore to begin accepting paid obituaries for its readers' pets.
It would be easy to dismiss this as a gimmick, or an innovative way to make money - after all, the obits in "pets' corner" on the classified advertisements page are being sold at S$50 (Dh150) a pop, which includes space for a photograph of the dearly departed. But perhaps this also says something about the Singaporean psyche.
A Gallup survey released last month declared the people of the city-state as the "least emotional" in the world. In the poll, 36 per cent of respondents reported feeling neither positive nor negative emotions on a daily basis. However, another survey, by Euromonitor, revealed that Singaporeans are spending more and more on premium pet food, along with such accessories as designer clothing and strollers for their dogs.
So why do people who don't express their feelings put so much effort into pampering their pets? Perhaps it's because dogs and cats are really good listeners but, at the end of the day, they really couldn't care less.