Pet cremation an alternative to burials

KEPT CLOSE: Paws4Rest owner Patrice Spencer-Humm says the demand for pet cremation is growing.
KEPT CLOSE: Paws4Rest owner Patrice Spencer-Humm says the demand for pet cremation is growing.

Many people are no longer burying Fluffy in the backyard or Whiskers under the oak tree.

Instead, their beloved pet's ashes are sitting on their mantelpiece or in a necklace close to their heart.

It might not be the regular run-of-the-mill trend, but cremating pets is growing popular with some. And that fashion is certainly creating a demand, one an Invercargill family has filled.

The first pet crematorium has been set up in Southland as more people look for a way to keep their nearest and dearest close to them.

Paws4Rest owner Patrice Spencer-Humm concedes it's not the normal family business, but as more people want to keep their family pet in a pendant instead of under the rose bush, it's a void they are happy to fill.

The family run business was set up several weeks ago, after months of market research and finding the perfect premises in Kinloch St.

The crematorium is big enough to fit goats and miniature horses, but it was mostly cats and dogs that the door-to-door service was collecting, Ms Spencer-Humm said.

The days of burying pets in the backyard were long gone, she said, as people shifted house more often and did not want to leave their furry friends in the garden.

"I know it is a little bit quirky but I think it is a really good way for people to stay connected with their pets."

About 20 Invercargill pets a week were cremated, and up until two weeks ago they had to be couriered to Dunedin or Christchurch, she said.

It cost between $150 and $330, she said.

Now, they are dealt with in Invercargill before being returned in rimu urns or silver urns with paw prints.

"The ashes are kept separate; people really worry about the ashes."

East Road Pets manager Liz MacAskill said cremating pets was a growing trend.

"Some people do still put Fluffy in the backyard, but a lot more people do get them cremated."

The Southland SPCA is also in the process of setting up a pet cremation business.

The Southland Times