Loving farewell for mates
SAYING goodbye to a pet when they die is often like farewelling a member of the family.
And the options available for grieving pet owners are growing from simple cremations to elaborate services with personalised headstones.
Some people even decide to share their final resting place with their beloved pet.
The owner of the Animal Memorial Cemetery and Crematorium in Berkshire Park, Shane McGraw, says the number of people choosing to have their own ashes placed with their pet’s remains is growing.
“We have between 20 to 30 people’s ashes here with their pets,” he says.
“Some people have their ashes scattered and some have them interred with their pet in a burial space.
“We place their ashes inside and they have a new plaque for the both of them.”
It is a decision that McGraw can sympathise with.
“I have a pomeranian and I know that there’ll be a nice spot here for her and my wife and me when we go,” he says.
“It’s not really a discussion people have (to have their ashes placed with their pets), it’s usually a private thing, but it’s not as rare as you would think.
“It can be a bit awkward to bring up, but some people who are alone and have buried their pet here are likely to make it one of their final wishes.”
A pet burial can range from $660, for a small animal, to as much as $7000 for a ceremony in a private chapel with customised coffins and headstones.
McGraw has pulled back on his business, which he has operated for 17 years, but says interest has grown.
“I cremate 50 pets a week, it used to be a lot more, but it’s hard to keep up with the demand, so I’m slowing down,” he says.
McGraw and his wife Katrina still live at the cemetery, and while the day’s work can be heartbreaking, he is often reminded of the great relationships between people and their animals.
“We all love our pets and want the best for them,” he says.
Shane McGraw owns an animal cemetery and crematorium.