Lov­ing farewell for mates

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Maryanne Taouk

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.

Pic­ture: David Swift

Shane McGraw owns an an­i­mal ceme­tery and cre­ma­to­rium.

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