BUSINESS is booming for a private pet crematorium – after it moved into a funeral home.
The iCare pet crematorium in West Lothian decided to merge with Browning’s funeral parlour to cater to the needs of the “whole family”.
As a result, a growing number of human customers are having their own ashes mixed with those of beloved pets.
Owners can have their deceased animals collected by a specialised Mercedes “pet hearse” used by the combined funeral home in Whitburn.
Wicker coffins costing up to £48 – some of them tiny enough to snugly accommodate a deceased hamster – are also provided.
Alex Baxter also promises that pets will be cremated on their own with prices ranging from £70 for a fish to £210 for a “giant dog”.
Alex, who merged with Browning’s in 2013, said families are choosing to have their animals cremated and stored so that when they die, their own ashes can be mixed with that of their beloved pet.
He said: “We’ve had one case where a man has had all five of his dogs cremated, and he has kept all of their ashes. When he dies, he has requested that he is also cremated so that all the ashes can be mixed together and scattered.
“We’ve had another instance where a grandad has had his ashes mixed with his favourite dog and then scattered – it means a lot to these people who develop a close bond with their animals.”
One elderly lady, who was given just six months to live, had her seriously ill cat put down and cremated. It is her dying wish that her cat’s ashes be buried with her when she passes away.
Alex explained: “It’s actually becoming much more common for families to mix the ashes. Pets are like children to them and they want this as a final goodbye.”
He claimed: “In many places, several animals are cremated at once and are separated by compartments. There is always the worry with families that there might have been a mix-up and that they could end up with someone else’s animal.
“Here, we treat animals as we would treat a young child – with dignity and respect. Pets shouldn’t be treated as waste and it’s horrible when we see that happening.”