When Kevin McCormick and his family lost 11-year-old staffie ‘Wynstan’ earlier this year, they lost more than just a pet.
Wynstan had been a special member of their family since he was a puppy.
Kevin said it made sense to have Wynstan cremated, giving him an appropriate send-off.
“He was very close to us and we had him cremated so he could stay that way,” he said.
“We will definitely do the same when our French bulldog ‘Suzy’ passes away too.”
Kevin is the manager of the new Patch and Purr crematorium in Morisset.
The site on Prosperity Close offers services for people wanting to say goodbye to a pet, including viewing rooms, a space to hold a small service, and free access to a professional grief counsellor.
“The loss of a pet can leave a massive hole in someone’s life,” Kevin said.
“Some people ask to watch the insertion of their pets into the cremator and we have facilities which make that possible.
The definition of ‘pet’ is also flexible, Kevin said.
“Budgie, chicken, mouse, horse, cat, dog, it doesn’t matter what your pet is,” he said.
“We can give them a decent farewell.”
After working for a firm called LifeArt making environmentally friendly coffins from cardboard, Kevin said managing Patch and Purr meant undertaking a new challenge he was looking forward to bringing to the Hunter.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve had pets all my life and, when they passed away, we usually dug a hole in the backyard and buried them,” he said.
“But, of course, that means when you move house you leave them there and that connection between a person and their pet is lost.
“That can be really sad because pets are terribly important to many people.
“In some cases they really are their best friend, sometimes their only friend, so the idea of having them cremated and being able to take the ashes with you is very appealing.”
Kevin said the new state-of-the-art facility was already proving popular with Novocastrians, despite only opening its doors a fortnight ago.
“We’ve certainly hit the ground running,” Kevin said. “It’s been very busy so far.”