A Wanganui couple are looking to fill a gap in the market after they installed a pet cremator on their Makirikiri Valley Rd property.
Bryce and Sandy Coneybeer have imported a $35,000 cremator from the United Kingdom and are now in business after about 15 months of sorting out the necessary consents.
The Coneybeers said they decided to get involved because there was nothing like it in Wanganui.
"I had friends who had animals cremated but the pet had been left in a freezer for a week at the vets before being collected and taken to a cremator in New Plymouth or Wellington.," Mr Coneybeer said.
"It would take a couple of weeks. Then there's the worry about knowing if the ashes they got back were of their pet," he said.
He said the difference with their enterprise was that they would cremate pets individually.
"Some of the big boys do a number of animals at the same time and draw a map of where the carcase is, cremate them, take the ashes out and give them to the owners. Talking to vets they say it's one of the things that concerns people - how do they know if the ashes they've been given were of their pet," Mr Coneybeer said.
He said people become attached to their pets and that's how they thought of their business name, Cremate-a-mate.
As part of the service, they will collect the pet from the owners, take it back to their crematorium on their Makirikiri Valley farm and return the ashes.
"There's a woman in New Plymouth who cremates all sorts of pets. As well as cats and dogs she's done budgies, mice and rats. We believe there will be plenty of people who will want this personal pet cremation, and that's why we've done it," he said.
If owners did not want the rimu caskets, they could supply their own urns or could be given a scatter box so they can disperse the ashes wherever they wished.
Mr Coneybeer said that business had began but, until now, they had not done any promotion or marketing.
"People will take a pet into the vet's and it's euthanised before being taken away to either Wellington or Taranaki for cremation. But if someone's pet dies at home, we can pick it up and have the ashes back to the owner the next day," he said.
The diesel-fired cremator burns to 1000C and includes a secondary burner which eliminates any odour or smoke.
The weight of the pet will determine the cost of the cremation, but Mr Coneybeer said for a cat to be cremated and the ashes presented in an engraved rimu box, it would cost about $140.
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