Pet funerals let sleeping dogs lie
THE backyard is no longer the final resting place for Fido or Fluffy, nor is the toilet bowl the gateway to goldfish heaven.

People are spending more than $5000 on elaborate funeral services for their pets, commissioning cremations, headstones and hand-crafted urns to ensure their animals rest in peace.

According to business information analysts IBISWorld, Australians will spend about $10 million on funerals for pets this year.

IBISWorld senior industry analyst Edward Butler said pet funerals had increased around 10 per cent every year since 2002.

"Fifteen years ago it was wacky to stage a burial for your pet,'' he said.

"But the big trend of people marrying later and having children later coupled with rising disposable income means people are tending to lavish a bit more on their pets.''

Owner of the western Sydney-based Animal Memorial Cemetery and Crematorium, Shane McGraw, said business had more than doubled in less than five years and he now conducted hundreds of cremations and burials per month.

"People sometimes light incense or candles, or play music and let off balloons,'' he said.

"Not everyone goes that far - some people literally just want to have somewhere rather than have their pet sent to the tip.''

At about $300, cremations are more popular than burials, which can cost more than $5000.
Mr McGraw said one owner had commissioned a $7000 headstone when they buried their dog.

"We cremate and bury anything from ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, kangaroos, sheep, fish, chickens, all the way up to horses - you'd be amazed what people keep as pets,'' Mr McGraw said.

"We've also got about 20 or 30 people's ashes buried here in graves with their pets.''

Resting in peace ... Lady Griffin's statue of Cindy.

Excerpt from
June 01, 2008 12:00am