Golden Labrador in meadow

All you need to know about pet cremation

Posted by AK Lander | On November 28, 2017 11:47

Sadly, we will all have reason to attend a number of funeral services during our lives. Passing away is the one true inevitability of life, so it should come as no surprise that – with an ageing population – a large professional industry is now associated with funerals. Many crematoria, coffin manufacturers, memorial masons and funeral directors have decades of experience in helping their clients through the most difficult of times.

However, whist we all expect every person we know to receive their own funeral service, the same cannot be said of animals, even though our favourite creatures can often mean just as much to us as our own family members. Nevertheless, pet funerals and – in particular – cremation services have grown in popularity of late, as more and more people acknowledge how important our dogs, cats and other four-legged friends are to our own happiness.

To get a better idea of what pet cremation services involve, we decided to speak to the organisation which founded the country’s first such crematorium nearly 60 years ago. The Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare near the town of Lewes in East Sussex - a leading animal rescue, care and rehoming charity – runs the highly regarded Peaceways pet crematorium.

Glass memorial plaque at Peaceways pet crematorium

The team at Raystede were on hand to tell us more about Peaceways, its history and how they offer pet owners the comfort they need in what can be a time of great distress:

“When you lose a much loved pet how you say goodbye matters so much. Knowing that your animal companion’s final journey is in the hands of those who care is very important.

Cat sleeping

“Peaceways based in East Sussex, England’s first animal crematorium, was built in 1960 by Miss Raymonde-Hawkins (MBE), the founder of Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare.

“Set in beautiful surroundings and just half a mile from Raystede, Peaceways is a haven of calm, giving the visitor time to reflect in the Garden of Remembrance or walk through the bluebell woodland and share memories of loved ones. Seasonal native plants can be discovered on the woodland walk, including ferns, anemones and primulas with comfortable benches to take a moment’s rest and enjoy the view. The beauty and serenity of Peaceways pet crematorium owes much to its manager, Jeff Tucker, who has made the Garden of Remembrance and woodland his labour of love.

Memorial bench at Peaceways pet crematorium

“Peaceways is a member of The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria (APPCC) which sets the standards for pet cemeteries and pet cremation that protect the pet owner and ensures your pet is handled with the utmost respect.

“Peaceways has always been able to offer the service which best suits your needs, we can return your pet’s ashes to you, or they can be scattered in the Garden of Remembrance. We offer wicker pouches containing the ashes or we can provide caskets in a range of sizes and prices. Whatever your choice you may also wish to order a plaque and/or a rose bush as a permanent memorial to your animal companion.

Memorial bench for 'F.P.' at Peaceways Pet Crematorium

“To arrange an appointment with Jeff Tucker to discuss your requirements or to visit Peaceways, please call Jeff on 01825 841460 or on his mobile 07985 925378 between 9am and 3.30pm Monday to Sunday. Or for more information please visit: https://www.raystede.org/our-charity/peaceways-pet-crematorium.”

At the moment, it would be fair to say that pet funerals and cremation services are still not subject to as much organisation and ‘admin’ as is the case for people. However, if the great work carried out by pet crematoriums such as Peaceways continues, this may not always be so.

Many people would argue that their beloved animals are equally deserving of their own fitting send-offs, and it may not be long before things like prices for headstones, cremation urns and burial plots are researched just as much for our pets as they are for our family members.

Image Credits: Vincent van Zalinge, Alexandru Zdrobau, Sarah Bardsley Photography