Adrian Catran knows the feeling of grief when a treasured pet crosses the Rainbow Bridge.
He’s seen it, he’s felt it, and he’s driven to ensure the animals, beloved as they were in life, are just as respected in death.
“We’re all pet owners, so we understand. It’s such a sad time, and the grief people express for their pet is heartbreaking.
“I’ve never seen people express grief as they do here [at Forever Pets],” he says.
Under the roof of Forever Pets on Kirkwood St, Thames, there is a bespoke chapel where animal owners can spend time with their beloved pet. When the time comes, the pet is placed into a purpose-built cremator, which is covered in pictures of rolling hills, animals and blue skies. The business, which opened in November, 2019, was a long-running desire for Adrian, who wanted to provide pets and their owners with a loving and respectful last farewell. Pet owners are able to remain at the crematorium or come back later and collect their pet’s ashes.
At Forever Pets, animals are cremated one at a time in individual chambers, rather than a ‘communal cremation’, meaning the ashes people get back are guaranteed to be the ashes of their pet, and their pet only.
Staff are also available seven days a week to ensure the cremation process is carried out as swiftly as possible, though pet owners need to phone first to ensure staff are onsite. However, many still don’t know Forever Pets is out there, and Adrian understands, from comments made, that nearby vet clinics are remunerated to send their clients’ animals elsewhere. Pet owners have been told the vet will take care of the pet “and we will place your pet in a deep freeze until collection next week”, he says.
“Forever Pets will cremate when requested, and your beloved pet is not placed into a deep freezer.
“Our biggest single problem is that there are approximately eight or nine vets here who have a connection with pet crematoriums outside our area. All we want is for the vets to offer the grieving pet owner a choice: either support local or send [the pet] away.”
Forever Pets caters to all companion animals, from dogs and cats to rabbits and guinea pigs, to budgies and goats. A service is available where staff will collect a pet from a vet clinic if needed. The maximum weight for a standard pet cremation is 65 kgs. Adrian’s own dogs, beagles Poppy and Madeline are also on hand to provide comfort to grieving pet owners and their families.
“At the vets, you have the trauma of the euthanasia process, and leaving your pet to remain at the vet’s premises. Our facilities provide a peaceful environment to say your final goodbye,” Phillipa Godwin from Forever Pets says.
“You may wish to keep your pet at home for the night and deliver to Forever Pets the next day, which helps to get some closure of having to part with your beloved companion.
“Here, we don’t forget the animals and would wish that the local vets give pet owners the option of using Forever Pets based here in Thames.”
For more information, phone 07 868 6003, or visit: www.foreverpets.co.nz.
PHOTO: Forever Pets’ Phillipa Godwin and Adrian Catran, with Adrian’s dogs Madeline and Poppy. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU