Patch & Purr is a new arm of funeral operator Invocare, which reported a 7 per cent increase in its half-yearly results earlier this month due to its expansion into the pet crematorium business.
Pet cremations at Patch & Purr start at $290 for animals up to 100kg and offer urns, photo boxes and even jewellery, which contain a small portion of the pet’s ashes inside, for up to $199.
Invocare chief executive Martin Earp said that the “humanisation of pets” was noted as “an area of potential interest” in 2016, and pushed the business to enter the pet crematorium industry early this year.
“We have put effort into researching a sector of pet cremations within Australia and identified this was an attractive adjacent market which leverages our deep knowledge of the cremation business,” he said.
“The focus of the business is to provide a significantly higher level of service to both the pet owners and veterinarian clinics and we are currently operating in NSW to prove up the concept, but the very early results are promising.”
Invocare has been collecting pets from homes and vets across greater Sydney since the start of the year, and cremating them. The company opened its first site where people can bring their pets six weeks ago, in Wollongong.
Ms Bambrick says the Wollongong business has already cremated “snakes to chickens to cows and llamas.”
“We actually cremated an alpaca this week,” she said. “It’s a very dynamic city and we believe we’ve got a really great product here that will appeal to many families and already we’ve seen and supported a lot of families not just in the Illawarra region, but in the greater Sydney area as well.”
Ms Bambrick, who has worked for Invocare for the past nine years, offered to set up the business because of her “personal and strong” connection to the subject.
“Having had my own journey of grief through the loss of some wonderful pets through my childhood and adult life it was really appropriate that I took on the role,” she said. “Very proudly I have a team of people who have the same view as I do, that they are a member of the family, our little pets, no matter what pet you have.”
Patch & Purr even offers a “private viewing room” in the cremation room “so you can be by your dog’s side until the very end” according to the website.
“I actually sat with a family this week…and we sat a spoke about their pet, she was a 15-year-old cat, and cats are always close by and this lady was devastated,” she said. “So it’s really nice to sit and talk about your pet and not be rushed and talk about options…and she was just really grateful.”
Invocare will eventually expand its pet crematory arm nationwide and is considering a push to regional areas also, Mr Earp said.
Ms Bambrick hopes the business will continue to expand.
“There is a strong trend towards having more than one pet per household,” she said. “By the end of the year, we hope to have other locations were we providing the same level of service to different parts of the city.”
Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.