New pet crematorium opens in County Durham and it’s a real family affair

A heartbreaking middle-of-the-night dash to help out a friend seeded the plans for a business for a County Durham family.

Sue Howes, her son John Robinson and his wife Ruth saw a gap in the market for a pet crematorium which could collect much-loved pets after John struggled to help a friend when his pet Bullmastiff died late on a Friday evening and he was faced with the prospect of waiting until after the weekend before he could take the family pet to be cremated.

And it was seeing the pain and grief the family were already facing and their despair at not being able to do anything that gave John the idea of opening a pet crematorium that offered a 24/7 collection service so no other pet owner would have to go through the trauma of not being able to call for professional help in a similar situation.

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  • “That night was when our journey started,” said Sue, who returned from living in Tenerife to set up the business with her only son and his wife. “And after jumping through many planning hoops, we opened for business on Seaham Grange Industrial Estate in September and we like to think that we offer a unique service for people who have lost their pets.”

    Although Seaham Pet Crematorium mainly handles dogs, it can cope with any type of pet, and has helped cat, rabbit and even a parrot owners deal with the loss of their furry and feathered friends since it opened.

    “The biggest animal we have cremated so far is a 25kg Shar Pei dog and the smallest a green parrot,” said Sue. “All three of us are pet parents and we have all experienced the sorrow of losing our beloved friends. For lots of people, their pet is an important part of the family and we know exactly the pain and grief it causes when these much-loved family members pass away.

    “After John’s experience when his friend lost his dog, we saw that there was an opportunity to offer a more bespoke, personal service to pet owners who wanted to say goodbye to their friend. We offer a collection service at any time of the day and night, we have a chapel of rest, a goodbye room and individual cremations. We collect, cremate and return the ashes and try to make a very difficult time for a lot of people as easy as it can possibly be.

    The crematorium has also linked up with Sunderland animal Charity Pawz for Thought by collecting blankets, food and a raffle to help raise funds.

    “Ours is a real family business, and my 16-year-old grandson Bobby-Jack is starting to get involved with collections too now, so we hope we have started something that the next generations of our family will continue,” said Sue. “We are proud to be independent and think we can offer a personal service that pet parents appreciate when they need it most.”

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