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Britons struggle to afford expenses when their pets pass away as bills increase.

Many people lack economical solutions for their favorite animals due to rising prices.

The cost of living issue has not only increased the number of individuals having to pay for veterinary care, pet food, and pet daycare. It has also placed many pet owners in a sad and expensive predicament when their beloved companion passes away.

Britons struggle to afford expenses when their pets pass away as bills increase.
Britons struggle to afford expenses when their pets pass away as bills increase.

A pet’s death may now be one of the most expensive times for bereaved owners, especially if they reside in an apartment or rented unit without a garden.

When my favorite hamster Maisie passed away, it was traumatic to determine what to do with her body.

The experience was a frustrating ordeal. Nevertheless, I am not alone in addressing this challenge. There are plenty of bereaved pet owners relying on the generosity of strangers on online fundraising platforms.

After donating £600 on JustGiving, Freya Liberty from Manchester was able to have her dog cremated and get her ashes.

Britons struggle to afford expenses when their pets pass away as bills increase.

Mabel was the senior dog at the Manchester & Cheshire Dogs Home when Freya adopted her. Freya was aware that Mabel’s advanced age would involve additional medical expenses, but she was prepared financially.

Six months later, however, her pet insurance company canceled Mabel’s policy because it did not cover American Akitas. Other insurers charged Freya monthly premiums of approximately £120 because of Mabel’s age. Freya saved money by paying for Mabel’s medical expenses out of her pocket.

Freya could not have predicted, however, that the expense of living problems would coincide with Mabel’s euthanasia. “We would not have held the event if not for the April energy bill rise,” she explains.

The expenses included a £250 cremation fee, a $190 veterinarian bill, and a few lesser fees for mementos such as paw prints.

Britons struggle to afford expenses when their pets pass away as bills increase.
Britons struggle to afford expenses when their pets pass away as bills increase.

Freya charged as much as she could to her credit card, but was short £100. She decided to create a JustGiving page to solicit donations from family and friends.

“Just before creating the page, I felt as though I had let down my incredible dog, who had kept me going throughout the pandemic. She was my greatest solace. “I felt terrible as I sat there contemplating whether we could cremate her,” she recalls.

The page ultimately raised six times the desired amount. Freya was able to transport Mabel’s ashes home thanks to the £100 she received from the charity. Freya has had sufficient time to mourn her pet before scattering her ashes on the Welsh seaside, a place Mabel adored. The remaining £500 was donated to the Manchester and Cheshire Dogs Home.

Maisie the hamster entered my life as an economical pet. I paid £12 for her at a local pet store in Hackney, east London.

The cost of her maintenance was never a concern. Nonetheless, as she took her last breath at the end of the previous year, I was confronted with the prospective expense of disposing of her remains. I rented a one-bedroom apartment in London without a garden.

A survey of area veterinarians revealed that it would cost upwards of £125 to cremate an animal weighing less than 1 kilogram, such as Maisie. A burial in one of London’s pet cemeteries was another option, although it would cost upwards of £320. Taxidermy, which I did not wish to consider, was not cheaper, costing upwards of £175.

The conclusion that a deceased pet should be buried in a public park or woodland was a prevalent one among internet forum users who faced the same predicament. However, this is unlawful and carries a £5,000 fine risk.

A more agonizing option was to simply discard the body, generating the horrible image of foxes devouring the remains of a cherished family member.

A low-cost and time-sensitive choice was required. Maisie was placed in an iPhone box with her favorite worn-out dressing gown swatch. I said my goodbyes and placed her coffin, covered in Sainsbury’s grocery bags, in my freezer-turned-morgue, which was devoid of food. It allowed me to make less expensive arrangements.

Eventually, Maisie was carried to my mother’s home, where she was buried in a gorgeous Kentish garden alongside perhaps 30 other rats.

My freezer and delayed burial method are impractical for pet owners with larger animals, forcing them to pay cremation prices.

Mabel’s tale is one of the few fundraising campaigns with a beneficial outcome.

Numerous donation pages for pet cremation include no donations. In the aftermath of the current situation, owners are unable to collect their pet’s ashes, leaving them with a sad sensation of having failed their animal companion.

Blue Cross’s head of the pet bereavement support service, Diane James, states that there has been an upsurge in this area recently. The animal welfare organization has established multiple pet food banks and offers low-cost and free veterinary care at its animal hospitals, including cremation if the animal has been treated there.

Veterinarians are also feeling the strain. Anna Foreman, the in-house veterinarian at Everypaw Pet Insurance, explains, “A veterinary business is not particularly profitable and comes with numerous stressors, which is why larger corporations are taking over clinics rather than them running independently.”

Amid this industry-wide price increase, there have been instances of exploitation and neglect. Some owners claim that after paying for cremations, their pets were thrown into incinerators and the ashes returned had a mixture of remnants.

However, even the majority of crematoriums that are striving to minimize their profit margins to assist bereaved customers have been compelled to increase their fees to remain solvent in the face of growing energy costs.

Sue Hemmings, an undertaker at Pets At Rest on the Isle of Wight and a member of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematories, states, “My fuel costs have doubled.” “Our largest expense is the cost of gasoline, as that is how we cremate animals. All of my vendors, from flowers and cardboard boxes to tissue, caskets, and delivery fees, have hiked their costs. Nothing’s price has remained the same since this time last year.”

Hemmings provides payment plans, which have resulted in individuals paying as little as £5 per week from their universal credit to cover the cost of each cremation. It allows people to bring their cherished pets inside their homes. As the cremated remains are not returned, communal cremation is the less expensive alternative, but fewer people choose it.

The reality is that many pet owners have encountered financial hardships that could not have been expected at the outset of their pets’ lives.

According to data from the property website Rightmove, the demand for pet-friendly rental properties jumped by 120 percent between July 2020 and July 2021, reflecting the substantial increase in pet ownership during the coronavirus epidemic.

In response, the government has issued a sample lease agreement that discourages blanket pet bans. It is expected to be supplemented by other mandatory measures in the renters’ reform law in the spring of 2023, which should lead to an increase in the number of pets in rental properties.

The combination of restricted access to cheap burial and cremation choices and the rising cost of living means that the death of a pet may result in an increase in debt and tough decisions for individuals.


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