Story sponsored by Patch and Purr.
As human beings, we have a very special connection with our pets. We're the only species on the planet which keeps dependent animals.
Some scientists believe that we first started doing this 27,000 years ago when we began domesticating wolves to help us hunt and guard our camps at night while we slept.
These days, in our increasingly insular world, they fulfill a much more important role in our lives: They're companions.
They keep us company when we feel alone; they love us even when we don't love ourselves; and they never judge us, no matter what we've done.
For some of us, our pets are our eyes as we walk through the world. For others they're emotional support animals. For most however, they're one thing above all else: part of our families.
When they pass away, it can be absolutely devastating. The grief process can be the same as losing any other loved one.
That's why the team at Patch and Purr provide the same level of delicacy and support to grieving pet owners as they would to any other bereaved person.
The pet cremation service - which is owned by Invocare, one of the nation's leading funeral providers - currently gives comfort to families in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Illawarra, the South Coast, and the Southern Highlands.
This month however, they're proud to add Newcastle and the Hunter Region to that list. Executive General Manager Pet Cremations Steve Nobbs says the company has been working tirelessly to get the new facility ready for launch.
Patch and Purr is a unique service, he explained, which aims to make the final decisions regarding your loved one as easy and stress free as possible.
"For some people, losing their pets can be like losing a child. We have many clients who refer to their pets as their babies or their children and that really is the case for a lot of families," Mr Nobbs explained.
"A lot of the time however, people in our immediate families or perhaps even our extended families don't understand that relationship," she continued.
"That's why we provide our clients with a safe space to grieve and share their loss and really come to terms with it."
Not only will the Morisset location have viewing rooms, where you can say goodbye to your loved one for the last time, but they will also offer free counselling services to those struggling with their sense of loss. At Patch and Purr families have the ability to say goodbye in their own way.
"The Morisset location will have a space where we can host families, where people can spend quiet time with their pets" Mr Nobbs explained.
"Some families choose to have a little service for their pets, where they bring flowers or say couple of prayers. The space is theirs to feel safe and private," he continued.
"Many families ask to watch the insertion of their pets into the cremator and we have facilities which make that possible too."
Patch and Purr offers a 24 hour collection service and can have your loved one's ashes returned to you in less than three days.
They also assign an electronic pet tracking device, which stays with departed until the end of their journey. This way you can be confident the ashes you receive back belong exclusively to your loved one.
Patch and Purr can cremate pets of all kinds, from cats and dogs through to birds, reptiles, rabbits and even horses.
They offer a number of options when it comes deciding how to receive the ashes, from urns and memory boxes through to teddy bears.
"For us, it's about providing a really high standard of quality care to our clients. The same level of care as we do to all of our clients with our human services," Mr Nobbs said.
"We're very privileged that people share their stories with us and we're very appreciative for all of the thank you cards and emails and facebook messages we receive. At the end of the day, we're just grateful to be of service to families in their time of need."
For more information about Patch and Purr and their services, call 1300 112 711 or visit their website: https://www.patchandpurr.com.au/
Story sponsored by Patch and Purr.