Posted: June 19, 2014, 4:45 p.m. EDT
By Clay Jackson
Is there a better way to remember a dearly departed pet than to put its ashes in a fancy vase (urn) and place the pairing on a mantel or tabletop?
Sensing an opportunity, The Pet Concierge, an online supplier of pet health products and services, began My Pet Lives On earlier this year to start distributing the Bios Urn for the first time in the U.S.
Estudimoline, a product design company, in Barcelona, Spain, manufactures the Bios Urn.
The biodegradable pet urn comes with a pine tree seed and uses the pet’s ashes to help grow it into a lasting tribute to the pet.
"Most of the people I interviewed had their pets’ ashes in a little box or container, sitting on their mantel or up on a shelf,” said Lee Richter, CEO for The Pet Concierge.
"They all shared with me that they would prefer a different ending for their pet,” he added.
My Pet Lives On is now selling single urns for a presell price of $97 or $197 for an urn plus pet-loss support materials at MyPetLivesOn.com/Your-Pet-Lives-On-Biodegradable-Urn/.
The Bio Urn is also available through Holistic Veterinary Care, a companion animal veterinary clinic in Oakland, Calf., in partnership with The Pet Concierge.
Biodegradable Pet Urn. My Pet Lives On
Once My Pet Lives On officially launches the product here in the U.S., the single urn price will jump to $147, with the urn-with-pet-loss-materials staying at $197.
The company’s Vacaville, Calif., warehouse will ship orders nationwide.
For the time being, there hasn’t been a big push, but the company plans to branch out starting in 2015, said Narina Arushanova, a spokeswoman for The Pet Concierge.
"We have yet to do a big promotion,” she said, "but when we do, we expect large sales.”
"PBS will be airing a show about the urn in September, and we will launch it nationwide then,” she added.
There have never been more pets in the U.S.—more than 83 million dogs and 95 million cats according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in its2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey
—and they’ve never been more a part of human families than they are today.
About nine in 10 pet owners, or 91 percent, surveyed in a 2011 online Harris Poll, said they consider their pets to be bona-fide family members.
Some pet owners have difficulty saying goodbye to their pets and purchase caskets, headstones and urns to memorialize their four-legged loved ones.
The Greenwich, Conn., APPA found 47 percent of dog owners and 34 percent of cat owners sampled buy a product to memorialize their lost pet.
"Our goal is to reach out to pet owners across the country,” said Arushanova, "and offer them … an option they probably never knew about.”
Richter seems to have tapped into a growing market.
Among both cat and dog owners, urns have surpassed memorial stones for the yard as the most popular purchase by which to memorialize pets, notes the APPA in its 2013-2014 survey, with 25 percent of dog owners and 17 percent of cat owners who would buy a memorial product going with an urn.
So far, 2,500 urns have been ordered, with an additional order of 2,500 planned for when sales are underway.
"Over the last decade as CEO of Montclair Veterinary Hospital, Holistic Veterinary Care and The Pet Concierge,” said Richter, "I’ve noticed I receive more thank-you notes, photos and thoughtful gifts when we assist clients with end-of-life issues than at any other time.”
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