Grieving owners using pet's ashes in 'memorial tattoos'
Grieving Irish pet owners are asking for some of their beloved animal's cremated ashes for use in so-called memorial tattoos.
Glen Patten, who owns PawPrints Crematorium in Trim, says more and more pet owners are turning to the memorial tattoos as a way of keeping their lost pets close.
Since starting his business seven years ago, Glen estimates that he has cremated thousands of animals - mostly dogs and cats but there have been exceptions.
"I have cremated the remains of hamsters, parrots, snakes and even a small crocodile from a reptile park. I collect many remains of animals, mainly from vet surgeries, at the request of families all over the country.
"When I started, there was a low uptake on the service but it's just spiralled over the years and we are inundated with requests from grieving families who are just broken to have lost their pet.
"People care so much about their pets. They are part of the family and people just want to say goodbye with dignity.
"Companion dogs were very rare until recent years and it's heartbreaking to see children who were assisted by the dog in distress at the cremation. They depend on those dogs so much.
"Owners depend on me as their last point of contact with their pet. In fact I'm hoping to install a waiting area here in the coming months where families can sit together
"Pet loss, whether anticipated or sudden is a tragic event and we take great pride as animal lovers to guarantee your beloved pet will be treated with dignity and the utmost respect it deserves.
"People often ask me to say a prayer for their pet or for a lock of hair to keep. In recent times, I've been asked by dozens of owners for some of the ashes to use in what they call memorial tattoos.
"I didn't know you could do this so I looked it up and yes, it can be easily done.
"This is when a small amount of ashes is mixed with tattoo ink to produce an ash-infused ink solution which is injected into the skin."