Most families we serve choose cremation mainly because they want them back home. Each pet is cremated and processed separately then placed in the urn the chosen by the family. There are many different urns to choose from such as wood, metal, marble, glass, and brass. Most come with a place for engraving so the family can personalize something special for their baby. The pet is then delivered back to their home or the veterinarian’s office.
Burial is an option some families prefer. Every pet is placed inside a polypropylene pet casket that is non-porous and non-biodegradable. Families are given options such as selecting the burial plot or having me handle this, whether to view the pet before burial, having a service, and deciding on the inscription of the marker. I’ve found people have very different feelings about all of this. I’ve learned to listen and try to make recommendations that will be best for them because everyone grieves in their own way at their own time. The cemetery is open for families to come back and visit anytime.
There are many keepsakes and memorials families can choose from as well. The most popular is the clay paw print. The pet’s paw print is cast in clay with its name beside it and then baked to perfection. This is so special because it’s their actual imprint, kept as natural as possible and sometimes a few pieces of hair is even left in the cast. It can be displayed on a wooden stand, a shadowbox to hang on the wall, or as an ornament. I also offer the pet’s paw or nose image from Meadow Hill cast in precious metal or bonze so that the finished product replicates the original print. I wear Ellie’s nose print on a necklace every day and love the closeness and joy it brings to me. Memory Glass is another option where cremated remains are suspended in solid glass sculptures or keepsake jewelry. Each hand-blown piece is unique and there are different colors, sizes, and shapes of glass from which to choose. Keepsake urns are also popular. They are small and hold a portion of the cremated remains in a piece of jewelry or a tiny urn. They also come in various finishes, shapes, and colors. Lastly, creating a one-of-a-kind high quality diamond from the carbon of the cremated remains is also an option through LifeGem.
The second Sunday in September is National Pet Memorial Day and a service honoring all the pets gone before us as well as the ones we have now is offered at 6:00 p.m. annually. We have been doing this over a decade now. Burial families will come and check on their grave, and cremation families also come. Pets, children, and friends are always encouraged. A memorial table is also set up for items like pictures, toys, collars, etc. During this short memorial service, a minister will come and say a few words of encouragement then families are allowed to share their heartfelt stories if they choose. I’ve learned this is such a valuable tool in healing, and all seem to enjoy this time of sharing. It’s a great time to come together and remember all the joy and unconditional love that pets give us.
This year we started making some drastic improvements to the cemetery that should be completed by year end. I’ve envisioned this for many years now and am so excited it’s coming to fruition. Some of the improvements include enclosing the crematory within a building, opening an office building complete with a show room, walkways throughout the cemetery, an arbor, a fountain, benches, fencing, and landscape. There is also a pergola where families can sit under with a brick memorial wall. In the middle of the memorial wall is a Rainbow Bridge mosaic picture my mom, daughter and I made. The bricks are sold as a memorial for a family to inscribe a personalized message in honor of their pet or family member.
God has blessed me in so many areas, and for that I’m grateful. He has allowed me to start and operate a business that I have a passion for and one the community needs. I have plans to build a home at the back of the cemetery grounds within a few years and continue my work as long as I possibly can. Thank you to all the pet parents in the past that have entrusted me with their beloved babies. I promise to always use the highest level of dignity and respect with every pet brought to me. It’s truly amazing the amount of unconditional love they give us during good times and especially through the bad. In all my years of funeral service, I never thought one could grieve more over a pet than a family member, but it’s true. It’s tremendously heart breaking when we have to make the decision for them to cross the Rainbow Bridge…. but just know they are running and playing with no ailments until we cross that bridge ourselves and are reunited.
Written by: Jaci DeArmond