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Ashes to ashes: Private cremation for pets

Posted Jan 07 2009 4:31pm

I’ve done the math. 21% of my clients opted to have their pets “privately” cremated in 2008. In 2003, only five years earlier, it was only 15%. It’s clear the demand for this service is on the rise.

In case you’re wondering what this kind of death service entails, “private” cremation means the pet’s corporeal remains are shipped to our local crematorium, placed on a tray. then individually incinerated.

“Pet Heaven” is what we our area’s service. Their refrigerated white trucks are discreetly labeled “P.H.M.P.” for “Pet Heaven Memorial Park.” As the name suggests, owners can also choose to have their pets buried on their grounds.

To date, I’ve only had a couple of clients elect a formal burial (with elaborate headstones and pet cemetery settings) and each year, fewer are opting for backyard burials. Meanwhile, the demand for private cremation continues to rise.

Several factors may be at play in this trend:

1-Pet owners are becoming increasingly attached to their pets.

2-Pet owners are more willing to admit to keeping their pets’ ashes.

3-US mobility is such that home burial is less often undertaken. (Who wants to leave Fluffy behind?)

4-The high price-tag on this service no longer seems so high relative to our regular vet bills.

5-Cremation is becoming more acceptable in our culture at large.

***

I know I promised to turn over a new leaf towards sweetness and light in 2009 but yesterday’s post on euthanasia kind of led me astray. Nonetheless, there’s always a silver lining: your opinions.

What kind of pet death services do you elect? ...and why..?

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