“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”

This quote by French novelist Anatole France accurately describes the true, pure love humans feel toward their pets. That’s why, when a pet nears the end of its life, it can be truly heartbreaking to say goodbye. However, there are ways to commemorate pets that will help families grieve while also keeping the pet’s spirit alive.

Often the first thought one has after their pet passes is, what can - or should - I do with their body? While there’s no right or wrong answer, cremation is a common choice for pet owners. That’s because a variety of things can be done with the ashes, including scattering, keeping in an urn, jewelry, and artwork.

We recently spoke with Tanya Early, President of Paws & Remember of NE Ohio, to learn more about pet cremation and how those offering cremation services can help support pet owners.

Q: What do you see is most commonly done for pets that pass away?

A: Cremation, then either placement in an engraved wood urn, a keepsake of choice, or a scattering pouch so the family can lay the pet to rest at a place of their choosing. Most of the time, clay paw prints and a keepsake are purchased with the scattering package.

Q: How long does pet cremation take?

A: The cremation process is determined by the pet’s weight. Generally, the time ranges between 1-3 hours, and the pet is returned to the family within a day or two.

Q: What are some of the current trends in pet commemoration?

A: A long-running trend has been capturing ink paw prints for a tattoo, placing cremated remains into a form of jewelry (e.g., beads, small necklace urn), and splitting cremated remains into several keepsakes to split among family members. Creating Facebook tributes has also been a rapidly emerging trend.

Q: What advice do you give to someone that loses a pet?

A: When someone loses a pet, I tell them to try and keep calm, reach out to a reputable business that will take the time to walk them through the steps from start to finish, and all the things that are available to make the grieving process easier. If something happens to their beloved pet and it’s after hours, I advise them to keep their pet in a cool, dry area until it can be transported. I also encourage them to ask any questions they may have, and determine what they need to help them through the grieving process and help gain closure. Everyone grieves differently, and there is no wrong way to move through the process.

Q: What are the most frequently asked questions and how do you respond to them?

A: Some of the most common questions I get include:

  • When will my pet be returned? At our business, cremated remains are usually available the same day or the next business day; however, engraved items and clay paw prints, which need extra time to completely dry, take a day or two longer. This is more so dependent upon the products purchased, not the actual cremation itself (i.e., specialty urn or jewelry product).

  • Can you cremate more than one of my pets at the same time? Yes, At Paws & Remember of NE Ohio we don’t usually cremate more than one pet at the same time unless a family specifically requests more than one of their own pets to be cremated together. We do not perform “partitioned” cremations.

  • Is my pet going to be the only one cremated? Yes, at our business every pet is cremated privately unless a family specifically requests more than one of their own family pets to be cremated simultaneously. We have a specific numbered tag given at the time of arrangement ensuring your pet’s identity, and he/she will be the only pet entering the cremation chamber for the entire cremation process.

Losing a pet is incredibly difficult for families, and they may not always know where to turn for guidance. Those in the pet cremation business can be a vital resource, not only to help determine the best way to commemorate their pet, but also as a source for comfort.

Additional Resources:


Paws & Remember

American Veterinary Medical Association

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