Pet Burials

June 25th, 2014

When that sad day finally comes, it is helpful to know all of the options available in order to make the best possible decision regarding the final arrangements for a pet. Some are still buried in their owner’s backyards.  It’s free, green, easy to visit, and goodbyes can be as simple or as fancy as mourners want. However, there are many more options becoming available in recent years and they are increasing in popularity, largely because it is becoming illegal to bury a pet in the yard in many cities, but also because it is nice to have a lasting tribute to our four-legged friends.

Aquamation is one of the new techniques to say one last final goodbye to your pet. This method is similar to cremation, but it produces a shiny, powdery, sand-like result, rather than a black ash. It is achieved with water-based technology called alkaline hydrolysis, said Jerry Shevick, CEO of Peaceful Pets Aquamation Inc. in Newbury Park. It is legal for pets in every state and even for humans in seven. The process is almost 100% green and ranges in cost from $75 to $350, depending on size.

Joanie West  who has owned the Eternal Ascent Society out of Florida for 16 years, literally sends animal remains to the heavens. She places the ashes of people or pets in a 5-foot round helium balloon, and releases it at a location the family chooses. Families usually decide the music, gifts, remembrances, and balloons color. They float up for approximately 5 miles until the balloon pops and the ashes are ‘set free.’ Balloons start at $399, but there are added costs for larger balloons, a videotape or special container.

If a burial at sea is preferred, this can be arranged too. Captain Ken Shortridge of Ashes on the Sea says ashes are cast into the ocean inside in a basket lined with tealeaves and covered with rose petals. When turned over, the ashes form what looks like an underwater wreath, before slowly drifting away. This service is available in California and Hawaii for $250 to $350.

The pet cemetery is still a viable option, especially in states where backyard burials are not allowed. Pets can be cremated before burial and can be buried in a plot of ground or mausoleum space, with a headstone or plaque.  This option can range between several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on location, type of casket, grave marker, and other costs.

Cremation costs fluctuate depending on size of pet, cost of urn or ashes scattered and where you live. The Caring Pet Crematory in Sacramento charges between $140 for a small pet to $275 for a large one. Viewing is allowed at some facilities, and usually costs extra. Caring Pet normally scatters remains in the forest, but for $125, the company will instead scatter the remains off the coast of San Francisco by plane.

Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine professor, Bonnie Beaver, says 70% of pet owners choose the simplest route, which is leaving their deceased Pet with their veterinarian, who will usually dispose of it via communal cremation. Bonnie is also the executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and says home burial is the next most popular option of burial, followed by cremation.

However, if there isn’t anything too good for your deceased pet, consider LifeGem in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. LifeGem turns strands of hair or remains of a pet (or person) into a synthetic diamond that costs between $1,999 and $24,999. The diamonds can be colorless, blue, red, yellow or green. Turns out, that diamonds really can be a girls (or man’s) best friend.