Grieving Process the Same For Animals?

November 12, 2009
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image The death of a beloved pet can be just as devastating as the death of a spouse or child, says Arnold Paterson, owner of Pet Heaven Crematorium & Funeral Chapel.

“I spent 35 years in funeral work, and I think the grieving processes are one and the same,” he says.

“A lot of people, after their spouse dies, get an animal for company and their whole life revolves around it, just like if it were a mate or a spouse. And when the animal dies, it’s a real tragedy for them, the same as if it was a human loved one.”

Most pets in Calgary are cremated -either at a private facility like Pet Heaven or at the Calgary Humane Society.

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“We do both general cremation of several animals at once, and private individual cremations,” says Joe Coffin, general manager of operations for the society.

Private cremations at the Humane Society cost between $120 and $200, depending on the size of the animal and the type of urn that will contain its ashes.

“In our new facility, we also have a Serenity Room, where people can spend a last few minutes with their pet before we proceed with the cremation. They’re able to be in a nice, quiet space where they can reflect on memories.”

The society is also planning a program for 2010 where people can have trees planted in to celebrate the life of their four-footed companions. A walkway made from memorial bricks is also in the works for the future.

“We also have a memorial wall in our facility, where people can get a laser-engraved plaque on marble or slate and put it up on the wall. People look at pets as family members,” Coffin says.

Paterson opened Pet Heaven 4

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