The Final Paws: Part II

Wednesday, News 25 brought you the story of Shannon Turner, who sent her beloved dog to be cremated, only to find out she was being sent out of state to a company called Greenbrier. While her veterinarian stands by Greenbrier, News 25 found many questionable business practices while they’re transporting pets over state lines. For Turner, the death of her pet was made more traumatic because her vet was not upfront about the cremation company their office uses.

News 25 reached out to a local pet crematorium, A Pet’s Memory, to learn more about the pet cremation industry and to understand why pet owners choose to cremate their pets. A Pet’s Memory opened in Gulfport when the company’s owners saw a need for not only more pet crematoriums, but a facility to help with the grieving process. Linda Humsumrall of A Pet’s Memory says, “We were dealing with our own aging golden retriever, Cindy, when we realized there wasn’t anything here like what I personally felt it should have been. We are now an open door facility where people can come directly with their beloved pet, come meet us.”

A Pet’s Memory has built a viewing room where pet owners can say goodbye before the body is cremated. There is also a window looking out into the crematorium, for pet owners to watch the entire process. Humsumrall also says, “Where people, not many do, for those that do choose to witness they are allowed to witness their beloved pet going into the crematory. So they do have that absolute comfort level that we are that we say we’re doing here.”

In Gulfport, pet crematoriums must follow the same regulations as funeral homes, but A Pet’s Memory goes above and beyond because they believe a pet deserves the same care as a family member. Humsumrall also says, “Our belief here is they are to be treated with respect and care and dignity. I personally feel that families should not have to wait days and days and weeks on end to get their beloved pet back. People cannot truly begin their healing process until their beloved baby does come back home to them.”

A Pet’s Memory is committed to getting a pet’s ashes back to its owners in the same day, and while that is appealing to many pet owners, some veterinarians find pet owners need more time to cope with a loss. Dr. Ann Ladner of Saucier Veterinarian Hospital says, “Some people want them back right away and I find that a lot of others needed that time, needed that space, that time to deal with so that even when they do come in and pick the baby up, they’re very emotional and nowhere near done with the pain, they’re able to comprehend.”

No matter which option you feel is best for your grieving process, both vets and crematorium owners agree that pet owners need to research their options before making a decision. Humsumrall says, “When we get our baby, we provide them with the best care, a good home, proper medication throughout their lifetime, toys. They give us so much companionship, so much love, and when it comes to their aftercare, follow through. Follow through for the sake of your beloved family member.”

Dr. Ladner closes, “Are you able to financially afford the cremation services, or is it easier for you and your family to not have to look back? Are your memories fonder with your memories and with photos versus with what you have in front of you? And again, everyone has their own personal dilemmas.”

Emotions can run high when a pet passes away, so professionals say to have the conversation of what to do with your pet’s body before they’ve passed. Deciding what is best for your family and researching the facility you want to you use ahead of time can avoid miscommunication and regret.

Categories: Local News, News

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