By: Jason Sheppard
It will be the hardest time a pet-lover will face, however a new business is here to make the process a little bit easier
It is the most heartbreaking time a pet lover will face – saying goodbye to their beloved companion who has been a part of their lives for many years. Going through this ordeal can be emotionally draining and confusing enough without knowing where to turn in making sure your pet is thoughtfully taken care of.
On October 4 of last year, a new place opened in Conception Bay South to help those who struggle.
Not Your Typical Job
Jackie Sparkes-Arnold and Michelle Alexander opened Angel Paws Pet Crematorium, the newest pet crematorium located in Sparkes-Arnold’s home community of CBS.
Sparkes-Arnold says she and Alexander were compelled to start Angel Paws because they felt there was room for something different in the industry. “It’s not your typical job, I know,” she laughs.
“We’re relatively new. We started because of our own past personal experiences,” Sparkes-Arnold tells The Herald. “We wanted to bring the industry to a level that we felt was comparable with what our human counterparts would receive. Pets are no different. They’re family members and deserve to be treated with the same dignity, respect and care.”
Sparkes-Arnold and Alexander wanted to make it possible for anybody going through the ordeal to feel as comfortable as possible. They wanted to provide a place where people’s pets would be cared for in the same manner that they would wish for themselves.
“Somebody who is not a pet lover sometimes doesn’t understand that pets are no different than humans. It’s a life, it’s important, it’s valued, it’s treasured and should be treated the same way in after-care.”
Dignity in after-care is paramount to the business owners.
“We take great pride in guiding people through the process because in much the same way as losing someone we love, losing a pet can be very overwhelming,” said Sparkes-Arnold.
“We just want to say to people, ‘Don’t worry. We’re going to walk you through this.’ We guide the pet-lover through the entire process so the only thing they have to focus on is themselves,” she adds passionately.
Angel Paws offers two different types of services – one is a communal cremation. This is usually arranged through a vet and occurs when you don’t request the remains of your pet back.
They are placed lovingly in the crematory with others where they are very respectfully treated.
The second service Angel Paws offers is the private cremation, which she says most people opt to have nowadays.
“For us, it’s a true private cremation,” she explains. “In the industry, especially with pets, you’ll hear of a partitioned or individual cremation – meaning there could be more than one pet in the crematory with bricks or something similar acting as a separator.”
This isn’t the case at Angel Paws where they believe a private cremation means a true private; only one pet in the crematory at time of cremation. The remains are lovingly presented to the pet owner once the cremation has taken place.
In addition to the investment in state-of-the-art equipment, the team are also accredited members of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories and members of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, two international organizations dedicated to advancing standards and ethics within the industry.
Compassion & Choice
They also carry urns, jewelry and wall-art. Angel Paws even has access to local artists to commission portraits.
But the most important service Sparkes-Arnold and Alexander offer is compassion.
Above all, they just want to make people aware that they have a choice.
Sparkes-Arnold says the response to her business has been overwhelming. “This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and one of the most rewarding,” she admits. “It just comes back to the golden rule of treating people as you would want to be treated yourself.”
When Sparkes-Arnold and Alexander attended the recent Pet Expo, they were touched when they had clients come back and just wrap their arms around them and say ‘I can’t thank you enough for seeing me through one of the most difficult times.’
The owners and operators of Angel Paws just want people to know that the service is available and they are there to help and offer warmth, kindness, sympathy and above all – respect to the client and the client’s cherished pet when required.
“A life is a life,” said Sparkes-Arnold. “Love is love no matter what format it comes in.”