Pet Loss grief can be as difficult as traditional grief – if not more so – for two reasons: It’s not universally acknowledged, and at the same time, our loyal companions are an unparalleled source of unconditional love and acceptance.
“We opened our Aftercare Center to help our home euthanasia clients honor their bond and memorialize their companion animals. We realized through our work with the West Michigan Pet Loss Grief Support Group that healthy healing is promoted through memorialization,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice and Aftercare Center.
While the primary service available at the new Aftercare Center is water-based cremation (Aquamation) – an environmentally-friendly alternative to flame-based cremation – resources for grief support and memorialization are also available for pet families.
One increasingly popular trend in memorialization of both humans and pets is glass artwork and jewelry containing cremains. Enter Spirit Pieces, founded by Dave Blake in 2014, whose mission is to share hand crafted memorials to help families cope with the loss of a loved one, whether two-legged or four.
In 2009, Blake’s grandmother passed away and was interred in a New Jersey cemetery that was by then in the back of a warehouse district. It sparked in him the realization that society had lost an artistic connection with the end of life. In ensuing years, he developed a network of artists dedicated to helping families celebrate the life of their loved ones.
Today a network of more than 40 artists have created the largest online collection of cremation ash keepsakes, including glass sculptures, touchstones, orbs, Trees of Life, suncatchers and jewelry. Since its founding, Spirit Pieces has worked with more than 75,000 families to help them through the grieving process.
Aftercare Center clients can order memorial keepsakes directly online after receiving their cremains. Another option is to have Aftercare Center staff encase cremains in resin applied to keepsake jewelry.
“It’s important to recognize and commemorate the life stories of the pets we’re honored to help pass peacefully. Whether it’s sharing their story with fellow supporters in a grief support group, helping to create a ceremony to mark the passing, or simply referring people to partners who make beautiful artwork with cremains, our goal is to help make the process easier for people during a difficult time,” Dr. Brush said.