It seems like in this industry “aftercare” is the new buzz word.  It’s a word we all know and usually think of when we have been faced with the illness or death of family member.  Maybe you are familiar with aftercare when your grandmother/grandfather or mother/father passed.  Maybe the burden was placed on you to orchestrate all the “aftercare” services.  It’s not an easy task and something not anyone of us wants to think about.  But this is life and in life, there is death.  In the medical care field, aftercare is defined as: “Follow-up care provided after a medical procedure or treatment program.”

In the death industry of people and pets, aftercare is the follow-up care provided after a death of a loved one and/or pet.  The arrangements of burial/cremation, grief support, memorial products, etc.  All of these factors are considered aftercare and aftercare services.  Ten years ago, aftercare was widely used in the human death industry…but not so much in the pet industry.  But boy have times changed.  Now people are not only making their own aftercare arrangements but are making them for their beloved pets.

I would say that just 5 years ago, I would receive one call every 6 months regarding Pet Aftercare.  The main questions asked were:  My dog is ok now, but I’m trying to make a decision on whether to cremate him or bury him…what are my options in cremation?  Does my veterinarian take care of this or do I have to bring my pet to you?  How do I know this is my pet when I get the urn/cremains back?   Now those calls are weekly!  No joke!  We get calls for people making aftercare plans for their pet 1 year to months in advance.  We also have people calling the day of or the day after.

If I have one piece of advice, it would be…it is important to plan.  It’s hard to think about…but it’s important to plan.  In grief, you will go through different stages all at different times.  You may change your mind in services, urns, etc.  These are difficult decisions and decisions you don’t want to have to make in a moments notice.  Now you don’t have to go call your local crematorium or pet cemetery today…but start thinking about it.  Research and ask questions.  If you don’t like the answers your veterinarian gives you regarding the aftercare/afterlife services they provide…then find one you do.  Here are some topics to think about:

  • Would I prefer my pet to be buried or cremated?
  • Burial?  Am I allowed to in my county?  Is there a pet cemetery close by?  What do they offer in aftercare services?
  • Cremation?  Do I want the cremains returned to me in an urn?  Or would I like him/her spread somewhere special?
  • Who are my local pet crematories and does my veterinarian work with the one I feel most comfortable with?
  • With cremation…am I ok with a communal cremation–where my pet would be cremated with other pets and I would not receive cremains back?
  • Or would I prefer a private cremation?  What does that entail?  Are there different types of private cremations offered at my local crematorium?
  • If I want my pet’s cremains back….do I want an urn or maybe a different type of memorial?

A lot ….I know.  But know this…you aren’t alone and find and talk to people who can relate and ask a lot of questions.  It’s ok.  And lastly, don’t let people tell you, “It’s a pet…get over it.”  That is by far the worst thing anyone can say to you.  Pets are special to us in so many ways and our members of our family.  You want the best for them in life..so why not the best for them in afterlife.

Have a wonderful and enjoyable week. Thanks for tuning in…

And for more information on the services we offer, cremation questions, and memorial products please visit Eden Memorial Pet Care.

*Christine Johnson

General Manager
Eden Memorial Pet Care