I attended a wonderful Healing Hearts presentation Sunday afternoon hosted by Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation. Elizabeth Babcock’s presentation is full of practical information, telling us that the grief at losing a beloved animal companion is real, it isn’t pretty, it really hurts, it takes time to resolve, and is different for each of us. In 2015 I took notes on the presentation so you can read more about it.
No matter how many times I’ve heard this presentation I still take it in each time.
It’s just about this time in 2006 that I lost Moses, and the first time I called Deb for the cremation of one of my cats. I had become unhappy with the prior cremation service I’d been using in the late 90s. When Nikka died in 2003 I took her to a local veterinary hospital for cremation and they matter-of-factly handed me a box with no comments and went on to the next person. Nikka’s cremains were in a plastic bag inside. Between losing Sally in 1999 and Moses in 2006, she was the only loss and I decided that wouldn’t be the way I treated my cats in the future.
As Moses approached her time I remembered reading an article about a unique pet cremation service in the next town down the road, found the article and called to make arrangements. The day I had Moses put to sleep, my friends Amby and Dan pulled up just as my veterinarian left. Those two had adopted two kittens from my first litter and their mom, and then later adopted Lucy’s brothers, and we’ve been friends since the mid 80s. They offered to drive me to the cremation business, and Deb welcomed all of us and we all sat in the living room area and talked about Moses and loss and our pets. I have never had an attended cremation. I like the time to contemplate before I feel their cremains in a bag. This time I actually felt good about leaving Moses with her, and grateful to my friends for transporting me.
There have been over a dozen since then, including a few hospice fosters. That day I’d first been there Deb also mentioned to me that she’d seen my artwork in a few homes, and she became my customer as I became hers, managing her website since then, designing her logo, writing press releases, and speaking at Pet Memorial Sunday. She’s also purchased some of my keepsakes as urns, and I have sample portraits hanging in that living room. Yet, when I have a loss, I am a customer once again.
I photograph Deb’s two grief support events each year, Healing Hearts and Pet Memorial Sunday, and I know I’ll be using the photos and ideas from each event in future work for Deb. But even in years when I don’t have a loss the events are still meaningful for me. I would attend anyway. It’s one of the things I like about the way Deb has her business structured.
I don’t think I’ll be looking around for another service any time soon.
See other posts about Pet Loss.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
This glass votive is etched by hand and finished with a clear label I printed from my artwork “Star of Wonder”. I etched the inside of the vase to better diffuse the light from the candle, then printed the design on a purchased clear vinyl label and burnished it onto the vase. It’s made from a purchased cube-shaped glass vase 3.25″ in each dimension and comes with an LED tea light. I am honored that customers have chosen this votive to memorialize their own beloved cats, or to give as a gift to a friend who has endured a loss. Read more and order.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!