Late one Friday afternoon I received a call from a pet parent. Her cat had been euthanized at a Bellingham veterinary clinic two days prior, and she  had told the vet staff that she wanted Life Cycle Pet Cremation to provide after-care for her cat.

Since it is our policy to call clients to let them know when we’ve taken custody of their pet, and because she had not heard from me, she was calling to check-in.  However, no one from the clinic had called me.  (The clinic was not a referring veterinary service at the time.)

I offered to call the vet to see if the cat’s body was still there, but the client, in an effort to reassure herself in the moment said, “Well, she’s gone. I guess it doesn’t matter where she goes now.”

But it does matter. Where a pet is cremated matters.

Aside from a host of other issues (like whether or not the pet’s body is treated with respect, or if there is a strict chain-of-custody process in place, or if the pet cremation service is properly permitted and adheres to strict environmental codes), location itself matters.

Before my husband Bill and I opened Life Cycle Pet Cremation in October 2013, we spoke with many parents who had lost a pet during the last decade. Over and over what we heard was something like this:

“It’s been six years, and I still wonder where she went. The vet couldn’t even tell me. All they said was that my pet would be sent away and cremated ‘somewhere near Seattle.'”

Life Cycle Pet Cremation exists, in large part, so that pet parents always know the “where” of their pet’s cremation.  We give pet parents a place they can visit, or at least point to on a map, and know exactly where their pet was cared for after death.

If a pet parent is left wondering “Where did my pet go?” how can they possibly make their way through the grief process? How could they ever fully heal?

There is an enormous “reassurance factor” when you know exactly where a loved one is cared for. Additional reassurance comes when an after-care facility, like Life Cycle Pet Cremation, is 100% open to the public and offers optional witnessed cremations.

Choosing an after-care provider for your pet is a significant step in an important emotional journey. Where that after-care takes place matters…very much.