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Another biodegradable container is


a pod that contains nutrient-rich soil, a seed and the pet’s ashes to nourish the resulting plant, tree or shrub. It’s a lovely way to remember the pet and replenish Earth’s greenspace.


Aquamation or Cremation Veterinary offices commonly arrange for the pet’s body to be sent to a crematorium, with ashes returned several days later. Using temperatures from 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, these facilities impose a larger carbon footprint than other options. At-home euthanasia may be beneficial


for terminal pets. Te animal can remain calm in familiar surroundings with family present. Te veterinarian allows time for goodbyes, and when the family is ready, removes the body. “We always place the pets on nice stretchers with a blanket over the body and encourage the family to place toys or flowers with their pet. Tere’s no handing out brochures with photos of urns or upselling. It’s respectful of the pet’s life,” says Veterinarian Mary Gardner, of Yorba Linda, California, co-founder and chief technology officer at Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a national network of veterinarians dedicated to end-of-life care. Gardner is also building an aqua-


mation (alkaline hydrolysis) facility in Boynton Beach, Florida. Tis alternative to cremation has a far smaller environ- mental impact because the resulting alkaline water is safe to drain, containing no chemicals or DNA. Elizabeth Fournier, author of Te


Green Burial Guidebook, owns and operates Cornerstone Funeral Services and Cremation, in Boring, Oregon, where she periodically receives inquiries about pets. “I’ve received calls over the years for horses, donkeys, sheep and dogs. One family called me for their alpaca. I explained my funeral home was a human-only funeral parlor, but I’d be more than happy to help with a refer- ral,” Fournier says. She offered a choice of flame or water. “Tey liked the water method because Spunky the Alpaca loved the rain and could drink more water than most of her pasture mates,” she says. Te family let all the other animals


If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.” – Pam Brown


at home come by to give Spunky a sniff and a goodbye, and then took her body for bio-cremation. “Tey took her ashes home in a ceramic pig cookie jar,” says Fournier.


“It’s my favorite story.” “Te zero-emission aquamation


process creates one-tenth the carbon footprint of traditional, flame-based cremation and enables 20 percent more ashes to be returned to the family, allowing for a lasting contribution to be made to the Earth in honor of a beloved pet,” says Christie Cornelius, the found-


ing doctor of veterinary medicine at Last Wishes Compassionate Comfort Care for Pets, in Houston, Texas. Eternal Reefs, Inc., in Sarasota,


Florida, mixes environmentally friendly concrete with cremains to form a gigantic reef ball, which is then placed on the ocean floor to replenish naturally dimin- ishing reef systems and provide a perma- nent underwater memorial. Originally designed for human use, some owners have asked for pets to be included. To reduce costs, families are encouraged to hold their pet’s cremated remains for the appropriate time when they are me- morializing a human loved one. Record- ed GPS coordinates facilitate future visits to the area. Whether using earth, fire or water,


there are many ways to honor a pet’s life- long devotion and lessen its final carbon footprint to protect Earth’s natural health and beauty. Connect with freelance writer Sandra


Murphy at StLouisFreelanceWriter@mind- spring.com.


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919-469-5538 • www.ncbarter.com October 2018 39


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