Pet Cremation Services was started May 15th, 1995 by Sheri Allen, who has spent the majority of her life devoted to animals, (first as a Veterinarian Technician and finally, as caretaker for un-adoptable animals.
Our Company is dedicated to offering "prompt, reliable, and compassionate" service for those wanting cremation for their pet. As a convenience, Pet Cremation Services includes pick up and delivery. We also offer a wide selection of urns and boxes in which to store your pets cremains.
We have experienced this, ourselves, and want to make this time of loss easier for you.
We always provide a matted presentation displaying your pet's paw print and clipping of fur, and return the cremains in a complimentary container at no additional chargeHard Facts to Face
- There are 45 cats and dogs for every person born
- Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born ever find a permanent home.
- Only 1 out of every 12 cats born ever find a permanent home.
- 800 dogs and cats are destroyed each HOUR in the U.S. because there are not enough homes for them.
- Please spay or neuter your pets!
People cremating their pets to remember important member of family
By Joan Whitely
When Sherri Allen gets burdened by the sad context of her job, she goes to a special photo album for relief.
In it are thank-you letters from grateful people who have paid Allen to cremate their dearly loved, deceased pets.
"You took a lot of time, stress and pain off our minds," goes one entry.
"Thank you for taking care of our Holly's last journey," goes another.
"Thank you for a beautiful presentation of a wonderful pet," says a third message, signed "with smiles and tears."
Allen needed to thumb through the album in mid-February. "It seems like it was death week," she says, explaining that Pet Cremation Services, her business, had picked up 61 animal bodies for cremation in a three-day period. Though based in Pahrump, Pet Cremation Services can be reached in Las Vegas by dialing 683-9941.
Normally her business -- which serves Clark County and occasionally ventures over the state line into California -- cremates about 200 pets per month.
"I guess I thought I'd have her with me forever. In a way I will, thanks to you," reads another unsolicited thank-you.
Allen's service goes beyond simple cremation. The last letter is referring to Allen's signature memento. When she returns pet ashes to an owner, she also delivers a small, framable matted board that contains a tuft of the pet's fur, and its pawprint.
Allen got the inspiration for her business about 11 years ago, after she had Caesar, one of her cats, cremated at a local facility that is now a competitor.
She got the ashes back in a plastic bag, enclosed in a nondescript cardboard box. She describes the experience as most impersonal and unsatisfying for her, and "undignified" for her cat.
"I just saw more things that could be done that did not take up a big amount of time or cost," recalls Allen, 53.
To preserve some fur and a pawprint is her way to help grieving pet owners "preserve" the memory of their pets.
"That's a very concrete part of their pet that they can see (forever)," she explains. "The ashes are more abstract. If they didn't know (the ashes were) their pet's, they couldn't connect it" with the animal they remember.
No cardboard boxes, either, for the ashes that result when Allen does a cremation. Standard is a small metal container to hold them, although clients can choose, for an extra fee, one from the many styles of pet urns -- wooden, steel, brass pewter or ceramic -- that Allen offers.
It costs $45 for Allen to cremate a reptile, bird or pocket pet; $65 to cremate a kitten, puppy, rabbit or ferret: $80 for a cat or lap dog. Animals that weigh 20 to 30 pounds cost $90 to cremate. The price then increases by weight increment, with a pet over 121 pounds costing a maximum $210.
Allen says her crematories are too small to accommodate a horse, though she has cremated a pet goat.
Cremation rates for human Americans are steadily climbing, as statistics from the Cremation Association of North America show. No comparable information is available for their pets. But anecdotally, local pet owners seem positive about this option.
Several who have had pets cremated recently cite discomfort at the thought of of a dear pet's body being taken to the section of the local landfill that is reserved for such organic refuse.
"It's the last ultimate service you can do for the animal you love," claims Las Vegan Ruth Jessop, 63, who recently ordered her fourth pet cremation.
Containers bearing the ashes of Pixie, Shadow, Peanut and Dancer -- all Chihuahuas -- sit above a grandfather clock in Jessop's home.
Vet services will tell a client they'll "take care of" a deceased pet, according to Jessop. "They'll tell you, `We dig a communal grave.' They won't tell you, `We put them in a big sack and take them to the dump.' "
Jessop ventured into pet cremation out of respect for her first cremated pet's original owner. "The reason I got started on cremating, my mother was cremated, and these were her dogs."
But Jessop has continued with the practice as each aging pet dies because, "if I bury them in the ground they stay there. It's like when your parents are clear across the country (buried in a cemetery), and you can't be near them."
Jessop plans to have her pets' ashes interred or scattered with her own one day. That also will entail exhuming and cremating Princess and Ebony, two more Chihuahuas who died and were buried before Jessop became familiar with pet cremation.
The notion of commingling a pet's remains with one's own is not unique to Jessop.
Henderson resident Joan Lothrop, 68, had a cat recently cremated. She also had Jimmy, a pet feline who died about five years ago, exhumed for cremation. She describes it as "comforting" to know that one day their joined ashes will be placed in her own casket.
Susan Philpott of Las Vegas keeps her pet urns discreetly on a shelf in the home's master bedroom. "I've done three dogs and two cats," she says. "I wanted to always have them with me. I may leave my home some day."
Philpott also rejects burial for her pets on the grounds that a landfill is "not where I'd want my friends' final resting place to be. (Cremation) gives them some dignity."
Pet cremation grants a pet owner "closure and peace," Jessop adds.
Allen, who is on 24-hour call, picks up pets either at the owner's home or the vet office. Currently she services about 30 local vet clinics.
To launch her own business, she worked first in several clinics as a vet technician. After seeing the pain of dying animals firsthand, Allen notes, "you get a very different outlook on life, and when is the proper time to die."
She also attended veterinary conventions, where she observed the latest in pet cremation equipment. Five years ago, when she announced her service, she says she was lucky to get one cremation a week. "I maxed out a lot of credit cards on a very big iffy-maybe I-hope-so."
Today, as a matter of principle, Allen declines to cremate healthy animals that have been euthanized just because a pet shelter ran out of room. Conversely, she does cremations for free for the 24-Carat Ferret Rescue, which rescues abused and neglected ferrets, some of which die because of the harshness of their prior treatment.
The self-described owner of "three potbelly pigs, six ferrets and `X' number of cats and `X' number of dogs," Allen is philosophical about her unusual occupation.
"When I get really depressed, I dig this out," she says, pointing to her thank-you album. "It reminds me that it's OK. It's a good thing that I do."