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Updated: 14 hours ago

A photo capturing a hand gently touching still water in Stratford, Ontario, symbolizing peace and reflection in the context of pet cremation and memorials.

It isn't like people talk about pet aftercare every day. It just isn't a topic of conversation because no one wants to think about the passing of a pet, much less what happens to them after they do. We love and care for our pets while they are with us, and it turns out (not surprisingly) that most people are concerned about what happens to their pet after they have said goodbye.

A 2020 qualitative study sought to explore pet owner expectations for pet aftercare. It revealed that more than half of respondents felt strongly about how their pet’s body is cared for and “physically handled” after they pass. This includes how their pet is stored and for how long before their chosen form of disposition. At the same time, most respondents don’t make aftercare decisions until death has occurred. While it was reassuring to find myself among like-minded pet parents caring about how my pet was cared for after death, I regret not exploring aftercare options at all and not asking questions about aftercare until after their passing. My quest for aftercare alternatives for my surviving senior pup began in 2020, and it was clear there weren’t any and that cremation was big business. But it was during this search, I learned about an alternative to flame-based cremation called alkaline hydrolysis, also known as aquamation, water cremation, or bio-cremation.

Aquamation is an alternative to flame-based cremation that uses water instead of fire to return people and pets to nature. Not many people have heard of this pet aftercare option, likely because it hasn't been widely available. But this is changing. Faced with a climate crisis and demand for greener, more sustainable alternatives, many industries look to innovative and new environmentally-friendly technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The death care industry is no different. Bio-Response Solutions in Danville, Indiana, is leading the charge by offering both human and pet aquamation units and has operators worldwide, including the US, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong, France, Germany, and Canada. In Ontario alone we have at least six units dedicated to pet aftercare in Mississauga, Strathroy, Toronto, Barrie, and two at EVERMORE in Stratford.

Innovation will continue to offer solutions so we may transition from the status quo to meaningful and sustainable alternatives in all aspects of life. But here and now, caring and compassionate care for my pet is ultimately why EVERMORE exists today. Pets are family, and deserve nothing less than attentive, compassionate, respectful, and personal care.

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