Pet Cremation Services Handles Pets like Family
By Jill Draper
Just like human cremation, pet cremation is on the rise. At Pet Cremation Services, just south of 135th Street in Martin City, there is a steady stream of calls from people when a beloved member of the family dies—whether it’s a dog, cat, horse or something else.
“We’ve handled snakes, lizards, rabbits, parrots, cockatiels, ferrets, even a tiger from an exotic animal sanctuary,” says Linda Crawford, who runs the business with her daughter and son-in-law, Aimee and Steve Rohleder. “We never get complacent, and we’re sensitive to all situations. A pet is part of someone’s family and each one has their own little personality.”
Approximately half of pet owners choose private cremation in which the remains are placed in a complimentary wooden urn. Otherwise, a sampling of remains from each congregate cremation is sprinkled in their memorial garden.
Crawford and her late husband, Joe, started the business 20 years ago when they purchased property at 13508 Oak St. from a retired woman who had kept a doll shop there. They needed light industrial zoning for the gas-powered steel crematorium units that operate at such high temperatures (1,800 degrees) that no smoke or odor is produced. Six units are for individual cremations and two are for congregate cremations and horses. All crematories are permitted by the City of Kansas City, Mo., Air Quality Program.
Crawford’s family members are all pet lovers. She keeps a mini golden doodle, while her daughter and son-in-law have a boxer and black lab.
“I love meeting the people who come in and hearing their stories,” she says. “I feel like I’m helping them.” She recalls a tough-looking truck driver who was devastated when his ride-along little dog died. He had the dog’s body cremated along with a letter he wrote to her. Another family wrapped their dog in silk fabric sprinkled with flower petals before the procedure.
While many people bring their pets in, others elect to have a staff member pick up the body from their home. A horse trailer with a winch is used for equine removal. Home removal is available seven days a week.
Crawford and her husband got into this line of work about 40 years ago when they began FC Industries, which sells cremation systems, services and installation throughout the nation. Some veterinarians have their own units, but usually utilizes services like the one in Martin City.
Prices for pet cremation are low compared to human cremation, starting at $45 (no ashes returned) to $140 for animals up to 49 pounds. “Celebrity” animals which have been handled by the business include a popular draft horse and a longhorn steer from the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.
“What most people comment on, what we hear time and time again, is how caring people thought we were with their pet,” Crawford says. “Almost everyone who leaves says, ‘I’m so grateful you’re here.’”