We at PetLoss Partners are always interested in products and services that can help our clients begin to heal.
Last month, we had the opportunity to meet with Jerry Shevick of Peaceful Pets Aquamation. This meeting not only left us more informed, but incredibly impressed with this process of Aquamation, and with the services offered by Peaceful Pets Aquamation. Their attention to detail and care and concern for the dignity of the pets was moving to see.
We asked Jerry to share about the process of Aquamation and his company in the hopes that it would provide grieving pet parents both knowledge and comfort.
Here is what he sent us:
About a year and we had to put down one of the greatest dogs we’d ever had. Scout was imperturbable around our young, over zealous kids and as sweet as she was beautiful. She’d developed lymphoma and though through chemotherapy we got another good year with her, it was too much for her to fight. At that time, cremation was the only choice (burial on your property is illegal where we live) and the only choice that the vet could offer.
Soon after, though, we discovered a process called Aquamation, a 100% green and far more dignified alternative to cremation. It was so exciting that I made a left turn out of a successful career in entertainment and opened Peaceful Pets Aquamation.
What is Aquamation? It’s a natural process called alkaline hydrolysis. Using water flow, temperature and alkalinity, it is more like natural decomposition than any other method. It’s actually what occurs when a body is buried. In fact, it was already being used by some of the most respected and influential institutions in the world. UCLA, Texas A&M, the Mayo Clinic were just a few of the places alkaline hydrolysis was already the standard.
What is remarkable about alkaline hydrolysis, and obviously why major medical facilities use it, is that it is totally green. As I said above, we have young children, and that became a huge factor in attracting us to starting up the business. It has a carbon footprint that is only one-tenth of what fire-based cremation produces. What’s even more staggering is that it uses one-twentieth of the energy, cutting natural gas use by 90%, carbon dioxide emissions by 90%, electricity by 66% and it is 100% mercury free
The process of Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis, is very simple. The pet is placed in its own cubicle or container within a stainless steel cradle. They are separated so that we can guarantee that the right remains are matched to the right pet. Then, across a 22 hour process, the water and alkali gently flow across the body. This reduces the body to its bones. There isn’t a better way to honor your pet than Aquamation — to have it be a part of the circle of life.
But, that didn’t solve all the problems that we found with pet aftercare. So, we took the time and looked at every step of the process. How could we make the whole thing more dignified? During every step of the process, we asked ourselves, “Does this meet the bar for how we want our pet to be treated?”
What was amazing to us was that the level of attention we gave to pets helped people with their sense of closure. It was really a wonderful surprise. We take the time to tie a bow around the remains inside the urn. For some reason, if you decide to open the urn, it is less daunting having it presented in a humane way. We decided to decorate the paw prints we provide with beads and the pet’s name. The details have become very important to us because we know how they help. There is a sense of peace when you know that your pet, whom has left your hands, is being treated well and respectfully.
Death is not a comfortable topic for any of us. But, we’ve found that talking about it openly, taking time with our clients and making sure that our treatment is not just dignified, but personal, truly makes people feel better. We want to be part of the pet community, not the kind of creepy place your pet disappears to. To that end, we contribute to different animal charities and are supportive of many pet related causes. We’ve also expanded a program that we had originally initiated with the SPCALA where we offer a 5% discount to anyone who mentions a rescue group or charity when they bring us their pet. We then send that 5% directly to the charity.
At the moment, Peaceful Pets Aquamation is only available in Southern California; however, we hope that as knowledge spreads, we will be able to franchise our approach to aftercare across the country. We depend on pet owners, who, want more dignified and environmentally safe aftercare for their pets, to tell their vets about us. Just like we do for any member of our family, it’s sometimes necessary to advocate on their behalf.
What’s really amazing is that we feel more and more responsible for our clients’ pets with each passing day. When you treat someone’s family pet with dignity, you create a different kind of relationship with them. We make new friends. We give people closure or help them honor something important in their lives. I can’t tell you how rewarding that is.
For more information, Jerry can be contacted at
Peaceful Pets Aquamation