Guardians Of Pets In Death
Family Pet Memorial Gardens Helps Grieving Pet Owners Find Peace
Anyone who has every loved and lost a pet knows what a terribly traumatic experience it is. It can be very much like the death of a family member. Indeed, to many pet owners, their pets are their family.
That is why it is comforting to know Family Pet Memorial Gardens is right here in our area to serve pet lovers in their time of need. Since 1967, Family Pet Memorial has provided compassionate and dignified afterlife care for people’s pets. They are the oldest operating animal cemetery in the Inland Northwest, and they provide a final resting place for over 1,800 beloved pets, including birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, pigs, and horses, to name just a few. They are also the only cremation service offered through local veterinary practices that is open to the public and that provides both private cremation and burial service.
The business is located on Austin Road in Colbert on 10 beautiful acres. Currently they have two and a half acres allocated for the pet cemetery, with room for expansion. The facility is a continuous care cemetery, and the grounds are meticulously maintained. They have designated the pet cemetery in the Deed of Trust for the property, assuring the cemetery will remain into the future.
The facility is a 2nd generation family business, owned and operated by Pet Loss Professionals Faith and Dmitri Zaslavsky. Faith’s parents, Tom and Leslie Allen, started the business purely by accident. Back in the 1960’s, they were looking for rural property where they could build a home. They eventually purchased and built a house on some land that happened to have a small number of animals buried on the property. Through the years, many people approached the Allens and asked if they were the people who owned the Pet Cemetery. Little by little, Mr. Allen obliged people’s wishes to have their pets buried on his property, and he eventually started Family Pet Memorial Gardens in his spare time. Word spread among the general community and local veterinarians, and by the late 1980s, Family Pet Memorial Gardens turned into a full-time business for the Allens.
Guaranteed Private Cremations And Full Body Burial Services
Around this time, people started asking if the facility performed pet cremations. As the Allens began researching pet cremation options, they realized no one in Spokane offered a service where a client was guaranteed to receive the ashes of their pet only, without the possibility of other pet’s ashes being “co-mingled” with their pet’s. The companies in Spokane performed mass cremation and small group cremations where they segregated animals in a large crematory unit. That was a major turning point for the business, as the Allen’s decided to purchase a small crematory unit and offer “Private Cremation” where only one pet would be placed in a clean crematory unit at a time, ensuring only that pet’s cremains were returned to the owner. As it turned out, this was a service pet owners appreciated a great deal; people wanted to be guaranteed they were receiving only their pet’s ashes.
Today, Family Pet Memorial has four separate crematory units and performs only “Guaranteed Private Cremation” services for people who want their pet’s cremains returned to them, or who choose to have their pet’s ashes buried in their urns or scattered in the facility’s special Memorial Gardens. In addition to the “Guaranteed Private Cremation Services,” the facility continues to offer people a place to lay their pets to rest with full body burial services.
Quality Control Measures
“The way I see it, I’m in the trust business,” said Dmitri. “When we pick up someone’s pet, they put their trust in us that their beloved companion is being treated with care and dignity,” he added. To that end, Family Pet Memorial is a proud member of The Pet Loss Professional Alliance, an industry organization that fosters a high level of ethics for pet crematoriums and funeral homes by striving to achieve the same high standards as human crematoriums and funeral homes. “We do not compromise on the service we perform,” Dmitri said. “We place only one pet in a clean crematory unit at one time. We have a redundant tracking system in which each pet is “tagged” with the pet’s name and owner’s name on it. That tracking tag stays with each pet and follows the pet through every step of the cremation process, from initially being placed on the pet at the time of pickup, to the urn in which the pet’s cremains are interred,” he explained.
All Creatures Great And Small
“We’ve cremated or buried most any pet you can imagine,” Dmitri said, “from cats and dogs to lizards, snakes, geese, ducks, pigs, emus, goats, ferrets, and bunnies, plus a few horses. Someone even asked to cremate a fish once, but I told her I didn’t feel right charging to cremate a fish, as there would be nothing left to give back to her. The most unique pets we’ve cremated were a lion and a tiger for the owner of Cat Tails Zoological Park,” Dmitri concluded.
“We’ve also been honored to both bury and cremate a number of service animals, from seeing eye dogs, to police dogs from K-9 units, to retired military dogs who served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Dmitri said. “In fact, we recently took care of Kira, the K-9 service dog from the Cheney Police Department, as well as two retired military dogs that both served in combat duty sniffing out bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he noted.
Prices for the private cremation service are based on the weight of the animal; an animal in the 2-24 lb. range would cost $128, while a 200 lb. animal would cost $310. Burial service costs are higher. A detailed price list is available at www.familypetmemorial.com.
Dmitri and his family are very proud of the businesses they have built and the unique service they provide to pet owners during a very difficult time in their lives. “We have built a very special place to memorialize pets. There is nothing like it anywhere in the Inland Northwest,” said Dmitri. “We carefully maintain the grounds, and they are quite beautiful, especially this time of year. With Memorial Day right around the corner, I encourage people to come out and see our facility. We get visitors year round, and the peace and beauty of the grounds are a real testament to people’s love for their pets. At the end of the day, I feel like this is my life’s work; it’s meaningful, rewarding and fulfilling. Isn’t that what people aspire to in their work?” he concluded.
Services can be requested either directly by the pet owner or through a veterinarian. They work with virtually every veterinarian in the Greater Spokane area and beyond, servicing everywhere from Colville to Davenport, to Coeur d’ Alene. They are an “On Call” service and will go to a client’s house to pick up their pet should the animal pass away at home.
Call (509) 467-4248 or go to www.familypetmemorial.com for more information. Visit the facility at 20015 North Austin Road,
Colbert, WA 99005.