Ways to Say Goodbye

The unconditional love our pets bring into our lives is priceless, but it comes at a cost when their lives reach a bittersweet end. Saying goodbye to your furry companion can be hard, but putting them to rest shouldn’t be. Your fur babies deserve the best, both in life and after it. There are many ways to send your buddy into the unknown—find the one that’s best for the both of you.


Backyard Burial

A backyard burial is perfect if you, well, have a backyard (sorry, apartment dwellers!). This option is the most cost-effective and great for homeowners with firm roots—you don’t want to leave Fido’s grave behind in a year. Just make sure research burial ordinances in your county beforehand.

To bury your pet:

  1. Wrap them in a cotton sheet or towel and secure using string.
  2. Choose a container that your pet fits into easily, like a hat box, wooden chest, trunk, or shoebox.
  3. Choose a burial site away from natural water sources or herb and vegetable gardens. Common spots are near trees or along the edges of the yard.
  4. Dig up the grave site. Use the container as a guide and add 10 inches surrounding the entire container. Dig the hole at least
    24 inches deep.
  5. Place the container in the hole and cover with soil.


Paws, Whiskers, and Wags

If you’re living in an apartment or prefer urns to graves, cremation might be the way to go for you, and Paws, Whiskers, and Wags is the biggest and the best in the business. The company follows human cremation standards and ensures it’s your animal’s ashes in the urn with their five-point guarantee:

  1. 100 percent full disclosure facilities: Each pet is cremated alone and on-site. For proof, the company offers a full tour of the facilities at any time.
  2. Pet Tracker 360: The patented tracking system proves each pet is cremated alone. Each pet receives a tracker disc that stays with them throughout the process and comes home in the urn.
  3. Pet portal: The web-based portal offers real-time online ordering, tracks movement in the cremation process, and offers visibility into the workflow in real time.
  4. Cameras: Everything done is recorded on video and seen by veterinary partners.
  5. Exceptional customer service and trusted track record: When you call, you reach an experienced professional who can answer all your questions.

“All of our services are completed in a 100 percent full disclosure environment that ensures the integrity of our company and provides peace of mind to pet parents,” Paws, Whiskers, and Wags owner and founder Christine Hunsaker told Georgia Voice. “When someone loses someone you love, they entrust us with their loved one. We must give them the peace of mind every step of the way. We must honor and protect their memories.”

The company offers free grief counseling, at-home euthanasia, and virtual pet loss support groups. They even host an annual celebration to honor pets lost with music, a speaker, a candlelight vigil, and a video tribute. Paws, Whiskers, and Wags has also donated $250,000 to animal rescue and veterinary organizations, like Ahimsa House and PALS.

Cremation prices are dictated by your pet’s weight, starting at $169 for nonexotic pets. Exotic pets are only $99. Learn more at pawswhiskersandwags.com


Aqua Transitions

Aquamation, a water-based cremation service offered by Aqua Transitions, is the best option for the more environmentally conscious among us. Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis by its scientific name, is a flameless cremation that uses water to return the body back to nature. According to co-owner Christie Sachse, Aqua Transitions uses a combination of water flow, temperature, and alkalinity to accelerate the natural process of decomposition.

“With aquamation, there are no direct emissions of harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Sachse told Georgia Voice. “It doesn’t burn any fossil fuels, it’s energy efficient. It uses less water than a single household uses in a day.”

The water-based process uses 95% water and five percent alkali. After the process, the alkali has been completely used, making the liquid safe enough to be used as an organic fertilizer. “DeKalb County welcomes it into their water system because it’s so beneficial and organic, and it’s cleaner than most lake water,” Sachse said.

After your pet is aquamated, you will receive their ashes—20% more than you would through fire cremation—in a paw print metal canister (or the urn of your choice for an additional charge) as well as a Certificate of Aquamation and an ink paw print. Aqua Transitions also plans to introduce grief counseling for mourning pet parents, and a percentage of proceeds go to no-kill shelters like PAWS and Furkids.

Aquamation is priced by your pet’s weight, starting at $199. Learn more at aquatransitions.com.