Pet funerals add closure for grieving owners

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					Pet funerals add closure for grieving owners

By Michelle Browning
September 2, 2004

          CARMEL – Cleo the dog was like a child for the Haddad
        Saad Haddad, 41, said his parents treated the Yorkshire terrier
he family had for 15 years like a baby, taking her everywhere with
them. When Cleo died earlier this summer, the family was beside itself
with grief. They didn’t think it would do Cleo justice to cremate her,   
and wanted to give their canine child a proper sendoff,                        Coleen Ellis’ Pet Angel Memorial
Haddad said.                                                                   Center in Carmel helps people say
        But they couldn’t find a casket for their dog, or anywhere to          goodbye with services and
give her a proper burial, in the Indianapolis area.                            products including pet caskets.
        Then Coleen Ellis stepped in.
        Her Pet Angel Memorial Center opened in Carmel last month.
        “Everything you can think of with a human funeral home, you can think of here,” Ellis said.
        Ellis had a casket for Cleo, and the family is burying her at a friend’s lake house, where Cleo liked to
run. Haddad said they’re also thinking of giving Cleo a funeral service at Pet Angel. They are appreciative
of Ellis’ help.
        “She really made it easier for us to say goodbye,” Haddad said.
        Ellis said her goal with Pet Angel is to help families honor and pay their last respects to their pets.
        “It’s about remembering life’s unconditional love,” she said. “That’s our motto because that’s what
you get from animals.”
        Ellis spent 18 years working in the funeral industry and got the idea to open Pet Angel last year
when her dog, Mico, whom she calls her “baby,” died. Like the Haddads, she had trouble finding options for
giving Mico a proper goodbye.
        Families can choose to bury their pet in one of Pet Angel’s caskets or keep their ashes in an urn.
        Caskets cost $100-$500. Decorative urns come in all shapes and sizes, including some that look like
floral arrangements, and run $50-$350. Families can also choose from packages offering merchandise and
        If you want a minister to preside over a funeral service, Ellis can arrange it.
        She knows some people worry their friends will think they’re weird for having a funeral for their pet,
so she’ll take care of the invitations. Brian Burke, Ellis’ stepson, will pick up your deceased pet and keep it
at the center while you make plans.
        If you choose burial in a pet cemetery, they’ll arrange a funeral procession. If you’d prefer
cremation, they’ll deliver the ashes to you.
        Families can also purchase commemorative art, such as portraits, note cards and jewelry with the
pet’s paw or nose print.
        Books on helping children deal with the death of a pet and DVD’s celebrating the pet’s life are
available, too.
●Pet Angel Memorial Center ●172 E. Carmel Dr. ●9am – 5pm Weekdays, 9am – noon Sat ●317.569.6000 answered 24 hours