Sunday May 5, 2013

When Fido or Fluffy died years ago, you either buried them at the far end of the backyard, or let the veterinarian dispose of the remains. Many people still do.

Our household, however, has entered the modern age. We have our pets cremated, so we can scatter the ashes. On one occasion, some years ago, we even got a paw print in clay and a tuft of fur to remember -- a little grotesquely I thought -- our departed cat, Shadow.

Spending on pets has grown 29 percent over five years to $55.5 billion, says the American Pet Products Association.

Why not, then, go beyond simply cremating them, and invest in an engraved cremation urn, or a memory box or a monogrammed pendant?

The Aurora Casket Co. in Indiana is doing just that with a new line of pet ware added to its people products.

Aurora, founded in 1890, isn’t the first to venture beyond our species in providing funeral services. Smaller companies have been filling that niche for some time -- as my cat paw paperweight testified. But Aurora is the biggest privately owned funeral service supplier in the county, with five plants in the U.S. and Canada.

I went onto the company website -- www.aurora
casket.com/browseproducts/cremation/petmemorialproducts -- to peruse its online catalog.


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It was 28 color pages of handsome stone, brass, resin and cloissoné urns; cat figurines; photo boxes; carved wooden memory boxes for leashes, favorite toys and
photographs; and pendants
to wear. Many could be monogrammed.

But there were no prices with the descriptions.

I called the toll-free Aurora Casket phone line -- 1 (800) 457-1111 -- to ask and was told they only sell to funeral homes, not to individuals.

"How do I find a funeral home that sells your products" I asked.

"Look in the Yellow Pages," the operator told me.

"You mean I have to call every funeral home to find one that sells your products?"

"Yes," she replied.

I wasn’t about to spend my afternoon doing that, since I have no need for funerary items at the moment. So I leave that task to interested readers.

On second thought, just ask your veterinarian.