HeavenLee Companion Aquamation offers alternative to flame cremation and burial for family pets

Personalized/engraved cedar urns in which ashes are returned (Photo courtesy of Amberly Lee)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Amberly and Shane Lee opened HeavenLee Companion Aquamation in March of 2022 to give people a better option when faced with the death of their family pet. They offer aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, which is a water-based cremation. It is a more environmentally friendly option than fire cremation since it uses no fossil fuels and produces zero harmful emissions into the environment with no toxic byproducts left.

The process uses warm water, a gentle circulating current and an all-natural alkaline chemical solution to gently break down organic material leaving bone ashes the same as with a fire cremation. This natural chemical is found in household products such as hand soaps and make-up products. This process just speeds up the natural decomposition of the body in a total of 20 hours. At the end of the process, the inorganic materials of the bone remain. This is pure calcium phosphate. The mineral remains are carefully dried and processed into a powder for return to the pet owner.

Amberly stated, “With my background as a nurse and most recently a hospice nurse, and my husband Shane, who is a veterinarian—we combined our love for animals and the knowledge of the importance of end-of-life care, we knew this option would be a great service to offer. We understand that a family’s pet quickly becomes more than just an animal. They become a member of the family.

From the smallest pocket pets, to dogs, cats and even larger animals, we know all of them are so important to the families. When the time comes, whether from old age, accidents, cancer and other terminal illnesses, there has not been many different options for end-of-life care. Either burial at home or in a pet cemetery, disposal at a veterinary hospital or fire cremation were really the only options. Say you rent a house or live in an apartment, or live in the city where you have no land to bury your loved one, what do you do? If you couldn’t stomach the thought of your pet being buried in a mass grave or cremated with fire, now there is a better option.

 The remains we can return to the family are the same bone ashes produced by traditional cremation except we are able to return on average 20% more bone due to not losing any in the burn process. It’s never an easy topic to discuss and we are here to make it as gentle and respectful of a process as we can to honor the pet’s life.”

The remains given back to the family are solely those of their beloved pet with no cross contamination. HeavenLee Companion Aquamation has partnered with many veterinary hospitals in Cullman County and surrounding areas to provide this service to pet owners and are adding more each week. If a pet owner’s clinic is one of their partners, then the pet can be brought to that clinic and picked up directly from there.

If a veterinary hospital is not affiliated with HeavenLee, they can still call and request a pickup from that clinic. Amberly and Shane also offer a 24/7 drop off area where pets can be left. This drop off area could be used if the pet passes at home. All information could be filled out and left with the pet at any time. During the daytime, it may be possible to arrange at home pick up and/or remains drop off. Please call to verify location and charges that will apply based on size of the pet and location.

Amberly also discussed the different packages offered, saying, “We offer both private and communal cremation packages. The private package returns your pet’s ashes in a personalized/engraved Cedar urn, a paw print, a lock of fur, an ink nose and paw impression, a certificate of aquamation and an aquamation tag, which follows your pet throughout the process making sure all remains are solely those of your pet. The communal cremation means that they go through the same process, but the owner does not want any ashes back. The ashes from communal cremations are spread here on the property in a field overlooking a pond.  A paw print, lock of fur and ink impressions could be obtained if the owner would like those.”

HeavenLee Companion Aquamation can cremate animals up to 500 lbs. Pricing varies depending on weight, location and pick-up time. Clients can call, text or email for a quote.

For more information, call 256-887-6008, visit http://www.heavenleecompanionaquamation.com/, email heavenleeaquamation@gmail.com or  visit HeavenLee Companion Aquamation’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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