by Lauren Means | photos courtesy Beloved Waters
Coming to terms with mortality is never easy and is even harder when we are planning for our beloved pets. It’s a topic most don’t like to discuss, but one we all have to decide once our pets cross the rainbow bridge. Will they be buried or cremated?
This is a very personal decision and one that has to fit each family. Some people choose home burial while others might choose to have them buried at a pet cemetery. If home burial is not permitted in your area or if you don’t plan to live in the same place long term, cremation is often the better choice. Generally speaking, cremation is economical and readily available. If you choose cremation, you will then have the ability to always keep your pet nearby.
There is a new cremation option now in Middle Tennessee. Beloved Waters Pet Cremation in Smyrna, TN is the FIRST to offer aquamation for pets in Tennessee. Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis, is a gentle, water-based method of accelerating the natural process which occurs over time when a pet is naturally buried.
This process was first patented in 1888 but the rise in popularity has only increased in recent years. Many universities have been using aquamation for final remains processing of both humans and animals for decades. Aquamation was used to dispose of the cattle impacted by the mad cow epidemic, as it was one of the best methods to neutralize the mad cow pathogen. It is now available for use with smaller, household pets.
Owners Shay Underwood and Mary Jo Yeager came from diverse backgrounds prior to founding Beloved Waters. Underwood worked in health and beauty care manufacturing as a quality manager and plant superintendent while Yeager worked in education as a math teacher and administrator.
They were inspired to start Beloved Waters after a friend in Seattle lost her dog named Texas. Underwood explains, “After his passing, Texas was cared for by Resting Waters Aquamation. My friend shared Texas’s memorial and aquamation story on social media. We were immediately intrigued, began researching, decided that we wanted a gentler option for our own pets, and thus Beloved Waters was born!”.
Yeager also explained a deep connection to her own pet drove her to push for this startup by saying, “One of the reasons I’m such an advocate for aquamation is that my own pet, Trixie, is very afraid of fire, so for that reason, flame cremation isn’t an option for us. We are both life long pet lovers and wanted to offer Middle Tennessee a gentle way on a sad day.”
With aquamation, a water solution of water, potassium, and sodium salts washes over your pet for 18 hours leaving behind the dissolved salts and bone “ash”. The bone ash can then be returned to the family just as it is done with traditional cremation. Beloved Waters has different packages that provided different keepsake options.
According to Beloved Waters, aquamation uses 90% less energy, has no harmful emissions, and 20% more remains are returned to you versus traditional cremation processes. With the focus on cutting our carbon footprint and decreasing emissions, this is certain to gain popularity over traditional cremation in years to come.
This isn’t a service done at your vet’s office, but you can opt for this process no matter what vet you use. Underwood explains, “Beloved Waters is working to grow our partnerships with veterinarians. If your vet is not aware of Beloved Waters services most vets are willing to hold the pets remains for Beloved Waters to pick up.” You would just need to tell your vet that you would like Beloved Waters to handle the aftercare. Then, you would need to reach out to Beloved Waters directly. This can be done by calling them or filling out the Aquamation Authorization form on their website.
They offer free vet pick up in Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, Wilson and Bedford counties and home pick up is available for a nominal fee. You could also bring your pet to Beloved Waters for no additional charge. “We have a comfort room where families can say one final goodbye before the aquamation process begins. Every individual aquamation receives an ink print with display easel, fur clipping, and certificate of aquamation. In addition to what you see on the website, Beloved Waters also has several urn choices in our showroom. We would also be happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for as a memorial item,” says Underwood.
No matter the option you choose, everyone wants their pet to be treated with dignity. With Beloved Waters aquamation, you have the peace of mind knowing Underwood and Yeager will take care of your baby like it’s their own. “We treat each pet as an individual, addressing them by name throughout the process because that pet was someone’s beloved family member. We provide a service that we would want our own pets to receive”.
MORE ABOUT BELOVED WATERS
For more information call 615-295-8934 or visit belovedwaterspet.com.