MOST PERSONALIZED PET SERVICE OR MEMORIAL WINNERS
Clock Timeless Pets: “A Hero’s Final Farewell” • Muskegon, Michigan
Clock Timeless Pets donated their time and service to honor Cena, a 10-year-old, three tour Marine black lab that developed a fatal form of bone cancer. During Cena’s final ride in a jeep to the USS LST 393, one of only two landing ships in original configuration since their construction for the U.S. during World War II, hundreds of community members, veterans and other service dogs were there to honor Cena. Weeks later, Cena was buried at the Michigan War Dog Memorial in South Lyons, Michigan. Three set of paw and digital prints, and fur clippings were taken and given to Cena’s handlers, with one set on display on the LST 393.
Timberland Urns: “chad’s Labrador Retriever Photo Urn • Eagan, Minnesota
Memorial Pet Services, Inc.: K-9 Officer Hardy’s Memorial • Middleton, Wisconsin
When Hardy, the first K-9 officer of the Janesville Police Department suddenly passed away, Memorial Pet Services, Inc. created an unforgettable service for Hardy. A motorcade from the Janesville Police Department was joined by fellow officers, firefighters, emergency crews and the fellow community members as they made their way to Memorial Pet Services, Inc. There, a private viewing room was available to remember Hardy. The American flag that draped over Hardy’s casket was given to Hardy’s partner, Officer Mahaffey. A quilt was presented by Memorial Pet Services, Inc. to Officer Mahaffey of his K-9 partner’s picture and name. In addition, clay paw prints were made and given to the department. Each of the Mahaffey children received a clay paw print as well to have as keepsakes.
Paws To Angels Pet Loss Center & Services: Remembering Gracie • Omaha, Nebraska
Paws To Angels held a memorial for the family of Gracie, a small Papillon who was attacked by coyotes. The pet loss center was able to put Gracie in a casket for viewing before being cremated. The staff helped the family pick out an urn and an inscription to put on the urn that best represented Gracie’s life and personality. Paws To Angels staff member Cherie created a shadow box as a gift for the family. The box held Gracie’s collar, paw and nose print, and a lock of fur from her tail. The family, along with their other dog, Chi Chi, were able to say their goodbyes to Gracie.
Beyond the Rainbow Pet Hospice & Memorial Center: Honoring the Life and Service of Pepper • Fort Worth, Texas
When K-9 Officer Pepper of the Wise County Sheriff’s Department was shot and killed in the line of duty, Kate Branson of Beyond the Rainbow contacted the Sheriff’s Office to offer a line-of-duty funeral for the dog. Kate and Terry Branson worked closely with the department to provide a service that was just like services provided for human officers killed in the line of duty. An honor guard transported the remains of Pepper in a custom urn to the church service. More then 50 K-9 units joined the 800 fellow officers and friends from all over the United States to pay their respects to Pepper.
Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Center: Celebration of Remembrance for Mia, Buddy, Oscar, Teemo, Salty and Molly • North Vancouver, BC
Kevin Woronchak, owner of Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Centers, brought into focus the important role pets play in our families and the importance of keeping them safe. “A Day to Heel” became an official day of remembrance after holding a celebration of remembrance for six pets that perished of heat stroke in May of 2014. This memorial service included raising of individual tribute blankets, a balloon release by families in memory of their companions and the dedication of a bench, bearing the names of the dogs. The event then created an opportunity to bring awareness of heat stroke prevention to the community.
Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Center: The Whistler Sled Dogs North • Vancouver, BC
The community of Vancouver was outraged when 100 sled dogs were brutally killed and dumped in a mass grave in Whistler. The Vancouver SPCA and Until We Meet Again teamed up to give these dogs the care and final resting place they so deserved. Until We Meet again arranged for one private cremation. Once cremated each dog was placed in black velvet bags embroidered with “Until We Meet Again…At the Rainbow Bridge” and buried together. Until We Meet Again also donated the headstone to mark their final resting place, which was inscribed with “We Will Never Forget…Run Free.”
First Place and Grand Prize Winner
Loyal and True Pet Cremation Services by Loose Funeral Homes • Anderson, IN
In a matter of three short weeks, Madison County, Indiana, lost two K-9 officers in the line of duty. First, officer Kilo was shot by a psychopath who also shot and killed one innocent bystander and wounded officer Kilo’s handler. Despite being shot himself, officer Kilo was still guarding his injured handler, so fiercely in fact that his handler had to order his fellow officers to put Kilo down so the emergency team could tend to the handler’s wounds. Then, within three weeks, K-9 officer Magnum was fatally shot while trying to apprehend a bank robber who fled into nearby woods.
The two families of the K-9 officers, the entire police department and the whole community were grieving and needed to pay tribute to their two fallen K-9 heroes. Loyal and True Pet Cremation Services had the honor of serving both families with cremation needs, but also saw a greater need to help the families, local police departments and the community at large. With the help of the police department, Loyal and True Pet Cremation Services arranged a beautiful service at a large local church.
The service started at the church where over 500 people attended and over 75 fellow K-9 officers and handlers took place in the service. Then there was a procession from the church to the downtown police headquarters where two symbolic caskets were placed on top of an old, refurbished fire truck, which then guided the procession through the local college where students lined the boulevard in honor of the fallen heroes and finally turned onto Main Street where the street was lined with other K-9 officers and their handlers. Once in front of police headquarters, the committal service began by the lowering of the two symbolic caskets, folding the flags that had draped the caskets, the playing of Taps, the reciting of the Last Roll Call and finally a helicopter flyover.
The Gardens at Willowcrest Park is the only cemetery in Indiana that can legally bury humans and pets together, and there will now be a special section that will feature a K-9 memorial. The memorial will feature a fallen hero poem, the names of K-9 officers fallen in the line of duty or who have died in retirement and will be topped with a solid bronze German Shepherd.
The service was highly covered by all the local media and several national news teams. The services will be featured on the National Geographic series “Alphadog” airing in February. Additionally, the service was professionally taped and copies have been given to other police departments to help establish a protocol for future K-9 memorials. www.loosecares.com
Beyond the Rainbow Pet Hospice and Memorial Center • Fort Worth, Texas
Beyond the Rainbow has fostered a relationship with a 9-year-old girl named Olivia. She lost her father when she was three–too young to fully grasp the concept of death. As she is growing older, Olivia has come to appreciate the grief process. Her favorite pets are gerbils and, which do not have a long life expectancy. Olivia has been saddened by the loss of her furry friends, but she has learned to memorialize her pets in a series of wooden cremain urns and a scrapbook with photos of each of them. In the letter accompanying this entry, Olivia’s mother praised Beyond the Rainbow for helping her daughter in a therapeutic way through the grief process: “If we had not found Beyond the Rainbow, I don’t think Olivia would have been able to allow more babies into her heart.” www.texaspethospice.com
Two Hearts Pet Loss Center • Greenwood, Indiana
Cherokee was a beloved St. Bernard and played the roles of daughter and big sister in her family. When she passed away, Coleen Ellis with Two Hearts helped the family express their gratitude for the time they had Cherokee in their lives, holding a home-based memorial service that allowed the family to share just how much Cherokee enriched their lives. Reception items included all the favorite “human food” Cherokee liked to eat. Two Hearts also helped the family’s son set up a drive in honor of Cherokee for items that were needed at the local Humane Society animal shelter. Two trucks were needed to deliver all the donated items to the shelter. www.twoheartspetlosscenter.com
My Bob Rocks • Roseburg, Oregon
My Bob Rocks fuses ashes into smooth, jewel-colored glass discs designed to be shared among family and friends. While the company primarily works with human remains, this past year they were asked by pet owners to expand their market. When a family lost their beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback named Tess, the Oregon-based business was able to make “Tessrocks” with the ash in a paw print pattern, cradled in red-brown glass to match her beautiful coat. Pet memorials now account for 20 percent of the company’s business. www.mybobrocks.com