LOS ANGELES (AP) — More pets are buried in U.S. backyards than any other place, but that is becoming illegal in more and more places. For those who want something unique, though, the sky's the limit, literally.
From companies that will send your pet's remains to the heavens to those who will help scatter them at sea — or turn them into a man-made gemstone for your favorite broach — there's a vast array of options. Here are some of them:
This method is similar to cremation, but it's done with water-based technology that leaves pure ash reminiscent of powdery beach sand, said Jerry Shevick, CEO of Peaceful Pets Aquamation Inc. in Newbury Park. The process is called alkaline hydrolysis. It is legal for humans in seven states and legal for pets in every state. But in New York, it can be performed only by a veterinarian. The nearly green, 20-minute process ranges from $75 to $350 depending on size.
LIFE GEM DIAMONDS
LifeGem is a 13-year-old company in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, that turns strands of hair or remains of a pet (or person) into a colorless, blue, red, yellow or green synthetic diamond that costs from $1,999 to $24,999.
The Eternal Ascent Society in Newport Richey, Florida, will send your pet's remains to the heavens, said Joanie West, who has owned the company for 16 years. She puts remains (pet or person) in a 5-foot round balloon, adds helium and releases it at a tree- and wire-free location the family chooses. The balloons come in red, yellow, green and blue. Families usually choose a service with music, gifts and remembrances. They can let the balloons go. Around 5 miles up at 40 degrees, the balloon fractures and the ashes are caught in high winds and scattered. Balloons start at $399. There are added costs for larger balloons, a videotape or special container.
BURIAL AT SEA
Ashes on the Sea, which serves California and Hawaii, will scatter a pet's ashes at sea for $250 to $350, said Capt. Ken Shortridge. Families can watch from boat or shore, and there are several ceremonies to choose from. Ashes can be placed in a wicker basket lined with tea leaves, covered with rose petals and set on the water. When flipped, the ashes form the illusion of an underwater wreath, and you can watch them drift toward the bottom of the sea.