The remains of dead pets are being dug up and are being cremated as owners see it as a more dignified way to send off their furry friends.
According to Chris Ingledew, owner of Faithful Friends Pet Cremation, he has exhumed the remains of dead dogs at least three times in the recent past. He said that the owners made the request after finding out that the animals’ remains could be cremated.
“So they buried the dog, and then they found out about me after, and asked me if I would dig up the dog and take it and cremate it and give them back the ash,” Ingledew said.
While acknowledging that many may say otherwise, Ingledew said that the love for their pets is the major factor influencing the owners’ decision to cremate them when they die.
“Like the dog or the cat or the parrot that has lived in your house for 15, 20 years, they cannot imagine the body outside in the rain in the dark like that, buried in the ground, cause maggots gonna eat it up and worms gonna eat it up. That’s why people do this. They never know at first but now they know and I come and give you a way to still have them close to you,” Ingledew said.
He said that he performs around 10 pet cremations weekly, and receives approximately 25 calls from people wanting to book his services.
“People love their animals in Jamaica. It’s not a uptown thing. Because I mean, my prices are not high, they’re not exorbitant, they’re not for the rich only. They’re so priced that everyone can afford a different package, within reason,” said Ingledew, adding that he has now performed over 2,500 cremations in the six years since he has been operational.
The cost of cremating a pet range from $15,000 to $48,000.
“There’s three reasons why I started this business and why I do it. The first reason is for the animals, so they get a humane and proper, dignified, deserved end and are not thrown into the gully or the dump. Second is for the owners of the animals so they can have closure, it can help them with the grieving process. And the third is that I do it for a living and honestly those are the three reason why I do it and in order of importance.”
Ingledew said that pet cremation is much like human cremation, where a body is burned in a 1,800-degree incinerator until all flesh and tissue have dissipated. The bones that remain are emulsified, leaving only the white ashy dust of the animal.
“You cannot reproduce that in a drum pan with tyre and wood. All that’s gonna do is cook the animal. It’s just gonna create a black mass of nastiness,” he said.
Ingledew said that he entered the pet cremation business because he was disgusted by the service that was being offered. He said that persons were delivering the remains of pets to their owners in black scandal bag, while dressed in socks, slippers, a marina and shorts, which charging exorbitant prices from persons whose animals have crossed over the ‘rainbow bridge’.
“To give them back their beloved animal after so much money, and such a sensitive process, in a scandal bag, I was just shocked. My jaw just hit the ground and on the spot I just said to myself, ‘Hell no, Jamaica needs better than this. This is disgusting and I’ve gotta do this’. And from that day, I started checking it out and a year later I started the business.”