When Joe Arcillas’ beloved dog Buddy died, he just wanted a little more time with his best friend to say good-bye. So, he loaded up the box containing his dachshund’s body in his car and drove out to the cremation service contracted by his veterinarian. When he arrived, the windows were blocked out and the business was locked up. He called the business and was told to drive around back.
“I was met by a man who was taking a smoke break and he made it known that I was bothering him,” says Arcillas. “I introduced myself and told him I just put down my little guy and his body was in the box. The man put the cigarette in his mouth, grabbed the box and proceeded to toss it to the ground and said he would “take care of it.” I was so upset and overwhelmed with emotion that I had some words with the man. I mean…did he really just toss the box containing my little guy on the ground?”
A new business is born
He ended up using the service for Buddy but regretted his decision. He decided that one way to make sure that other pet owners didn’t have to go through the same situation after losing a valued member of their family was to create a new business. He and his girlfriend Golpar Ghaedi started Chicagoland Pet Cremation.
“Both of our fathers are physicians and coming from the healthcare background, compassion is in our blood,” says Ghaedi. “We wanted that human touch that seemed to be lacking from our own experience. We will come and pick up your pet when you are ready and our facility is warm and has an open feel – like a living room.”
The couple researched the business and looked at a variety of options based on their own experience. They found a location in Bloomingdale and Achillas went out of state to a cremation facility for training and to learn about the business. He continues to work with a mentor as their business grows.
“We have been there with our pet and had a bad experience. It’s so important for us to be transparent with our customers so they understand what service we are offering,” says Arcillas. “If people want to stay in our waiting room or witness what we do, we are able to do that.”
Based on their own experiences, they offer the following tips:
- Do your research in advance. Find out what services are available and check the reviews. Then, visit the location to meet the staff, ask your questions and see if the business is warm and inviting or in a dark warehouse.
- Check on pricing. Any service provider should have set prices for cremation and any other services they offer – like picking up your pet after he or she dies. They may also offer urns and other options.
- Be strategic by pre-planning. When you make final decisions on your pet, you are dealing with the loss of a valued family member. If you are able to plan some things ahead, you are able to make better decisions financially and emotionally. Consider the following – do you bring your pet in, do you have them pickup your pet, how do you have the ashes delivered, etc.
- Go with your gut. When you do your homework up front, you are not clouded by the grief of losing your pet and your gut feeling is a good indicator.
Chicagoland Pet Cremation will work with pet owners on the service that works best for them. If a pet owner wants them to come pick up their pet shortly after he or she dies, that can be arranged. They will also pick up the next morning or owners may come by the facility. The company also offers a donation program – Halo for Paws – in which a portion of cremation fees will be donated to a shelter or rescue. Pet owners may also donate your late pet’s supplies (leashes, bowls, beds, etc.) as well.
Ghaedi and Arcillas have been in business now for about a year and their business is growing. Learn more about the organization online and follow them on Facebook.
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