Animal Cremation Business Booming in Anderson

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Helen Garcia, of College Station, loves her pets.

"This was one of my cats, this was pinky paws, these are ferrets," said Garcia pointing to a shelf of urns.

When Garcia's pets pass away, she sends them here, to the sprawling acres of Live Oak Pet Services, in Anderson.

"We cremate pets, pretty much everything from hamsters to horses," said Scott Mason, one of the company's founders.

Its how the company does it, and what they do with the remains, that makes Live Oak unique. Employees pride themselves on their personalized memorials.

"Say they have this dog but its got a black foot. They'll paint that black foot on there for 'em," said co-founder Kerri Smith, referring to an urn in the shape of a dog.

Live Oak can even help cultivate a pet's remains into gems, or provide customers with a mini urn on a necklace.

"It does so much for me because my pets are together," said Smith of her urn necklace. "I've got five rottweilers in here."

If jewelry isn't for you, your pet can be placed in a huggable urn.

Live Oak now performs between 20 and 25 private cremations a week. Its an example, employees say, that the pet industry is growing.

Smith thinks she knows why.

"People are busy in their life and instead of having the children they had-- mom and dad are working now, so the child is being replaced by pets," said Smith.

Pets the owners want to hold onto, even after they're gone.

"We love our pets and we don't want to see them die, but we provide the service to do something really nice for them when they do pass away," said Mason.

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