NORWALK, Conn. – Riverside Cemetery in Norwalk opened a water-based pet crematory earlier this year, and it is the first of its kind in New England.
“It’s very gentle, non-toxic and earth friendly,’’ General Manager Shelly Timber said. “It’s much safer for the environment and people get back about 20 percent more of their pet’s ashes than they would with a flame procedure.”
The closest businesses that offer water-based cremation are in Florida and Ohio, Timber said. The practice has been used for nearly two decades, but was limited to medical facilities for humans, and labs for animal researchers where safe disease management was critical. The practice has now been made available in the private sector for family pets.
“We had been thinking about it for a few years,’’ Timber said. “We were looking for the right venue and the right procedure.”
Packages are based on weight. There are four weight categories, and a wide range of package options. Most packages for medium-sized pets (7 to 25 pounds) and large pets (25 to 80 pounds) range between $200 and $300.
Pet owners get a cremation certificate, an ID tag, and clay paw-print, and several other value added items with every package. Some other options include an earth-friendly pouch, natural wood veneer box, or wood urn with name plate or picture frame. Pet obituaries are also listed on the Riverside website.
Riverside Cemetery Association was founded in 1886. Riverside also offers pet burials, along with people burials. The new cremation process for pets has been well-received by the community, Timber said.
“A lot of people just don’t know what to do,’’ she said. “Until now, there’s only been one version of cremation. This gives people an alternative. It’s something that’s really appealing to a lot of people.”
For more information, visit the Riverside Cemetery website or call 203-847-7422.