July 5, 2011 3:15 PM By Kaivan Mangouri, Globe Correspondent
New England Burials At Sea, which runs mourners out into the ocean to scatter the ashen remains of loved ones, is now extending its services to those who want a marine memorial for their beloved pets. Company founder Brad White said pet burials at sea resulted from his own interests as a dog lover.
“We are enlarging it. Pets are people too,” White said. “People want a dignified last wish and final chapter for their pets.”
White, who has several dogs, also founded Midnight Pass, a company that manufactures beds, strollers, and other pet-related products. His contact with other owners led to the pet burial at sea services.
“We get many requests to scatter the cremated remains of pets alongside the remains of the pet parent,” White said of many of his ocean burials. “We know how much we love our pets, and in today’s transient society, many owners don’t want to exhume pet remains when they move.”
White offers pet burials starting at $95. After the the ashes are scattered into the ocean, there is usually a poem reading, and then flowers or wreaths are placed in the water. Owners receive a sea burial certificate, which, White said, often helps to bring some closure if they cannot make the trip themselves.
Most of the pet burials are unattended, although he performed one that had 40 people in attendance.
Nearly 40 percent of deaths resulted in cremations in 2009, according to the Cremation Association of North America, double the amount in 1985 – a rise that some in the funeral business attribute to the green movement. The figure is expected to grow to nearly 60 percent in the next 15 years.
Although he does not want to think of it, when the time comes for his 12-year-old Schipperke dogs, White intends to bring them out to the ocean. “I would prefer to scatter their remains because they love being on the boat,” White said. “It’s in their blood and in my blood.”
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