For family pets, HeavenLee Companion Aquamation is an alternative to flame cremation and burial.
Personalized/engraved cedar urns in which ashes are returned (Photo courtesy of Amberly Lee)
CULLMAN, Alabama (AP) – In March of 2022, Amberly and Shane Lee founded HeavenLee Companion Aquamation to provide people with a better option when their family pet dies. Aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, is a water-based cremation method. Because it does not require fossil fuels and releases no harmful emissions into the environment, it is a more environmentally friendly alternative than fire cremation.
Warm water, a moderate circulating current, and an all-natural alkaline chemical solution are used to gently break down organic material, leaving bone ashes similar to those left by fire cremation. This natural ingredient can be found in goods such as hand soaps and cosmetics. This procedure just accelerates the body's natural breakdown by 20 hours. The inorganic elements of the bone remain at the end of the process. It's calcium phosphate in its purest form. The mineral leftovers are dried and ground into a powder before being returned to the pet owner.
With my history as a nurse, most recently as a hospice nurse, and my husband Shane's love for animals and awareness of the necessity of end-of-life care, we realized this option would be a terrific service to give, Amberly explained. We recognize that a family's pet can soon become more than just a pet. They are accepted into the family.
We realize how essential all animals are to families, from the tiniest pocket pets to dogs, cats, and even larger creatures. There have not been many options for end-of-life care when the time comes, whether due to old age, accidents, cancer, or other grave illnesses. The sole options were either burial at home or in a pet cemetery, veterinary hospital disposal, or fire cremation. What if you rent a house or live in an apartment, or if you live in a city with no land on which to bury your loved one? If you can't bear the notion of your pet being buried in a mass grave or burned, there is now an alternative.
We can restore to the family the same bone ashes that are produced by traditional cremation, with the exception that we can return on average 20% more bone due to not losing any during the burn process. It's never an easy subject to broach, and we're here to make the procedure as peaceful and considerate as possible to commemorate the pet's life.
The remains returned to the family are exclusively those of their cherished pet, with no cross contamination. Many veterinary hospitals in Cullman County and the surrounding regions have collaborated with HeavenLee Companion Aquamation to provide this service to pet owners, and more are being added every week. If a pet owner's clinic is one of their partners, the animal can be delivered to that clinic and picked up there.
They can still call and request a pickup from a veterinarian hospital that is not affiliated with HeavenLee. Amberly and Shane also provide a 24-hour drop-off place for dogs. If the pet dies away at home, this drop-off location could be used. At any point, all information might be filled out and left with the pet. It may be possible to arrange for pick-up and/or drop-off at home during the day. Please contact to confirm the location and fees that will be charged dependent on the size of the pet and the location.
We provide both private and communal cremation services, Amberly said of the many packages available. The private package includes your pet's ashes, a paw print, a lock of fur, an ink nose and paw imprint, a certificate of aquamation, and an aquamation tag that accompanies your pet throughout the procedure to ensure all remains are entirely those of your pet. They go through the same process, but the owner does not want the ashes returned. The ashes from communal cremations are scattered in a pasture overlooking a pond on the property. If the owner wishes, a paw print, a lock of fur, and ink impressions can be obtained.
Companion Aquamation by HeavenLee can cremate animals weighing up to 500 pounds. Weight, location, and pick-up time all influence pricing. For a quote, clients can call, text, or email.