Photo by Diane Cox
Tim Kallal, left, and Craig Schaaf stand next to the sign announcing Homeward Bound at Roselawn Cemetery in Bethalto.
So many pet owners and animal lovers look at their furry companions as a member of the family, or even as a child, but what happens to the loving sidekicks when their life span comes to an end?
Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home has come up with a solution that gives both closure and a place of rest for beloved pets by offering Homeward Bound, a pet cemetery and crematory.
“Society has become so mobile and people don’t always stay in one place anymore,” Craig Schaaf said. “If individuals bury their pet in the back yard and then move, then that leaves them behind, whereas our pet cemetery and crematory would give another alternative to that option.”
Roselawn Cemetery in Bethalto and Valhalla Cemetery in Godfrey have sections set aside for the pet cemetery, which will be available in late fall. Clients will have the option to plan ahead for their pet’s burial, just as they could their own.
“The pet cemetery will be kept completely separate from humans who are laid to rest at the two locations,” Tim Kallal said. “We want to make sure that everyone is given respect and dignity when laid in their final resting place.”
Several options are available for pet owners who choose to use the service. If cremation is chosen, the pet owner can choose to take their pet home in a special urn or have the ashes kept in a columbarium, similar to an outdoor mausoleum. “We use a process known as alkaline hydrolysis in our cremation,” Kallal said. “It is a lot more eco-friendly and better for the environment.”
Alkaline hydrolysis is commonly referred to as “water cremation” because a large amount of water is combined with chemicals that mimic a faster, more natural decomposition process.
“We have several acres that are not currently developed and we are considering offering that location to individuals who want to be buried with their pets,” Schaaf said. “We want to provide many options; we will be constantly evolving with this process and will make decisions as we see what kind of response we have and what the wishes are of our clients ... again, those sections would be separate from the rest of the cemetery.”
Elias, Kallal and Schaaf will follow the same guidelines when providing burial options for pets as they do with the human counterparts. “We are here to provide a service,” Schaaf said. “We have the means, the space available and we want to give the best to our community ... which means we can give a unique option to our clients.”
For information, contact Tim Kallal or Craig Schaaf at (618) 377-5627.