CREMATING PETS FOR A LIVING


Lyn and Ned Laskus think about death every day. Not in a morbid way though. 


They have a somewhat unusual occupation: cremating pets for a living.


The couple began Angels for Pets, a pet cremation service, because they thought it would be a good job to semi-retire with.


Right from the beginning they have been consumed by the animal afterlife and work non-stop, seven days a week.


Each day brings new challenges. The phone can ring at five in the morning because a pet has passed away in the night. There’s no time frame on life or death.


“We’ve done ferrets and rabbits and guinea pigs and rats and birds. We’ve had requests for snakes and things like that, but unfortunately there would be nothing left once we cremated them,” Lyn said.


Once the bodies come in, an image of their paw print is taken along with a little snippet of their fur for keepsakes.


“If there are different colours on the cat or the dog, or even a bird, hubby tries to get a little snippet of each colour,” she said.


One of the most challenging cremations they have ever done was an 18-year-old canary.


“Hubby reckons it was the scariest thing he’s ever had to cremate because he had to keep opening the back of the furnace to make sure that he still had something left, which was just a pinch," she said.


"That’s what the owner wanted because it was a gift from her father who had passed away, so that was very important to her.”


Mrs Laskus said although she enjoyed her job and met some wonderful people, it could also be depressing being around grief-stricken people all the time.


Her darkest hour was cremating a dog which died as part of an owner's suicide.


“We’ve had to pick up pets from a human morgue because they were part of a suicide. That was probably the saddest thing I’ve ever had to do,” she said.


“Doing a job like this does make you think about what you would like when the end of the day comes. I’ve decided that when I go I’m going to take all my urns with me, because I have a collection myself.


“Nobody knows if there’s an afterlife or what that afterlife is like.


“I’m going to head off to the wooden gates that say, ‘Pets Welcome’.”


Originally published on ABC Open and screened on ABC News 24.

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