Angel Askins with her pets, Yadi and Crosby.
July 2017: Growing up on a farm in Arkansas, Angel Askins, Owner of Angel’s Pet Funeral Home & Crematory, learned a lot about animals. Askins, however, did not own an animal as a pet until adulthood:
“A pet was viewed as another mouth to feed, and they had to earn their keep on the farm. We couldn’t play with my dad’s hunting dog because, then, it wouldn’t hunt.”
Though grateful for early life lessons on the farm, Askins holds a different view of the animals in her life now. Her two Bernese Mountain Dogs are family. And so it is with most people and their pets according to Askins. There is a palatable grief that comes with the death of a pet. Askins estimates that seventy percent of pet owners wish to acknowledge or memorialize the passing in some way. “… I genuinely care about them and their pet…and I recognize that their grief is real,” she explains.
Askins had worked in human funeral service continually from the time she was seventeen, beginning in her small hometown and continuing after she relocated to Tulsa in 1992. She attended the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service and, later, earned a Bachelors in Biology. She made the transition to animal funeral services, opening the doors to Angel’s Pet Funeral Home & Crematory, approximately a year and a half ago.
A variety of services and products is offered to help an owner memorialize his pet, and prearrangement is always an option. Cremation for pets, ranging in size from a hamster to a large dog, is available, and the ashes are returned to an owner within 48 hours. Urns, jewelry pieces, garden stones, blown-glass containers and markers are available for purchase at a variety of price points. Customized engraving is sometimes a meaningful addition and is offered onsite. Alternatively, if an owner lives in a location which legally allows for the burial of a pet, caskets may be purchased.
According to Askins, every pet deserves dignity upon its passing. For this reason, the facility offers a place for special goodbyes. There are two viewing rooms as well as a chapel if a memorial service is desired. “Every dog or cat [pet] has a story,” explains Askins, and Angel’s Pet Funeral Home & Crematory is helping pet owners tell it.
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