ILLUSTRATION BY ASHLEY HORSLEY
Nearly two decades into her career in the funeral business, Coleen Ellis lost her beloved dog Mico. Already shaken, she was devastated and disappointed by the negative experience with pet aftercare facilities. It left her wondering, Where were the places that would treat her like the ones that treat people dealing with human loss?
More than a decade later, Ellis looks to provide the service she believes pet owners deserve with The Pet Loss Center. Opened with co-founder Nick Padlo in October, the center is an all-encapsulating one-stop shop for both veterinarians and “pet parents,” providing aftercare services that include pet pickup, visitation rooms for funerals and digitally tracked cremation. But it’s the attention to the psychological impact of loss that really sets the place apart from other crematoriums.
Under Ellis’ 25 years of combined experience in human and pet aftercare, she offers vets pet loss and grief companioning classes, grief counseling certification and personal counseling. With these services, vets can take care of their clients and protect themselves from feeling caregiver burnout.
“I started this because I thought there are other people like me who want dignity and respect for their pet,” Ellis says. “They want their pet and themselves taken care of right.”