The growth in pet spending over the past ten years has been remarkable. Therefore, it was fitting the International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Association stepped up as an industry leader and established a section focused solely on pet death care services, ethics, and standards. Seven years ago, the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance was born as a committee under the ICCFA umbrella. Leading this association are Bill Remkus with Hinsdale Pet Memorial Services, and Coleen Ellis with The Pet Loss Center.
The early initiatives of the PLPA are still at the forefront of the work being done. Pet death care services, unlike human death care services, are highly unregulated. Thorough education and standards of care driven by the association are modelling the services provided for human loved ones, and the same level of care that pet parents give to their beloved pets.
The first important initiative was to give definition to the various types of pet cremations. This is an area where many were taking liberties to free-lance defining these practices, therefore, confusing the consumer. Released quickly were these definitions:
Private cremation: A cremation procedure during which only one animal’s body is present in the cremation unit during the cremation process.
Partitioned cremation: A cremation procedure during which more than one pet’s body is present in the cremation chamber and the cremated remains of specific pets are to be returned. Due to a number of factors and by virtue of multiple pets being cremated within the same unit at the same time, active commingling of cremated remains will occur.
Communal cremation: A cremation procedure where multiple animals are cremated together without any form of separation. These commingled cremated remains are not returned to owners.
The PLPA’s mission statement commits to being an educational resource to its members. The membership, including pet loss suppliers and pet death care facility operators, will be dedicated to the respectful and dignified treatment of those pets entrusted to us through the creation of programs to profitably meet the changing needs of the pet death care industry, process partners in the areas of cemeteries, crematories and pet loss facilities, as well as the creation of standards to willfully meet our customer’s expectations.
The PLPA continues to create the next layer of standardized care and ethical treatment of pets, and cremation processes, through an accreditation program and a credentialing program. In the Accreditation program, members will be able to, with full transparency, let families and veterinary partners see they have received the PLPA stamp of approval for their business practices. Achieving the designation of a Certified Pet Loss Professional will be done by completing an application and attending the PLPA College, a two-day educational course-work program designed especially for pet loss services. Continuing education hours will also be required to maintain a CPLP designation. Webinars and printed resources are also available.
Pet parents of today demand more in life care for their pets, naturally they’ll demand more in the care of their pets at death. With an industry that has very little formal regulation, self-regulating through a group of dedicated and committed pet loss professionals must continue via the PLPA members. FBA