The Pet Loss Center — a pet loss and memorial services company — recently opened up a location in the Memorial area, at 10645 Richmond Ave., Ste. 190.

Co-founded by Coleen Ellis, a nationally recognized pet loss expert, the company also has locations in Austin, Dallas, Florida, Virginia and Washington.

According to Ellis, the experience of the death of her dog Mico in 2004 lead her to be involved with pets death care services.

“I just felt like she deserved the same type of care and dignity and respect as if she were a human,” Ellis said. “There has been a rise in pet ownership and we see what happens with a human and animal bond. These pets become family members.”

The Pet Loss Center partners up with veterinary clinics to provide pet parents with final arrangement services. The company offers resources such as grief support, viewing rooms, memorialization products and cremation services.

Ellis notes that people live in a death avoidance society, so it is important for the Pet Loss Center to make sure that the pet parents are helped to see different ways to handle the grief journey.

“When they come in they are given love and validation for their feelings,” Ellis said.

The viewing rooms can be used for whatever the pet parent wishes, whether it be the place where the euthanasia is done (by a partnering veterinarian) or if the parents wish to spend a quiet few minutes with the pet at the end of its life.

There is also an Honoring the Journey Wall, which is a blackboard where visitors are encouraged to write their pets name and a message, or draw a picture.

“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a name in print. To think about a loved one and record their name, it is a reminder that it was real,” Ellis said.

There is also a large selection of memorialization pieces to choose from, from urns to necklaces.

The Pet Loss Center is pet friendly of course, and Ellis encourages people to bring in their healthy pets as well as the ones that are nearing the end of their lives.

Ellis remembers a women who brought in her dog Sophie while she was in the process of cremating her other dog.

“She told me, ‘I bring in Sophie because I want her to be comfortable here when the day comes,’” Ellis said.

The Pet Loss Center also offers services free of charge for active service animals and service dogs who die or have been killed in the line of duty. A courtesy pricing package is available for pets of active duty police and firefighters, as well as members of the military.

If a owner wants to be ready ahead of time for their pet’s death, Ellis suggests requesting a Guide to Planning Ahead.

“That helps with all of the questions you want to ask, and so you can plan for the end. We will do whatever we need to do for their end of life walk so you can say their life was perfect,” Ellis said.

During the recent open house of The Pet Loss Center, the company donated $5 to every person who came that represented an animal shelter. Ellis hopes to have many more opportunities to partner up with the rescue community in the future.

The Pet Loss Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. They can be reached by calling 713-266-7297.