I recently had my dog euthanized. It wasn't an easy decision, but I know that it was the right decision.

After she was gone, my veterinarian, Tal Guidry, gave me my options. He offered to dispose of Mannie's body for me, for me to take it home for burial, or to have her cremated and her ashes returned to me.

I chose cremation.

Guidry Animal Hospital uses the services of Louisiana Pet Crematory of Broussard for its cremation needs.

When Mannie's remains were returned to me, I was very impressed with the "presentation" (for lack of a better word, I guess).

Staff Photo
Staff Photo

Mannie's ashes were concealed in a very ornate wooden box. The top of the box has a beautiful design, and the front held a brass plaque with her name engraved on it.

Included with the box were two documents. The first was a "Certificate of Cremation".

This certificate included the date of her cremation, along with a note of condolences from the crematory staff. On the bottom of the certificate, a "Pet Cremation ID#" was listed.

Staff Photo
Staff Photo

Not knowing why a Pet Cremation ID# was necessary, I took to the internet for an answer. When I saw the answer, it made perfect sense.

When Louisiana Pet Crematory receives the remains of a pet, it promptly issues that pet a unique identification number. A metal disc with that number imprinted upon it stays with those remains throughout the process. This ensures that there are no mix-ups at the facility.

After the process is completed, the crematory polishes up the metal tag and attaches it to the bag of ashes and then placed inside the nice box.

I know that some people may consider this to be "morbid" talk, but I think that it's important that people are aware of what happens to their pet after euthanization. I think that this information my be comforting for those who worry about the cremation process; it shows that the crematory uses care and treats your pet's remains with compassion.

The second document that was included with Mannie's remains was a card with an imprint of Mannie's paw and of Mannie's nose. The back side of each of those imprints has a copy of "The Rainbow Bridge".

The author of "The Rainbow Bridge" is unknown, but it's a tale of what that author believes happens to our pets after they pass away.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

Staff Photo
Staff Photo

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.

- Author unknown

A poem by an unknown author that has lifted the spirits of countless mourning pet owners.

Okay, wipe the tears and keep reading.

Now that I have Mannie's ashes back, what should I do with them? I found some ideas to contemplate.

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