Horse and Pet Cremation: An Essential Business

What if you have to face the death of your horse or pet in the midst of the “shelter-in-place mandate? Are there people available to help you? Yes, Eden Memorial Pet Care is an essential business and therefore is to remain open while we hunker down to “flatten the curve” of the spread of Covid-19.

Eden is Open to Help You Say Goodbye to Your Beloved Pets

“My sister-in-law lives in Santa Rosa and her kitty was just diagnosed with a tumor in her intestine…she has been given possibly weeks or months to live.” Christine Johnson, President of Eden Memorial Pet Care relates her personal story of helping a family member who is currently in need of someone to help her through facing the passing of her beloved kitty. 

“Renee is so distraught and called me the other night to discuss her options. We went through plans of her kitty passing away at home or having to be euthanized at vet. We discussed what kind of cremation she wants down to what kind of urn/engraving she would like. It was so hard for her but she knew she needed a plan especially during Covid-19.  We even talked through what restrictions would be on her traveling and/or getting her kitty to the proper crematory facility.  Of course, she wants to drive four hours south to Eden Memorial but that might not be feasible right now…so I’m working with her to connect her with my friend up north here. My friend has an amazing facility in Napa. Together we will work on it and together we will get through it…one day at a time.”


Are you prepared to leave your animals with a pet sitter? Help communicate all the vital care instructions with a Horse and Pet Care Communication Checklist.


Officially an Essential Business

Christine received official word from the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories, with whom they are accredited with, that per the federal agency of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency pet crematories are an essential business. The official statement reads:

Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed and bedding, etc. transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals… Therefore, these employees are essential workers and in the performance of his or her professional duties are exempt from local or state travel bans or restrictions at this time.”

Essential Business Practices for an Essential Business

Placing an animal in the cremation chamber

Knowing there is a place open for help with saying goodbye to a horse or pet is good news for all pet owners. However, Eden has put into place essential business practices for this time of being an essential business. Fresh from the Grand Opening of the new Eden Memorial Pet Care, the shelter-in-place mandate hit. Thankfully, the expansion has provided room for the essential onsite staff of four to work while maintaining proper social distancing protocol.

The Eden Drivers Continue to Provide Pick-up and Drop-off Services

The drivers continue to provide personalized pick-up and drop-off service to the veterinary clinics in SLO, Kern and Fresno counties. Christine tells us how they continue to serve clients in this way, “My rockstar drivers are on the road – taking every precaution (masks, gloves, etc.). They are picking up pets from hospitals who need cremation services and also returning back any private cremation/urns from the week prior.”

Essential Changes to the On-Site Drop Off Protocol

The daily routine of cremations and taking care of people’s beloveds are completely the same…business as usual.  The biggest change Eden Memorial Pet Care has implemented is regarding on-site drop offs. Personal on-site deliveries of deceased pets by their owners has always been “appointment only”. So that hasn’t changed, but the personalized service has been adapted.

Christine describes the changes, “We have had a few clients dropping of their pets at our facility in the past few weeks. As county-wide and state-wide protocols tightened up…so did we.” Christine continues as she interjects her own personal experience into her business, “I think I was a week ahead of my staff being that I live in Northern California. Contra Costa County was one of the first counties to go into “Shelter-in-Place”.  I think my staff thought I was a little crazy at first being so strict and changing protocols…but remember I was like “future them” telling them what to prepare for…”

New Drop Off Procedure

“We discuss our new drop off procedure with clients and everyone is very understanding,” relates Christine. The new procedure is as follow, “Clients now come onto property and have to wait in car until staff is ready to receive.  In one case, the client arrived and saw that our Facility Manager had put a cart on our front entry – the cart had a soft blanket waiting and paperwork ready for client.  Our client placed their beloved pet on the cart. Once the client was back safely in the vehicle, our staff took the pet into our care and completed the cremation preparation process.   It’s not as personable as we are used to or what we prefer…but everyone understands and knows we are protecting everyone—theirs and ours— doing our part to ‘flatten the curve’.”  These situational processes can be found on the Eden Memorial Pet Care website.

New Reception and View Room Use on Hold

Eden Memorial Pet Care Reception Room

Two of the features of the new expansion is a beautiful reception room and an intimate viewing room for private cremations. Unfortunately, the use of these two featured rooms will be on hold during the shelter-in-place mandate. However, waiting in the reception room which displays urn options and all of Eden’s certifications will be back in motion when the mandate lifts. The very private and peaceful viewing room will also be open for private cremations where a pet owner needs a special place to say goodbye to a loved pet or horse.

Inside the Eternal Room – A Private, Peaceful Viewing Room

How Has this Mandate Impacted Life of Those at Eden?

“As of right now—business as usual,” relates Christine. “I’m lucky we have a small team… four onsite and two offsite. Each week we start the week with – Ok…what’s in store this week?  On Fridays we have a pow wow and see how everyone is holding up.  I’m very concerned for both the health and mental health of my staff …yesterday, since we were ahead of schedule, most of the staff stayed home for a mental day off.”

Christine is very thankful for her employees. “My employees . . . I’m so blessed to have the best staff ever!!!  We all have a very important role within the company and we all have each other’s back.  I’m so proud of all of them!”

“My days are spent in Nor Cal in my home office – hunkered down with my kids.  Homeschooling and working at home—just like a majority of us are doing,” relates Christine. “My day hasn’t skipped a beat…in fact there are days I feel busier.  We are thankful for our supportive veterinary hospitals…we all have the attitude of we are in this together!  It’s all about our clients and their furbabies…we are here for them!”

How is Christine managing the business and her family while hunkering down at home? She explains, “Well, besides trying to keep my two teenagers on a “school schedule” and not on their phones/tvs constantly, they are doing well.  My kids are taking school seriously and are in a routine now.  My 16-year-old son said to me… ‘Mom, now I know how it is for you to work at home!’  I think he has a new appreciation for what I do!”

Life on the Other Side

Some things will stay the same once we get through this current mandate. Christine shares her vision for how life will get back to “normal” once this is all over, “We have always been a clean facility— taking precautions of gloves, masks and hand sanitizer has been our normal every day…so that wasn’t anything new to us.  We will always continue those practices.”

She sees a definite transition period, “It will be interesting when social distancing restrictions lift—how people will feel about being in closer quarters and shaking hands etc.  We will just have to see on a social aspect how that will change.  I think there will be a “nervousness” of people everywhere of stepping out too quickly.” 

What will remain the same is this: “The benefit of our business and facility is that we are a purposed one-on-one appointment only business at Eden Facility.  Our space now is open and personable. We don’t have big public gatherings etc. Saying goodbye is a very private moment between pet and owner…so this will always continue.”

Taking One Day at a Time – We’ll Get Through This

We all just need to keep going. As Christine reminds us, “Take one day at a time…it is challenging enough to go through a death of a pet, yet now on top of that, we are dealing with a Pandemic.  None of us have ever dealt with this situation, we are learning and we are all in this together. Be kind to one another and be kind to yourself.  If you have an elderly pet at home…start your pre-plan now! You are home “shelter in place”. While you are at it, do your research and ask your veterinarian about end-of-life options for your horse or pet.  Call Eden Memorial Pet Care and ask questions, we are here for you.” 

“Stay home everyone…as much as you can!  We will get through this!!” encourages Christine. “Thank you to everyone working the front-line doing jobs to keep essential businesses running.  We appreciate all of you and look forward to being on the other side of this.”


How will you communicate for your animals when you leave town? The Horse and Pet Care Communication Checklist enables you to gather all the vital information you need to communicate all the elements of all your animals’ care to your pet sitter.  What if you suddenly had to leave town? Would you be ready for someone to quickly step in and take care of your animals? What if something happened to your horse or pet while you were away? Would your pet sitter know your wishes? This checklist will help you prepare your pet sitter to care for your animals the way you do. Get your Horse and Pet Care Free Checklist here >.

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Former Pony Clubber, Eventer and Dressage rider who balanced training and showing with getting a college degree (from Cal Poly SLO), becoming a wife and raising a family.

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