“I have always loved animals and with my past knowledge of caregiving/CNA work I have gained a lot of experience helping people through the painful times of grieving and loss,” says Erika Ricketts, Head Crematory Operator at Eden Memorial Pet Care.
Erika brings her experience with hospice along with her love of all kinds of animals as she helps clients through difficult times at Eden Memorial Pet Care. “I too have been through my own share of grieving the loss of loved ones and my fur babies.”
Erika’s Work at Eden Memorial Pet Care
“I bring people closure,” says Erika. Her hospice experience comes into play when clients bring their animals into Eden for cremation. “I sit with the owner and talk about their pet. I give them support and let them know their treasured pet will be well taken care of, just as if it was my own.”
The daily job tasks Erika performs so expertly include: handling most of the cremation process, checking tags, ensuring the animals cremains are correctly labeled and placed in the clients chosen urn for their beloved pet. In addition to overseeing the cremation process she is also checking for any other services that the client may have added: clay/ink paw print, hair clippings, and any other requested service needing to be done before the pet is cremated.
An Animal Lover From the Start
Animals have always been in her life and she counts herself fortunate to have parents who welcomed every animal she brought home. “I remember a time when I was around 10 years old; I was attending a church carnival in my neighborhood. They had a goldfish ball-toss game – one of my favorites,” Erika begins her story and continues.
“The day had come to an end and the carnival was over. As they were closing up the goldfish ball-toss game booth there were a lot of goldfish left over. I asked if I could have them. The nice lady said, ‘sure’ as she wanted them to go to a good home. The goldfish were packaged up and given to me. Still to this day, I will never forget the look on my parents’ face when I walked up to the car holding two huge bags with over 60 goldfish in each!”
If She Ran The Zoo
Fish are just part of the menagerie of animals Erika has loved. She has enjoyed bunnies, iguanas, turtles, reptiles, parakeets and other birds along with a myriad of dogs and cats. “If I could have my own zoo I’d have one of everything!” Erika exclaimed. “We recently cremated a pet turkey, so I got to thinking . . . I would enjoy having a turkey.”
Enjoying all these animals in her life enables her to connect with clients who are processing the recent loss of their beloved pet. “I know what they are going through because I have lost pets too,” explains Erika.
Horse Riding in Her Background
“Buckshot was an Arabian I got to barrel race,” explained Erika as she reminisced about her riding background. Buckshot was owned by a friend who lived next door to Erika’s grandparents’ house in the mountains. The two childhood pals would hang out and ride when Erika came to visit. “Buckshot was an awesome horse, and I’m so glad I got to share him!”
Having lived in Los Angeles most of her life, horses could not be a constant part of it. Now that she has settled in North County she is considering getting a horse. What would she do with a horse of her own? “My days of barrel racing are over,” Erika quickly stated regarding her carefree days as a youth riding Buckshot. “These days I simply want to go out and trail ride. I’d also like to try horse camping.” She recently went on ride in Pismo and thoroughly enjoyed her first time riding on the beach.
Erika Ricketts Loves Running the Crematory and Living on the Central Coast
Although Eden Memorial Pet Care is not the zoo, Erika loves running the crematory. “I love the people I work with. They are all caring and understanding people. I go home at the end of the day and I know I have helped someone.” In addition, the Central Coast is opening up adventures and experiences which are adding to her enjoyment of life while she is looking into becoming a horse owner. Life is good.