Losing an animal friend is never easy. Whether it’s a beloved cat, dog, bird or guinea pig, their death can be difficult for the family. The Amos Family Pet Companion Crematory, in Shawnee, offers services to ease the loss of a beloved pet.
Q: What are the services you offer?
“We are the only funeral home in the Kansas City area that also operates an onsite pet crematory,” said Gregg Amos, an owner of the family business. “We offer two different types of cremation — individual or private cremation.
And we also have a communal cremation that is with multiple pets,” Amos said. “With that, there are no remains that come back to the owner.”
Remains from a communal cremation are scattered on a farm in southeast Kansas.
“It makes it easy for the pet families to know they are taken care of,” Amos said.
For individual, private cremations, the pet owner receives the remains to dispose of as they see fit.
Amos said the companion crematory has other services, as well.
“We offer paw prints, whether it’s ink or clay, of the animal,” he said. “We have a big variety of urns or if someone wants to bring their own urn in that’s fine, too.” The crematory also offers memory and grief books for purchase online.
The companion crematory will pick up the deceased pet “but most pets are brought to us,” Amos said. “We have a 10-mile radius that we will pick up a pet without charge at any vet’s office. We also have seven pet partners who are all vets that we make two pickups a week.”
Q: Why did you get into the pet cremation business?
Since 1946, the Amos Family has been in the funeral business with its own mortuary.
Gregg Amos, who is the third generation in the business, said its first crematory was added in 1979.
More recently, however, manager Mark Smith suggested Amos considered providing cremation for pets. Amos added a new, larger human crematory and began using the old equipment for pets.
“We use that same unit today and now we have added our second pet-only crematory,” Amos said.
To handle the pet companion crematory business, Amos hired Smith’s wife, Anne Smith, to run the operation. On the weekends, Amos Funeral Home staff helps out.
“My directors didn’t think this was ever something they would want to take care of, but they found out real fast that it is a very good thing to do,” Amos said.
The pet companion crematory takes a variety of pets.
“We don’t do livestock, deer or road kill,” Amos said. “We have not had a snake but we have had a lot of different types of pets from parakeets to ducks, rabbits to hamsters and guinea pigs — whatever people have as pets.”
More than 10,000 pets have been cremated since Amos started the service in 2009.
“We have been in some families now for two, three or four pets,” Amos said.
Q: How do you determine pricing?
Amos said pricing is based on the size and weight of the animal and whether it is a private or communal cremation.
“We looked online to see what other crematories were doing and came up with what we thought was a fair price for families,” Amos said. “Up to 100 pounds is $145 for a private cremation. …Communal is less expensive – up to 100 pounds is $45.”
Q: How do you market your services?
“Lots a lot of word of mouth and advertising on the Internet,” Amos said. “We get a lot of referrals, whether it’s a pet store or vets, even those who are not partners.”
There is also a brochure that Anne Smith takes out to speaking engagements.
Q: Is there competition for pet cremation services?
“There are probably four to five companies that do this, (but) we are the only funeral home that does it,” Amos said. “It pays for itself. If we had to buy the crematory through pet crematory companies and add a lot of staff it would be close, but being able to fall back on what we already do... it is a complement to us.”
Amos said his companion crematory tries to beat the competition in one major way.
“We utilize the same standard of care for our pet clients as we do for our human clients,” he said.