Patty Borden sits at a table facing a tall stack of signed cards. They come from a variety of sources; from entire families to children, widows to military personnel. Though laced with sadness and tinged with remorse, they are also messages of hope â€“ and most of all simple gratitude. Borden treasures every single one.
The reason for Borden being in possession of so many emotional epistles is because sheâ€™s the owner of Borden Pet Crematory and Memorial Center, a crematorium that processes friends and relatives of the animal variety.Â Opened five years ago with her husband Tim, itâ€™s one of the few places in the state thatâ€™s dedicated to not only cremating beloved pet remains, but also memorializing them. Whatâ€™s expected for humans they strive hard to do for animals.
â€œPeople are having smaller families these days so pets are becoming more important and integral parts of the family,â€ explains Borden who spent 18 years working in the healthcare industry and has sought to bring the same compassion to her new calling. â€œWe meet with families. We laugh with them, we cry with them.â€
With a viewing room, a chapel, a large array of urns to choose from, Borden and her team treat pet remains with the same reverence as any crematorium for humans and itâ€™s this humanity in her daily work that drives Borden further.
â€œOur goal is to make remembering pets simple and dignified,â€ says Borden. â€œWhen we hire people we find colleagues who can display empathy and sympathy.â€ For Borden itâ€™s often the smallest of touches that demonstrate this and make the biggest impact. Be it taking a call at five oâ€™clock in the morning from an elderly customer whose only friend has just died, or holding and comforting a widower whose only memento of his late wife has passed on, Borden and her team know the role that they have to play.
â€œWe are part of the grieving process and we have to treat people with dignity. They are so emotional and distraught and donâ€™t want to let go,â€ says Borden.
To help in the process of moving on, Borden provides owners for each expired friend an array of mementos of memorialization options to purchase. From clay paw print molds, to photo blankets, garden stones to jewelry. Anything that keeps the memory alive. As for owners who donâ€™t wish to hold onto the remains, a dignified place of ash scattering is assured over a flower bed on a farm in Indiana – the same one Borden grew up on.
But one thing Borden aims to do is take her business a step further and engage in the community, something she claims is rarely done by businesses in her profession. Borden is keen to stress that she offers free cremation for any service animal, be it an army pooch, police hound or guide dog. They have also helped develop the â€œAngels for Animalsâ€ scheme aimed at collecting toys for animals in shelters and hospitals.
So whether itâ€™s an owl, llama, hedgehog, iguana, pony, rabbit, ferret, skunk, parrot, rat, snake, hamster, lizard, sheep, dog or cat that need a fitting farewell â€“ and all have been cremated â€“ owners can expect to be treated with dignity courtesy of Borden and her compassionate colleagues.