In Memory of a Much-Loved Pet – Article from Traverse City Record-Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY — The inspiration for Kerri Collier’s new business came on a Florida trip while visiting her grandfather.

“He had lost his beloved Shih Tzu, Susie, who died and it was really hard on him,” said Collier. “He created a memorial shrine to his Susie that contained her collar, some of her toys and other items. I thought that other pet owners might want to do the same.”

So Traverse City native Collier and her husband, Dustin, opened Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory to serve pet owners who lose a much-loved member of their family. From its building located south of Chum’s Corner, the company serves grieving pet owners from Ludington to Cheboygan.

“Both of us are really entrepreneurial-minded and were never interested in working for other people,” said Collier, who maintains a real estate license and continues to serve clients in that field. “The idea to serve and comfort these grieving pet owners struck us as a great idea.”

Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory is designed for mostly dogs, cats and birds, but they can provide services for any animals that weigh up to 500 pounds. The company’s fully stocked retail area offers an impressive line of creative memorial urns for dogs and cats, including photo urns, vase urns and rock urns, ranging in prices from $10 to $300.

There’s also an assortment of burial markers and memorial plates. Pet owners can even arrange to memorialize their pet in an oil painting.

The Colliers provide pet owners with a variety of cremation services, including private, semi-private and communal cremation.

An assortment of pet funeral services are offered, some with a licensed officiator and some without. Your pet is placed in a casket and the service is similar to a viewing or wake. If it’s preferred, family and friends can officiate their own service by sharing a few words or memories about their beloved companion. For either service, the Great Lakes Pet Memorial and Crematory building is closed to other customers and the service is held in private.

Another option is to have your pet’s casket delivered to a location of your choice and the funeral service can be provided there with an officiator and family present at the burial site.

The Colliers even provide access to counselors to help grieving families overcome the loss of a pet.

Even though they’ve only been in business for a short time, the response has been very positive, Collier said.

“People really appreciate what we’re doing for them, that we keep in contact,” she said. “Some people don’t understand that losing a pet is really losing a loved family member.”


This blog post was reprinted from the Traverse City Record-Eagle from an article from March 20, 2008. Written by Al Parker.