The term alkaline hydrolysis is far from being a household name, but Aquamation – as the process is branded and colloquially known – is a word that could soon hold relevance for pet owners and veterinarians in the Santa Monica area.
All pet owners face the inevitable day when arrangements must be made for saying goodbye. Peaceful Pets Aquamation is now offering an alternative to burial or cremation.
After the loss of a family pet and recognizing that standard cremation harms the environment with toxic fumes and energy use, Peaceful Pets Aquamation was born.
“We’d never thought through what happened to our own pets when we had put them to sleep,” said Jerry Shevick, head of Peaceful Pets Aquamation. “Being curious, I did a little research into crematory practices and was pretty disheartened. But there wasn’t an alternative.”
Shevick expressed distaste about witnessing the mistreatment of pets’ final remains. He said that he saw animals being dealt with unceremoniously after their death, with one particular incident involving deceased animals being tossed into large plastic garbage bags and then onto the back of a truck.
As a result, Shevick embarked on his own endeavor to counter the common methods of animal burial and cremation. He was searching for an alternative that would transform an “archaic and unsophisticated” aftercare industry and help effectively sustain the flourishing pet industry.
Peaceful Pets is the first in the nation to offer a 100 percent green alternative to cremation. Aquamation incorporates alkaline hydrolysis to provide a water-based, eco-friendly option to pet owners that is very similar to natural decomposition.
Through water flow and alkalinity, Aquamation acts as a “more sped-up
version of what nature does,” Shevick explained.
Alkaline hydrolysis was patented in 1888, with studies continuing into the 1990s. The process is essentially what insects use to help decompose bodies. It’s also how humans draw nutrients from their small intestines.
After being introduced to Aquamation by a friend, Shevick said that he found the concept “absolutely brilliant.” He was also drawn to the eco-friendliness of the practice.
“We had trouble with tackling the [environmental] issue on a broader scale, so Aquamation was very interesting to me,” Shevick said. “It was interesting enough for me to investigate the current state of the aftercare industry.”
Shevick’s research found that Aquamation was not only a green practice that could transform an “archaic and unsophisticated” aftercare industry, but could help sustain the flourishing pet industry.
“The notion of a family pet has exploded in our country,” Shevick said, adding that Aquamation “checked all of the boxes of what was important to me.”
Since opening in 2013, Peacful Pets has helped more than one thousand families utilize the service and has not limited itself to cats and dogs; tigers, leopards, and bobcats have also been through the process.
Shevick said that client feedback has been very positive.
“One thing that has proved to be very meaningful to me…is how appreciative and thankful people are for how we take care of their pets,” he said. “We help with their grief and closure.”
Dr. May’s Veterinary House Calls, a mobile service in the Santa Monica area, was one of the first providers in Southern California to affiliate with Peaceful Pets.
“My clients who have used Peaceful Pets Aquamation have been very satisfied with the level of care and attention paid toward their beloved companions,” said Dr. Armaiti May.
She explained that the environmental toll of cremation and the contrasting gentleness and respect that characterizes Aquamation, was a major factor in her decision to patronize the service.
Shevick’s long-term vision is for the entire pet aftercare industry to shift to the Aquamation process. “Our company has a goal of revolutionizing the aftercare industry,” Shevick said.
“Our whole business is predicated on what our clients want for their family pet. Combine that with green properties of Aquamation, and you have a potent new and positive force in the pet community.”
For more information, call 805.410.3880 or visit peacefulpetsaquamation.com.