Mississippi funeral home expands to add pet crematory services

Published 4:29 am Saturday, April 30, 2022

Steve Holland loves dogs; in fact, his entire family has had their share of canines running around their farms and homes. So, dogs hold a special place in his heart.

Holland is in the business of bringing closure to families for many years via his funeral home. Extending that to dogs – or any pet for that matter – is a natural fit.

“I brought the first crematory for humans to North Mississippi in 1991, and some folks thought it was a revolutionary thing, while others thought it was a devilish thing,” he said. “But it’s turned out well. I’ve always been forward-thinking, bringing every service that I could to the families I served as a funeral director.”

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In recent years, he’s been contacted by veterinarians and pet owners about taking care of their deceased pets. He would oblige, taking the remains to pet crematories in either Oxford or Starkville.

Eventually, the requests became frequent enough that he thought it might be time to have a pet crematory of his own.
“We’ve got it now and I think it will be an invaluable service we’ll be able to provide to families,” he said.

Holland calls his pet crematory service Forever Friends, and the cost of cremation depends on the size of the pet, and whether the pet will be cremated individually or with three to four other pets.

A private cremation for a small pet weighing up to 49 pounds costs $250; for larger pets weighing 50 pounds and more , the cost is $325. A semi-private cremation for a small pet costs $150, and for a large pet, $225. In addition, a communal cremation is available for small pets for $75.

For those who wish to scatter the ashes of their pets, the Sadie J. Holland Farm has the Forever Farm overlooking a tranquil pond and wooded area.

Forever Friends has an extensive line of urns, keepsakes, jewelry and other products to help customers memorialize their pets.

It should be noted that the crematory for humans is not the one used for pets. Holland was required to buy a separate crematory.

“The crematory industry is highly regulated, and state law also provides that you keep the two crematories separate, which we do,” Holland said.

Adding the crematory is a service Holland thinks will do well. He knows from personal experience.

“I’m telling you, I grieve extensively when I lose a pet,” he said. “They’re family; sometimes they’re the best family. So we wanted to make that service available to those members of the family as well.”

Holland said residents can either go through their veterinarian for the Forever Friends service or they can come to the funeral home themselves.

“I’ve been in touch with ymost of the veterinarians around here and they’re excited about it,” he said. “None of them have crematories, and they grieve when the lost the pets they practiced on for years and they want them to have a dignified sendoff too.”

Holland said pets are treated with the same dignity and respect that all family members deserve.

“We’ve had several pet services here,” he said. “I’ve been asked to add a pet cemetery but I’m not there yet. The crematory is enough to handle for now.”