FRANKLIN, Mich. - At first glance, the exquisite piece of glassware that Jason Dickman is holding appears to be no more than that.
Shaped like a dog bone with a swirl of rainbow colors spiraling through it, it would be a fitting ornament for a table or mantle. But like much of the business wrapped in that dog bone and the rest of Jason's business, there's more than what meets the eye.
"This actually is an example of the rainbow bridge and this is the cremated remains that are put into the blown glass," he said.
The glassware is a memorial to a pet, a testament to the indelible mark that animals leave on their owners after they leave. After all, they're family.
That's how Dickman and Roberta Knauf treat every visit to Loyal Paws Cremation, where they do more than just etch a pet's remains into material to be admired. They will hold a service for any dog, cat, bird, snake, or any other animal, the way any member of a family wants to be celebrated.
"When you're a pet lover and it's part of your family part of your children's family, it deserves the dignity and respect of anything else. A lot of our clients have small children so we do a lot with small children. That may be their first experience they have with death," said Knauf.
Recently, Jacqui Drake and her family lost their beloved bird Lucky. For a family ready to rescue and adopt any animal that comes their way, the memories they make are ones they cherish.
Any pet that joins the Drake family becomes a member. They become loved, they get attached, and sadly, mourn when it's time to say goodbye.
"It was kind of sad in the house. The boys were like 'Mom, what's wrong with Lucky, what is wrong with Lucky,'" said Jacqui.
When it was Lucky's turn to go, Jacqui reached out to Loyal Paws Cremation, a memorial center in Franklin and funeral home for animals. The owners will make the trip to take away your pet and prepare them for cremation.
"Jason actually came to the house, he picked Lucky up - had him in a box - he came and (was) literally very sweet he was like 'let me take your baby,'" said Jacqui.
Dickman, who co-owns the service said the business provides a private space and allows people to take the time they need to mourn the passing of their pet.
"Especially in covid where people couldn't necessarily get into their vet clinics or their vet clinics were closed, what we can do for those people and how do we celebrate their life and how do we memorialize them?" said Dickman.
There are visitations, emotional support, and a private cremation process that takes place at their Clarkston location.
"We set up the pet as a private viewing and they get a final goodbye. We have a nice room in a gallery where they can visit with pet, spend as much time as they want," said Dickman.
It was a service that Jacqui says her family needed and will always cherish.
"We've always done the burial outside and saved their collar or whatever, but nothing like this. This is a whole another level of healing and he'll be with us."