If you’re looking for an unusual way to honor the passing of your pet, a company in Houston has an idea for you.
Beginning in October, Celestis Pets will launch memorial space flights for four-legged loved ones. According to their website, rockets carrying cremated remains of dogs and cats are a way for owners to “celebrate the life of their pet.”
The parent company, Celestis, has for years offered a rocket service that takes partial human remains into space and brings them back, including ashes of “Star Trek” TV show creator Gene Roddenberry.
The death of a pet is always wrenching, but that pain can be assuaged by special funeral rites. For many animal lovers, however, sending a pet’s remains on a journey of thousands, or even millions, of miles into outer space, may be the last thing on their minds.
After we watched our wonderful cat Stacey die at the hands of a drunk driver, my stepson and I dug a grave for her under a bush in our backyard, where she always liked to sleep. More recently, when our cat Jaspar died, after 12 years with us, we had him cremated, and now I have his ashes in my home, in a simple wooden box.
Other pet owners have chosen to bury their beloved animals in pet cemeteries, or to have their ashes scattered in a favorite spot, while others are seeking instead to be buried alongside their pets.
Spending forever with your dog, cat or goldfish has just recently become possible in New York. Under a new regulation enacted by the New York Department of Sate, that went into effect on August 2, pet cemeteries are permitted to inter the cremated remains, or “cremains,” of pet owners along with their pets. They may not, however, charge a separate fee for those remains or advertise their human-remains burial services.
New York is one of a handful of states that has made formal regulations regarding human remains in pet cemeteries. Virginia currently is proposing a similar regulation allowing pet cemeteries to be added to existing human cemeteries; Pennsylvania is one of few states that allow human bodies to be buried on pet cemeteries without having to be cremated.
“Most states have not addressed this specifically. It’s very much a state of flux right now,” says Poul Lemasters, an attorney and funeral director based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
According to Lemasters, the practice of interring human and pet remains together has in reality been going on for many years , but no one has bothered to regulate it. However, the growing demand from owners wanting to be buried with their pets has spurred this recent government action.
Far from the idea of humans and pets being buried together, Celestis Pets will launch via rocket an engraved flight capsule containing “approximately one gram of the cremated remains (or a lock of hair) of your pet into outer space on the mission of your choice.”
Here are the options:
Because Your Pet Loved to Explore: Honor your best friend with a journey to the stars on board the world’s first pet memorial spaceflight service.
Heavenly Ark: Look to the heavens as your pet returns home one last time. Book your Earth Rise flight today.
An Incredible Journey: Your pet will travel to deep space aboard revolutionary spacecraft, forever contributing to science and exploration.
In the Paw Prints of Apollo: Join our featured pet, Apollo the Dog, as he embarks on a mission to outer space. It’s one giant leap for pet kind!
Prices range from $995 to a hefty $12,500.
“I think we’re also creating some new cultural norms,” says Director of Celestis Pets, Steve Eisele. “Humanity has a lot of different rituals. We think we take our rituals with us when we end up traveling to different places whether they’re on this planet or off the planet.”
“Following a successful launch, you’ll receive a certificate certifying that your pet reached space with specific launch vehicle and flight information,” the Celestis website states. “Your pet’s name, photo, and a brief biography will be placed on the Celestis Pets website as a public memorial of a life well lived.”
The first launch of Celestis Pets will happen on October 7, 2014 from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
What do you think? Will you line up to be one of the first to send your pet’s remains into outer space? Or would you prefer to share eternity with your precious animal in the same space?
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