Courtesy Photo

As a lifelong pet lover, I have had many beloved pets pass away. Each one of them I chose to cremate. At the time, I was unaware that cremation process releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere and requires considerable amounts of energy. Now there is a more eco-friendly option for disposing of your pets’ remains: aquamation.

Peaceful Pets Aquamation is the nation’s first 100 percent green and gentle alternative to cremation and the “pet project” of award-winning television executive Jerry Shevick.

Aquamation is an eco-friendly, water-based process that is similar to natural decomposition, utilizing alkaline hydrolysis to expedite the process. “Cremation is a violent, oxidative process, while aquamation is a gentle, reductive process,” explained Shevick. “One uses fire and the other uses water. Aquamation essentially mimics exactly what nature does to a buried body, it just accelerates the process.” Shevick claims aquamation uses 1/20th the energy and has 1/10th of the carbon footprint.

Considering the drought in California, I was concerned about the amount of water used in the aquamation process. Shevick explained that while the water amount is dependent on the size of the animal, and therefore varies, the water at the end of the process is rich in organic materials and can be used as fertilizer.

Aside from the environmental advantages of aquamation, what sold me on the process was the appearance of the animal’s remains once they are returned to the owner. For anyone who has had their pet cremated, you might recall how the remains are somewhat disconcerting, with chunky remains in the mix. The aquamation process results in remains that resemble beach sand. In addition, the animal’s remains are respectfully returned to the owner with an engraved, decorated clay paw print of the pet; the prices for aquamation are comparable to cremation.

Michelle Glass, practice manager at St. Francis Pet Clinic, is thrilled to be one of the first veterinary clinics in the area to get on board with aquamation. “Santa Barbara is one of the country’s foremost pet-loving and environmentally conscious communities,” she said. “We’re proud to be the first area clinic to embrace the aquamation process for not only its reduced environmental impact, but for the phenomenal care it gives our clients. It helps us continue to care for the community in a way that makes sense for Santa Barbara.”

If you are interested in having your pet aquamated, St. Francis Pet Clinic in Santa Barbara is affiliated with Peaceful Pets Aquamation. Call 805-963-0577 or visit You can also contact Peaceful Pets Aquamation directly at 805-410-3880 or visit


The Santa Barbara Humane Society has gathered a list of tips to make the most out of a safe holiday season with your furry friend:

  1. If you deck the halls with holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia, keep them out of your pet’s reach as they are poisonous. Tinsel and pine needles can also lead to possible vet visits as they can puncture intestines if ingested. Keep your pet preoccupied with a food-stuffed Kong or a catnip toy.
  2. Oh, Christmas tree! Be sure to securely anchor your Christmas tree to prevent any injuries to your pet. Remove breakable low-hanging ornaments if you have a playful pet.
  3. A festival of lights may spark your pet’s curiosity. Don’t leave lighted candles unattended as they can cause a fire if knocked over. Douse the light if leaving the room.
  4. Pets love table scraps, however, be mindful of the following foods that are dangerous to pets:
  5. Fatty, rich foods can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea
  6. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic are toxic to dogs, even in small quantities
  7. Cooked bones can easily splinter and choke your pet
  8. Use treats and soft chews as an alternative to table scraps.
  9. As the holiday and New Year celebrations begin, consider giving your pet an indoor space of their own to retreat to with fresh water and a place to snuggle as noisy poppers and fireworks can terrify them.

You can make a pet’s life happy by opening your forever home. Santa Barbara Humane society is located at 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara. They close at noon on Christmas Eve and are closed Christmas and New Years Day. Their hours are Mon – Sat, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visit for more information and a list of adoptable animals.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.