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Tucson vet offers gentle alternative to cremation

First to bring aquamation to Arizona
Posted at 9:16 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 00:24:33-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Anyone who has put down a pet before, knows how hard it is to say goodbye to a loved one. Aside from the loss, the thought of a pet being cremated, can be difficult to come to grasp.

Kellie Barrett is a veterinarian at Kindred Spirits Pet Services on the northwest side of Tucson. She specializes in end of life care for pets. And In October, she became certified in aquamation, which she describes as a gentler alternative to cremation.

"It's a new technology," Barrett said. "Within the last 25 years, it's become popular."

Barrett is the first veterinarian to bring this technology to Arizona.

Aquamation is similar to natural decomposition. A water-based solution breaks down tissue, leaving just the bone fragments to be processed into a sand-like powder.

"It's that extra care and that extra love that we carry on, even after they have passed," Barrett said. "And I think a lot of times, owners feel a little bit better not thinking about incinerating with flame. This water is like a final gentle, warm bath that we're giving their pets."

Barrett says aquamation uses 90 percent less energy than flame cremation, leaving a much smaller carbon footprint.

The cost of aquamation is similar to that of traditional cremation, according to Barrett. Since October, she's used the technology on about 80 pets.