Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Coping with the Care of a Deceased Pet

By Meg Mullery

Coping with the Care of a Deceased Pet

The call came from a panicked husband on business travel. His distraught wife and four young kids discovered the beloved family dog deceased on the kitchen floor. The husband called the vet for help and was guided to In Memoriam Pet Services.

In less than 2 hours, the grieving family was receiving comfort and counsel from an employee of In Memoriam Pet Services. He stayed with the family to ensure they were coping with the situation and then lovingly removed the pet from the home. The cremated remains were returned two days later in a beautiful urn with a paw print imbedded in clay.

Meet Larry Brissing, the founder of In Memoriam Pet Services. A typical workday for Larry and his six employees puts them in the roles of grief counsellor, emergency responder, funeral director, parish priest, and bartender at the neighborhood pub.

Growing up in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of New York state in a family of pet and nature lovers, he gravitated to wildlife management and environmental services studies. After working in these areas for almost a decade, he discovered the insurance restoration industry. Larry was the “go to” guy when major catastrophes like a fire destroyed the family home and, with it, the fabric of the family. Larry’s empathetic nature, coupled with a quiet efficiency and can-do attitude, helped families rebuild their lives and reweave the family unit.

Larry’s decision to move to scenic Virginia was fortuitous. He met his wife and then kids arrived on the scene. Following the death of the family dog, Larry became aware of the dearth of appropriate facilities and complementary services that would ease the process of losing what people regard as a best friend and member of the family.

He was surprised to learn that, while living in the heart of horse country, the nearest crematorium for horses and other large animals was in Maryland. This made cremation impractical and expensive. Few good options exist for the after care of horses. Cremation often is the first choice.

These situations were not unlike those he faced in his earlier insurance restoration career. His compassion, coupled with his communication and management skills, easily translated to his new endeavor of providing after care pet services.

In Memoriam Pet Services built a state-of-the-art facility in Chantilly, Virginia, providing cremations for pet parents and veterinary practices covering an area from Dupont Circle to West Virginia. Complementary services include individual and communal cremations, pick up/delivery, private memorial services; truly any kind of support the situation requires.

Customized, discreet vans for small animals and a truck and trailer for large ones are used for transport. In cases of an unexpected need to euthanize, In Memoriam Pet Services can meet the vet at the site and provide the requisite after care help for the animal and its owner. An emergency telephone number ensures that calls are responded to 24/7/365.

Satisfied clients sharing Larry’s business model have played a huge role in the demand for his services. He also partners with veterinary practices. Chelsea Best, a patient advocate at Blue Ridge Veterinary Associates in Purcellville, Virginia, could not say enough good things about In Memoriam and Larry. “We have been partnering with them for about two years. They have never failed to be accommodating, timely, respectful and compassionate,” Chelsea explained. Blue Ridge Vets contracts with In Memoriam for regularly scheduled cremation pick up and drops offs as well as on-call services as needed.

In Memoriam adheres to, and indeed goes beyond, the 250 standards of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories, which

represent the best practices in pet cremation care.

Larry has helped pet families mourn the loss of all kinds of animals – lizards, rabbits, alpacas. He has seen big, tough guys and small kids alike in tears over the loss of their furry friend. “Animals are the great equalizer,” said Larry. “They deserve our respect for helping us be better humans.”

The In Memoriam web site has a wide array of memorial urns and other products that would be thoughtful and appreciated gifts to friends who are grieving. Tribute picture frames and a memorial seed packet filled with Forever Wildflowers are just a few of the many options. Go to for more information.

About the Author: Meg Mullery is a licensed Virginia real estate agent with the Middleburg office of Washington Fine Properties. Her family includes two horses, two cats, and a rescued dog.

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