Grace Funeral Home is expanding its services to help families pay tribute to their furry friends when they die.
In about a month, owners Charlie and Heather Hauboldt will begin offering memorial services for pets at Gracious Paws, a tribute center for pets at 477 Waco Circle.
The company also owns four funeral homes and four cemeteries.
Gracious Paws will offer pet pick-up, cremation, memorial and burial services. Families will have options of personalized items they can buy to remember their pet from jewelry to blankets to paintings.
“This is a place where a family can come and have a moment to say goodbye to their pet (and) spend a little time talking about what their pet meant to them,” Heather Hauboldt said. “It’s for kids to be able to write a little note to their family loved one ... in an environment that is soothing and comfortable. That’s what we want.”
Cremation ranges from $75 to $300, depending on the size of the pet and includes a clay print of the pet’s paw and a clipping of fur. Gracious Paws started offering pet cremation services in January. Memorial services will start at $125 and increase, depending on the details of the memorial, which can be public, private or whatever the family wants.
“They can have a minister or special music,” Charlie Hauboldt said.
Grace Funeral Home’s pet cremation center is separate from the Gracious Paws space and is in a private area in the county. The couple is already working with several veterinarians in the Crossroads, who would inform their customers about the options to have a pet memorial.
The Hauboldts are redesignating a section of Memory Gardens Cemetery, 8819 U.S. 87, for a pet cremation garden, and an area of Golden Sunset Cemetery, 3011 Refugio Highway, for pet burials.
The couple started researching pet memorial services a few years ago and visited pet loss service places across the state to come up with their concept.
The pet memorial home on Waco Circle is about 2,800 square feet, has two visitation rooms, a foyer and a meeting room where arrangements will be made with products on display. They’re leasing the space and renovated the interior.
“Pets are family. They’re not (just) an extension of the family. There was a need for a place for people to pay tribute to their pet,” Heather Hauboldt said.
Her husband added, “For a lot of newer generation millennials, they are their family ... They have four-legged friends who are their life, who are their family.”