By Rachel Gill
The first condolences come from Neeko, a blue-eyed white husky, who immediately offers a friendly paw shake to say hello. Gentle music and soft lighting then seem to reach out to offer a hug.
These welcoming gestures are all part of the goal of Timeless Paws, a new pet memorial service business in Williston, to give pets and their owners the support they need no matter the circumstances.
“We want to provide support for whatever stage your relationship is at with your pet,” said Stacey Rousseau, founder of Timeless Paws. “We are not just a pet funeral home, we are so much more.”
Timeless Paws opened at the end of March, creating an environment that offers a variety of support services for pets and their owners.
“We offer the same services a family member would receive,” Rousseau said.
Services include burial, cremation, grief support, preparation assistance for near-death pets and care for senior pets.
Pet owners can also purchase a memorial copper leaf to honor a deceased pet. The leaf, engraved with a pet’s name, is placed in the Timeless Paws’ honorary memorial mural tree in the Celebration of Life room.
A portion of the leaf’s cost is donated to All Breed Rescue in South Burlington. All Breed Rescue is a non-profit, no-kill shelter that saves dogs regardless of age, health, breed and behavioral condition from animal control shelters, known as high-kill facilities, in the South.
Whitney Troy-Vowell, vice president of All Breed Rescue, said he is “exceptionally grateful” for any amount of support.
“It’s a very harmonious partnership,” Troy-Vowell said. “It’s fantastic to have a business that is helping families deal with the loss of a dog because they are part of their family network, and that’s very cohesive with our mission to support the loving families of these animals.”
Rousseau said Timeless Paws also works with other local businesses.
“We provide the family with whatever they need,” Rousseau said.
That may mean contacting a local florist, picking up the deceased animal or even connecting the pet’s family with an artist who specializes in pet portraits.
“We also hold memorial services in the Timeless Paws memorial chapel,” Rousseau said. “I might light a candle or say a blessing, the same steps you would do for a family member passing to provide closure.”
In other cases, pet owners may need support through a pet’s difficult health condition.
“We can do energy work with the pet and or pet owner, massage or aromatherapy,” Rousseau said. “We want people to be able to focus on the joy of their relationship with their pet.”
Rousseau will also offer individual and group support—helping people prepare and cope with the loss of a pet has become her passion, she said.
“I worked in the pet cremation business for four and a half years and realized the piece that it was lacking was support,” Rousseau said. “I also grew up on a farm and we had all kinds of pets like cats, birds and dogs, so animals were always a big part of my life.”
During her years in the pet cremation business, Rousseau said she was happy to provide those services to owners of any kind of pet.
“I have seen cremation for dogs, cats, pigs, and I have even seen people who need to cremate a fish,” she said. “It is not so much the act, it’s more about the closure it provides. That’s what’s important.”
After opening Timeless Paws, Rousseau has involved her sons as well.
“Out of their own interest, my two sons, ages 9 and 11 both assist in of some of the services we provide,” Rousseau said. “My son Brandyn helps with dressing for pet viewings during memorial services.”
Brandyn’s love of animals prompted him to help.
“I like dogs a lot and I don’t like to see them die,” Brandyn said.
Rousseau is looking forward to providing both animals and their families with lots of love.
“Timeless Paws was the creation of a dream and I’m so excited to see that dream become a reality,” Rousseau said. Timeless Paws is located at 4540 Williston Road. Call 497-1226 or visit www.timelesspawsvt.com.