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All dogs go to heaven
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For the pet-owner dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, Wheeler-Harwell Funeral Home and Crematory has you in mind when it opens up its pet crematorium later this summer.

Ric Burnette, a pre-planning counselor with Wheeler-Harwell, said he expects the Wheeler-Harwell PETuary will be open at the end of May or the beginning of June.

A final location for the crematorium has not been settled on but it is expected to be in Newton County Burnette said.

Pet cremation and other pet funeral arrangements will be made at J.C. Harwell & Son Funeral Home on East Street.

According to Burnette, the grieving process for losing a pet is in many ways similar to that of losing a close friend or family member.

"A lot of it is exactly the same," said Burnette.

Bill Wheeler said the decision to open the PETuary was a result of an expanding pet population in Newton County and a need for the service, which isn't currently offered in the area.

The closest pet crematorium is in Gwinnett County.

In addition to serving the population of Newton County, Wheeler said he hoped residents in surrounding counties would also make use of the PETuary.

Clients can choose from a range of services for their pet including exclusive, individual or group cremation. With exclusive cremation your pet is cremated alone in the crematory with no other pets.

In an individual cremation, your pet may be cremated with other pets during the same cremation cycle but your pet will be isolated so the ashes are preserved separately.

In a group cremation your pet will be cremated along with other pets. The ashes are not returned and are disposed of by the PETuary.

Clients receive a certificate of cremation and a complimentary container labeled with their pet's name.

Wheeler-Harwell also has a large selection of pet memorial products including urns, stone markers and paw prints to choose from.

The cost of pet cremation varies depending on the level of services and merchandise selected.

All types of small pets can be cremated at the PETuary. Burnette said there is a 250 pound limit for the pet crematorium.

Clients or their veterinarians should call Wheeler-Harwell to arrange a pick-up time. The funeral parlor will pick up your pet from the veterinarian during normal office hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Transportation from the pet owner's home is also available.

Pet cremains are typically received within three to five days.

Diane Roberts and Katrina Durden were recently named the winners of a competition to name the pet crematorium. The ladies were each awarded $100. Burnette said more than 100 entries were received in the contest.