Pet cremation a respectful way to say goodbye
Self-proclaimed pet lover, Art Magega, has pioneered a method to respect and honour pets who have died in Western Canada. Now Magega is still helping Calgary pet owners through the grief of a lost family member.
Magega came up with the idea in 1979, of selling cremation equipment to the Calgary Humane Society in order to address the growing problem of what to do with the remains of deceased pets.
Growing up with pets all his life, Magega thought cremation was a great way to honour the memory of a very important family member.
“It’s always tough, because the pet is family and I know I’ve lost a lot of pets,” Magega said. “I have every last one of their urns and my wife has a glass cabinet and they’re all there from 15 to 20 years ago.”
Magega owns Pet Cremation Care, a pet cremation service company operating out of the industrial portion of Calgary.
Photo by: Brendan Stasiewich
“You do the service for them, present them what they ask for and complete strangers are crying and thanking me and they just hug me,” Magega said while his two-year-old shar pei dog named “Ida Know” sat by his side. “It’s very much one of the most fulfilling parts of my job.”
Magega’s number one priority is to assist the family however he can, respecting the pet in the best way possible. The ethics he abides by coincide with the way he’d like his pets to be treated.
“Tears still come to my eyes when I remember my pets,” Magega said. “You’re coming here for a truthful respectable cremation, and I prove to people that what I give them is their pet and I don’t mix ashes.
“I do it just like I’d want it done.”
Abiding by these ethics, Magega has a book of every cremation he’s completed in the past eight years. Thousands of pets fill several pages and he’s very proud of the fact that he’s never lost a single one of their bodies.
Now semi-retired at 69 years of age, Magega said he will continue working side by side with his best friend Ida because of his love for pets and their families.
“If anything I can give somebody some pleasure and a secure feeling that what I do is for them, and honestly [do it] that way. That’s how I’d want it done.”