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Huggable urns help owners feel close to departed pets


When Susan Beitz’s mother Beatrice died in March, her family decided to keep her ashes so that she would remain nearby.

Beitz’s grandson wanted to go a step further.

“My grandson asked if he could put some of Granny’s ashes in one of his stuffed animals,” said Beitz, adding that the child’s wish was fulfilled with some help from a do-it-yourself teddy-bear-stuffing shop.

The success of the process got Beitz and her daughter Jillian Hauck thinking that stuffed animal might be a good way to preserve pet remains as well. Three of their own deceased cats — Scooter, Bert and Bear — were residing in ceramic urns that were neither durable nor huggable.

The women did a bit of research and discovered that they could obtain plush pet urns from the United States. On Nov. 15, they opened Bea’s Stuff A Memory in Red Deer’s Towne Centre Mall — naming the business after their late mother and grandmother.

“We just decided if we were going to do it, we were going to do it,” said Beitz of the decision to transform their idea into reality.

Bea’s Stuff A Memory carries dozens of huggable urns, including bears, a moose, a giraffe, a horse and a tiger. There are also cats, and dogs ranging from Chihuahuas to Rottweilers.

“We’ve got quite the assortment,” said Beitz, pointing out that customers can choose an urn that resembles their pet.

The soft urns, said Beitz, are more personable than the conventional vessels and can be handled lovingly. Scooter, Bert and Bear have all made the switch and now reside in the shop.

She’s unaware of any similar businesses in Alberta.

“There’s someone in B.C. who does it.”

Beitz also sees the potential of huggable urns as the final resting place for people. She points to the example of Beatrice, who is now in the hands of her great-grandchildren.

“It’s really them that wanted something where they could be hugging Gran and still feel close to her.”

She’s not pushing this option at Bea’s Stuff A Memory, noting that some people are taken aback by the idea.

“But I think once people stop to think about it, it’s really not such a bad idea, because once again you’ve got that cuddly something you can put on your bed.”

Bea’s Stuff A Memory doesn’t actually require ashes of any kind. The shop also offers a traditional teddy-bear stuffing service, with customers able to choose their animals and pick out accessories, like clothes.

Additional information about Bea’s Stuff A Memory can be found online at beasstuffamemory.com.

hrichards@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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