PUBLISHED: 7:26 PM on Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Veterinarian offers pet cremation
Mike and Rachel Dziuba, owners of Bridge Veterinary Services, get a lot of phone calls with people saying, "My pet died and I just can't have him placed with the garbage."

The couple's recent practice expansion in Mendenhall Valley includes the installation of

Southeast Alaska's only pet crematorium.

"As a veterinarian, I no longer have to tell grieving owners that their pet's burial involves a truck ride to the growing mound of trash in Lemon Creek," Rachel said.

Established in 2005 to meet the pressing veterinary needs for regional horse owners,

Rachel now travels throughout Southeast providing care for more than 200 horses. Contracted as the veterinary surgeon for various harbor seal studies with the State of Alaska, she has since obtained a Marine Mammal Stranding Agreement with NOAA. "When I tell my former classmates from Ohio that I work on large animals, I really mean it," said Rachel, alluding to her experiences with seals and humpback whales.

Courtesy photo
  Rachel Dziuba, veterinarian and co-owner of Bridge Veterinary Services, not only services large animals such as horses and whales, but also pet cremation.
While the new pet crematorium isn't suited for large horses or whales, it does allow for all the ashes of companion-sized animals to be returned home to their owners. Cost of cremation averages between $20-$210, depending on the type of pet and the owner's wishes. Bridge Veterinary Services offers 24-hour pick up and has been in contact with regional veterinary clinics and other pet care professionals to get the word out. They have already received pets from Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Gustavus, Haines and Skagway for dignified cremation.

With veterinary care taking up most of her time, Mike had been researching since last

January all the steps needed to make pet cremation in Juneau a reality.

"You don't have to be a veterinarian to obtain the permits and materials for this type of business," Mike said. He points out however, that a veterinarian owned and operated crematorium makes sense. "Who better to trust than a vet regarding your pet's final disposition?"

The Dziuba's can be contacted at 463-5022 or go online to

"We want this service to remain available and we are committed to providing pet owners with customer care second to none," Rachel said. "Pet owners have been so supportive of this service. The human-animal bond is very strong in Alaska."