Pet Cremation Owner Shares How It’s More Than Just Business To Her | WGLT

Pet Cremation Owner Shares How It’s More Than Just Business To Her

Jul 10, 2020

Growing up Tricia Braid didn’t envision herself running her own pet cremation business. But when an opportunity arose she realized she would be a perfect fit for the job.

A friend reached out to Braid in 2019 and said she should look into the business after the previous owners of Christianson’s Companion Cremations listed their business for sale.  

Cherished Like Family owner Tricia Braid.
Credit Ryan Denham / WGLT

“After I first became aware of this business being for sale it was within a couple of months that I actually lost one of my animals unexpectedly,” said Braid, now the owner of Cherished Like Family. “After surgery, I got a call in the middle of the night from the veterinarian telling me that my animal had passed.”  

The next question the veterinarian asked Braid was what she would like them to do with her young Saint Bernard pup, who had been less than 2 years old when she passed.

“Having grown up on a farm we were always able to bury our animals on our property, and cremation was never something that I had to consider before,” said Braid. “That unfortunate experience has guided me through this pathway now and reminds me of how important it is to always remember that these animals have a family and that family really cares about them.”  

With about 20 years of work in the agriculture communication field as well as her background growing up on the farm, she realized she was capable of running her own business. Braid officially took over the business located in Funks Grove in January.

“This was something that I could do, I could be a business owner, I could be my own boss, grow my wings so to speak, and enter into a business that is so rewarding even though it comes at a very difficult time for my clients,” said Braid. “The work I do for them means so much to them and that in turn means so much to me.”

Braid makes sure to know each pet’s name and can expect to see anywhere from 25 to 50 animals a week. That’s about 1,500 to 2,500 pets a year.  

The name “Cherished Like Family” conveys how she wants her clients to feel throughout the process.

“When working with people it’s just so important to listen to them and convey to them that sense of community with me,” said Braid. “That I do have strong feelings about animals, but really to help them trust me because at that point they are so vulnerable and so upset about the loss of their pet.”    

Braid sees pets of all different shapes and sizes. Clients have brought in peculiar pets like geckos, hedgehogs, mice, and hamsters to be cremated. That reminds her how valued each pet is to every family.  

“People may not have children but they have pets,” said Braid “It's not uncommon for people to consider the animals in their lives their fur babies.”  

Braid pointed to her experience with a client’s beloved hedgehog.  

“When I talked to the family I learned that their children have very specific allergies to typical pets and they couldn't have pets with fur in their home,” said Braid. “That was just a good reminder to me to remember that each person's experience is unique and valid to them, and that my job is to be sure that I am honoring that feeling and relationship with a trusted service, that I undertake with integrity and responsibility.”  

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.