LOCKPORT, N.Y. -- More than half of all Americans own at least one pet. Starting this weekend, Western New Yorkers have a different option when it comes time to say goodbye.
A pet funeral home is opening in Lockport. Pets in Peaceful Rest will allow families to say goodbye to their pets much like they would say goodbye to a human member of the family.
"This is where the pet would, we would place the pet, or the family would place the pet, if they brought it in, if they walked in with the animal, and they would spend as much time as they wanted to in here," says Scott Schmidt.
Schmidt is the President of Pets in Peaceful Rest. His family transformed a vacant building in Lockport into a place dedicated to helping people honor and remember their pets.
"Trim the paw of any excess fur and we make a paw print for it," he explained.
Schmidt isn't new to the funeral business. He's been a funeral director in Albion for more than 30 years, and people kept asking him about funeral services for pets.
Now that there's a new state law that allows people to be buried with their pets, he felt the time was right to start his own business. It includes a Rainbow Bridge Room and a state-of-the-art crematory.
"The options have just opened up. And the need for ceremony, the need for the opportunity to say goodbye, because pets are your family. They're not like your family, they are your family," says Schmidt.
And for Schmidt, this is a family affair. His wife, who is also a pastor, told us why this is so personal for them. Their four-year-old Great Dane has a bone tumor.
"Initially the doctor said about two weeks, but that was two weeks ago. So we have her here tonight to show that it's our family caring for your family. We know what it is to have pets and to lose pets," said Aleka Schmidt.
"They give you unconditional love, and they deserve dignity and respect when they pass away just as we do as humans," said Scott Schmidt.
The grand opening of Pets in Peaceful Rest is this Sunday at 4 p.m.