By LANA TIMBS
ON A 150-ACRE RANCH NEAR ANDERSON, stands a massive live oak providing scenery, shade, and also a peaceful and final resting place for the loving companions of many local pet owners.
Live Oak Pet Services, established August 2005, provides pet cremation services to the Brazos Valley. Working with local vets and members of the communities in the area, Live Oak Pet Services helps families deal with the deaths of their pets and memorialize them.
Live Oak does individual, witnessed, and communal cremations. Remains can then be put in a customized urn, garden stone, pendant, or even a diamond.
Around the neck of Kerri Smith hangs a beautiful, aqua crystal. It encompasses remains of Smith’s prized Rottweiler, “Dusty Britches.”
“I wanted to have a crystal done of Dusty Britches because I wanted to keep her close to my heart, not only in memory but a real part of her around my neck. I have had the necklace since February 2011 and have never taken it off,” said Smith.
Smith welcomed Dusty Britches, named after a saloon in Bandera, Texas, to her home when she was eight weeks old. After her award-winning parents, Dusty Britches followed in their footsteps and became an AKC Champion in 2003.
Two of Smith’s current pets are the descendants of Dusty Britches. Eight-year-old, Medina is her daughter and Keeper of the Dream, her granddaughter, is in the process of her show career at 18 months old.
Smith founded Live Oak Pet Services on her family ranch. Scott Mason, now the President of Live Oak, is the co-owner.
“[At Live Oak] we have sympathetic and empathetic ears that know what pet owners are going through when they have to deal with deaths of their beloved pets. Our staff is very experienced and has worked in vet clinics. This insight, as well as being pet owners ourselves, gives us the ability to talk with grieving clients and relate to exactly what they are going through. We listen to them and listen to their story,” said Mason.
Memorializing your pet by having their remains put into a keepsake is “definitely a trend,” according to Mason. He revealed that this year alone five crystals have been made in the Brazos Valley, as well as many other keepsakes.
In July of 2006, Live Oak did a famous cremation, the 1983 Kentucky Derby Winner, “Sunny’s Halo.” There is a memorial for him at Churchill Downs where he is buried at the finish Line, along with Brokers Tip (1933) Swaps (1955) and Carry Back (1961).