Many Washington residents turn to Deiters Funeral Home when a family member passes away.

Co-owner Stephanie Deiters said the funeral home is simply extending its services to  “non-human family members” by opening Deiters Pet Services and Pet Crematory in the new Meadow Valley Center situated behind the funeral home on Washington Road.


Many Washington residents turn to Deiters Funeral Home when a family member passes away.
Co-owner Stephanie Deiters said the funeral home is simply extending its services to  “non-human family members” by opening Deiters Pet Services and Pet Crematory in the new Meadow Valley Center situated behind the funeral home on Washington Road.

Unlike other pet crematories in Central Illinois, the new Washington business offers an array of other services to families dealing with the loss of a pet, Deiters said.

Pickup of deceased pets from homes or veterinarians’ offices is available, as well as bathing and grooming before family and friends view their furry friends.

The Meadow Valley Center, which also houses a new human crematory separate from the pet services area, has a viewing room decorated like a living room where families can host visitations or say private goodbyes.

“We have a warm, cozy environment where people can have a service or host a gathering,” Deiters said. “People have called us and said ‘My dog was really well known among our family, can we have a gathering?’ We thought this is a great service to provide because so many people have asked about it.”

Deiters can also make personalized memorial cards, jewelry, gravesite markers and even memorial Web sites and video tributes featuring a special pet.

“We’re thinking on the edge,” Deiters said. “It’s pretty neat.”

Deiters said offering pet cremation and related services was “a natural progression” for the funeral home.

“People always ask us about their pets, so it’s always been in the back of our minds,” she said. “It’s something that people in the funeral industry have been talking about more, so it just made sense that we extend our services and help people in the community with the loss of their pets.”

To help with the grieving process, the Dieters family adopted an 18-month-old yellow Labrador retriever named Nacho that lives in the funeral home. Nacho was in a training program to become a companion for a blind person, but because of an elbow injury, he was released from the program.

“He’s kind of our mascot,” Deiters said. “He’s a grief companion dog to help comfort people who have lost their pets. When we were looking into starting pet services, I learned that people will actually respond better to another pet than they will to me. It makes sense.

“He is very relaxed. He doesn’t bark, and he is very calm,” Deiters added. He just lays in the corner and sleeps when I’m with clients.”

Deiters Funeral Home representatives will be at the dog park fundraiser 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Meadow Valley Park, where they will sell balloons to be released at 3:30 p.m. in memory of pets that have died.

There will also be an open house from 3 to 4 p.m. that day at the Meadow Valley Center, 2075 Washington Road.

Deiters Pet Services and Pet Crematory can be reached at 745-3600.