This is a guest blog submission from Wendy June of member business, Mankato Pet Cremation. We love to hear about WHY our members love what they do in our community.
Who could have guessed that starting a second career in pet cremation would bring about so many stories and unexpected blessings?
In March of 2018, with much support from family, friends, and the Small Business Development Center in Mankato, we opened Mankato Pet Cremation serving Mankato and south central Minnesota. Initially, I went into this work with the goal of providing a crucial service for area pets. But I soon realized after death it’s no longer about the pet anymore, it’s about the people. To my amazement, it turns out people experiencing pet-loss are at their most genuine, honest, and tender selves. The good in people naturally spills out at this difficult time. Every customer renews my faith and gives me hope for the human race, especially during this difficult time. I am thankful everyday for this very rare and wonderful view of this complicated world.
As a pet-loving culture, we include pets as members of the family. Every pet is special, and their stories need to be told. My story today is about a dog named Foxy, a Husky/Arctic Timber Wolf cross. Foxy was born in Big Bear, California on Christmas day in 2009. She was adopted at just 6 ½ weeks of age by an over the road truck driver named Kevin Hagen, from Missoula, Montana. “Foxy” named by Hagen because she was “so beautiful,” became Hagen’s driving companion for the next 10 ½ years. Hagen estimates in Foxy’s life-time they drove over a million miles together for Decker Trucking Line.
In October 2019, Hagen and Foxy were awarded Driver of the Month based on their safety record and miles driven.
My part in Foxy’s story began on the morning of June 18, 2020. I awoke early to find a voice message from Hagen who was here in Mankato, Minnesota unloading at the Walmart Distribution Center. He explained that Foxy had died overnight due to complications associated with Lymphoma. Hagen, unable to leave the distribution center until he unloaded the next morning, scouted the facility for a box large enough to hold her body. He then searched online for an area pet cremation service and called Mankato Pet Cremation. The next morning we met outside the distribution center so I could pick up Foxy. Later, when I asked Kevin to write a few words about Foxy’s life for the company FaceBook Memorial Page he said, “Foxy was the best dog ever! She was a truck-riding, road-dog her whole life. In her free time she loved camping and fishing, or any activity with her dad (Hagen). She was the most loyal, loving, smart, goofy, funny, and sassy companion dog. She could read a map and navigate like no other. She was my best friend, and will always and forever live in my heart.”
Following Foxy’s cremation, her remains were placed in a wood-carved urn and sent home via the US Postal Service. She arrived safely home within the week. “There aren’t enough words to describe how thankful I am for you,” stated Hagen. “You really helped ease the situation. I am really grateful I had the opportunity to meet you, and for what you do. Your actions and passion are extraordinary…thank you so much.”
I am frequently asked how and why I choose this line of work. I understand pet-afterlife services are not for everyone. But to me, it’s the best job in the world. What other job creates an instant bond between complete strangers? I believe it’s important to honor Foxy and all pets, because for a culture that recognizes pets as family, we do little to support and acknowledge those suffering with this loss. Our aim at Mankato Pet Cremation is to support those experiencing loss, and to help them achieve closure and peace.
(R.I.P.) Run In Peace dear Foxy.