A pet funeral parlor and crematory plans to open in Avon in the spring after gaining approval from the town's planning and zoning commission Tuesday.
Beloved Companions, LLC founder David Olson, of Avon, and managing partner Devra Sisitsky, of Avon, applied for a special exception early February to move into 369 West Main St.
The property is owned by Donald and Pamela Battiston and is near Battiston's Fabric Care Specialists.
The commission approved the application provided that certain conditions are met from a plan approved in 2009 for the property before Beloved Companions can receive permits and a certificate of occupancy for the rear building.
Olson was inspired to open the business after the recent loss of his family dog, a vizsla.
"He became interested in this business because he heard many pet families expressing a need for more dignified and respectful end of life services," Sisitsky said.
She and Olson hope their business will "reduce the trauma that pet families endure during this time, whether their pet is euthanized or dies at home."
"We help pet families handle all the difficult decisions from an informed perspective, and assist with the often unmanageable aspects of transportation and cremation in a dignified and respectful way," Sisitsky wrote in an email to Patch.
A pet funeral or cremation business could have been useful to Sitsisky's family when Maggie, her English mastiff, died recently. Maggie was like a "nanny" to her kids "when they were babies."
"We went as a family to euthanize her after she suffered an incident and could neither see nor walk, Sisitsky said. "My husband, the two children and I sat on the vet’s exam room floor with her, all holding her till the end. After which we had to walk into a busy waiting room, make cremation arrangement and pay our bill in public."
Sisitsky called several times after to find out when she could receive Maggie's ashes and finally got through after three weeks of persistence only to find out that the vet would not return the ashes. Prior to Maggie, she and her family had a tradition of burying the ashes of their deceased dogs "under their favorite tree."
"It is a time where we all speak about our memories of our beloved dogs and search for a modicum of illusory closure," Sisitsky said. "You never forget a great pet, and we were denied that last moment with Maggie. She deserved more."
The cremation portion of the business will be "handled locally" in central Connecticut, Sisitsky said.
Olson and former business partner Robert L. Sagarino previously had approval from the Canton Zoning Commission to open a similar business, Beloved Companions Funeral Services & Crematory, LLC, in the Citrus Salon building on Route 44. Canton Town Planner Neil Pade previously told Canton Patch "we were told the deal fell through."
When asked about the change in plans, Sisitsky said that Olson made the decision because "Avon is a more central location to the Farmington Valley residents, thus more accessible to our pet families."
For more information on the application, click on the link provided.