Despite dealing in dead pets (and heartbreak) day in and day out, the staff at Cal Pet Crematory remains exceedingly warm and gentle. If you can find the little stucco beacon of empathy, tucked in an industrial labyrinth in Sun Valley, you might be greeted by owner and poodle fanatic Mark Stine or one of his sundry relatives, who have kept the crematorium family-owned for an astonishing 69 years. Individuals who have entrusted several generations of deceased pets to Cal Pet stream through the doors, accepting condolences and catching up on the state of the staff's pets. Stine's uncle Alvin Carveth launched the business after finding a dearth of suitable crematory options for his own beloved pooches. (Yes, it was considered a curious idea in 1947.) Cal Pet stresses dignity above all: Pets are cremated individually rather than communally, and owners can opt to watch. And no pet is too small or humble to be handled with care — there are itty-bitty urns available for rats, birds, snakes, even frogs. Stine believes cremation is especially suited for hyper-mobile Angelenos: “You can take their ashes with you wherever you go.”

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