A Warm And Comforting Place To Usher Your Pets Over The Rainbow Bridge

Letting Go Isn't Easy. Finding A Place Where You Can Say Goodbye & Grieve Privately Is Important

By Lori Hiatt - CO-Owner Rainbow Bridge Pet Crematorium June 10, 2018

My name is Lori Hiatt and together with my husband Kelly, we own and operate Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorial Center just east of I25 and south of Hwy 34 in unincorporated Weld County and Johnstown mailing address.  We were previously located in Loveland behind the Walmart at Denver and 34, moving to our new property in January 2017.

Rainbow Bridge was started in 2006 because there was a need in the marketplace.  Throughout our 12 years in business we have had the opportunity to help 100’s of families through the loss of their beloved pets.  Through this experience we have come to realize many aspects of grief associated with losing these amazing souls that have graced our presence with their lives. 

This includes the loss of two of our own beloved pets, Jesse, our Jack /Rat Terrier mix in 2006 and Zen our rescued ShihTzu in 2014.  

The one thing that always sticks out in my mind, is that no matter how many times we journey through the loss of our fur babies, it does not get any easier.  

We got Jesse in March of 2001 as a puppy and unfortunately lost her to lymphoma in 2006 at the young age of 5.  It was a difficult loss for our family.  Our children were all young adults and in July of 2006 is when we received the diagnosis.We had her for an additional 4 ½ months when it became apparent to us that she was tired and ready to go.  

My husband Kelly was out of town on business and Wednesday, November 22nd, was a particularly rough day for her.  She let us know through her eyes and discomfort that we needed to make a decision.I called Kelly and told him what was going on and that I thought we needed to take her in that night.  He begged me to wait until he was home, but she was in such excruciating pain that we didn’t feel it was fair to her to make her wait two more days.  He agreed and we took her to an emergency clinic that night.  

My son, my daughter and I were there with her to the very end.  As hard as it was, we felt that she deserved to have those she loved with her.

The vet on call asked us what we would like to do for body care, did we want to take her home and bury her or did we want to have her cremated.  We were all taken by surprise, as we did not know that cremation was even an option.  Unfortunately, that was the only option he gave, he did not explain to us that we could have her cremated communally with other pets and not receive her cremains back or we could have her cremated privately and receive her cremains to keep with us.

It was in June 2007 that we were asked by a good friend of ours and previous business partner, if we would be interested in joining their company here in Colorado as a partner, as one of the partners had decided to leave the business.  We jumped at the opportunity, knowing that we could be a part of helping families journey through the loss of their beloved pets and educating the community as to what their options were.  

Through the years we have learned so much about the grief process and how to help our families through it.  One of the most important things we did to turn a conference room into a family viewing room.  Now at our new location we have 3 beautiful, comfortable and completely private family rooms.  One is dedicated to our kitty families, one is large enough to hold larger pets and groups and the third is our overflow room for smaller pets.  

We also offer after hours, Sundays and holidays by appointment, as our philosophy is, "Our pets do not necessarily pick convenient times to pass, any more than we as humans do". 

We offer pick up services at home or at veterinary clinics at no charge.  Veterinarians and their clients can reserve one of our family rooms to do a euthanasia here if they are uneasy doing it at home and don’t want to go the clinic.  This gives families the opportunity to spend all the time they need to say final goodbyes.

It is important for us to remember that it is normal to grieve the loss of our pets and the loss is very real.  You should never let anyone convince you that your grief is unjustified just because they are a pet. So often we hear the phrase, “I lost my mom (dad, sister, brother) etc. and this is much more difficult for me.  It is normal for us to feel this way because they hold a very special place in our hearts.  They provide us with unconditional love and acceptance.  They are completely dependent on us for their care.  They understand us and comfort us in ways that most humans cannot.  

Sometimes younger children and young adults have difficulty with their grief.  We often tell our families to encourage them to talk, to cry, to write stories or poems and to draw pictures.  These things will help them get through their journey.  

For adults, it can be helpful to look at pictures and to also write stories and poems as we journey through the grief.  It helps us to be able to smile at the good times more often and the memories help sustain us until the time when only the good memories remain.

It is important to know that our other pets will grieve along with us and to understand that sometimes their grief is exhibited in bad behavior.  They are unable to express their grief as we do and so it is not uncommon for them to be naughty to express their grief.  It is also not uncommon for pets that are not normally clingy to suddenly become so.  

If in the end, the grief is too great, there are many local resources for group therapy, individual therapy or even phone support.  We would be happy to recommend any of these to anyone that inquires.  

It is also important to know that you have options.  Most people think that they have to use the service that their veterinarian is associated with.  Please know that you do have a choice and it is just a matter of letting your vet clinic know who you have chosen to help usher your beloved pet across the Rainbow Bridge.

Our memorial center is located at 27292 County Rd 13, Johnstown, CO 80534 and our telephone number is 970-962-9200, email is and website is We have an open door policy.  Anyone is welcome and encouraged to visit and take a tour and inquire as to our processes.