BLACK HAWK — Taz was the definition of love.

He loved being in the garage with his dad. He loved bear hugs and he was a good porch dog.

Yes, Taz was a dog, but he was also part of someone’s family. The previous sentiments were included in Taz’s obituary.

Losing a pet can be one the most difficult experiences in people’s lives.

Chandra and David Finn can relate. The Sturgis couple have lost three dogs over the years.

The Finns now offer services to help ease the pain people feel after losing a beloved furry member of their family.

Resting Pawz Pet Cremation opened in October in Black Hawk and specializes in humane and gentle pet cremation as well as providing pet remembrances such as urns, jewelry, and paw prints to honor the life of a beloved pet.

“We want this experience to be positive and let people know that their pet will be treated with the utmost respect, care and dignity,” Chandra Finn said.

Chandra had worked for Northern Hills Eye Care before the couple decided to open Resting Pawz. She said it was difficult to leave that job.

“We have a passion for pets and people who have pets,” she said.

David had worked redi-mix concrete jobs for years and now works for Murphy Petroleum.

The couple, who recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, have no “human” children, but many pets they consider their children,

“We don’t go anywhere without our dogs,” David said.

The Finns have lost dogs and say they have received varying degrees of care.

“We knew what we would want, and I wanted to bring that to the people,” Chandra said. “It’s nice to be able to do that for people in this area because it’s needed.”

Chandra said it is so fulfilling to sit down with a pet owner who has lost their pet and talk about the pet.

“They come in here crying and as we talk, they start smiling and laughing because they are remembering their pet,” she said.

The Finns built a new building in Black Hawk which houses their crematory and office. They purchased a top-of-the-line cremator for Resting Pawz. David said it is the same cremator that funeral homes use for human cremation.

The cremator sits in the rear of the building and that area of the building has a garage door opening so that pets can be transferred from a vehicle to the cremation prep area with dignity, David said.

“I learned from watching at some area funeral homes that they don’t unload caskets out in the open. This way, we can back the car in here and everything is inside behind closed doors. We want to be respectful to the animal,” he said.

The prep area also has a walk-in cooler instead of a chest freezer to store animals who have passed.

“Some people have a hard time of their pet going into a freezer. It doesn’t matter if you are an animal or a human, you have to be chilled when you die. We wanted something that was a little more respectful than a freezer,” David said.

The urns offered are actually made from wood by a former logger from Deadwood.

“We wanted something that when someone sees it shows the care and respect, we have for people’s pets,” he said. “No one else in the area gives the customer options for what they want their beloved pet to be in.”

Along with the pet cremains, the pet owner receives a certificate of cremation, a paw print, nose print, a lock of hair from the animal and a packet of forget-me-not flower seeds.

The Finns’ goal is to bring peace of mind to the pet owner that their beloved pet has been treated with dignity and loving care on their journey to the rainbow bridge.

“It feels good to help people in this way. It feels right in my soul,” Chandra said.

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