WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The loss of a family pet can be a difficult time. Some people opt to cremate their animals to keep a part of them – but imagine finding out you’ll never see those ashes.
“I’m distraught. [They] lost our loved one and we’ll never get her back again,” Chris Holbrook told WGHP. “She was our love and joy.”
Cally was Holbrook and his wife Gail’s beloved dog. After their daughter passed away, Cally was a source of comfort.
“[She] helped us cope with our daughter’s death. I know that seems funny, but different people cope with things different ways,” Holbrook said.
Putting Cally down was a difficult decision. Holbrook said they couldn’t stand seeing her suffer anymore, but had a plan to keep Cally close to them.
“When me and my wife passed away, [the dogs] were going to go in the caskets with us,” he said. “That’s how much they meant to us.”
Then they got a call from the Carolina Vet Specialists in Winston-Salem, where they had taken Cally.
“[A woman] told my wife that Cally had been put in general cremation, to where she was cremated with all of the other pets, instead of getting her remains back to us,” Holbrook says.
He showed WGHP the paper, indicating Cally was supposed to have been cremated individually and then returned to the family. Heartbroken, he says, he just couldn’t let it go.
“I went back and saw the doctor who was in charge of the facility,” Holbrook said. “He came out and talked to me and said he was so sorry that this had happened. He apologized and everything.”
Holbrook says Dr. Steven Cogar, the head of the facility, tried to make some things right. He showed WGHP the $155 refund made to the family for the cremation services.
“That’s not getting us our baby back. I know to some people, dogs aren’t important, but not to me and my wife,” he said. “I just want people to be aware. And I hope and pray this never happens again to anyone. It’s not right. They took something from us that we will never get back.”
Cogar told WGHP he would not comment on patients or their owners.