The world's first (only?) pet memorial spaceflight service is now operational.
Via Celestis Pets, which bills itself as "the most unique pet memorial service in the universe":
Celestis pets is a new service from that team that introduced the world to memorial spaceflights in 1995. Celestis, Inc. has conducted twelve memorial spaceflights, launching human cremated remains to space, Earth orbit, and even to the Moon!
For years, Celestis has received inquiries from pet owners around the world seeking the opportunity to honor their special animal companions with a final journey among the stars. Celestis Pets is pleased to offer this service, conducted by an experienced team of pet-loving aerospace professionals. Celestis Pets is the most compelling pet memorial service on or off the planet.
Pet owners can currently choose from four pet memorial spaceflight options. The cheapest is the Earth Rise service, which starts at $995. Pricier packages include the Earth Orbit ($4,995) and the Luna ($12,500). Also at the $12,500 price point is the Voyager package, which, in keeping with the interstellar tradition NASA's eponymous spacecraft, "launches your pet on a voyage through deepest space, leaving the Earth-Moon system on a permanent celestial journey."
Speaking with the authority that comes with having known about Celestis Pets for all of twenty minutes and taking the prospect of pet memorial spaceflight services entirely too seriously, it is my expert opinion that the best packages are the Earth Rise and the Voyager. The former buys your pet a roundtrip visit to the edge of space, after which the flight capsule in which the remains are held is returned to you, as a keepsake. The latter is clearly superior to the comparably priced Luna; if you're going to drop 12-grand on a journey through space, you might as well go big. Why settle for the moon when you could send your pet soaring through interstellar space, right?
As for the Earth Orbit, it sounds like a bit of a rip off to us. The package may buy your pet temporary insertion into our planet's orbit, but it eventually "reenters the atmosphere, harmlessly vaporizing like a shooting star in final tribute." Which, sure, may be nice if you buy into the symbolism of shooting stars, but for five grand you could send FIVE of your animals on a trip to space (with the Earth Rise package) and, when all is said and done, still have the vessels containing your pets' remains to show for it.
Also, we say "your pets remains," but what we really mean is a "representative sample," which Celestis Pets defines as "approximately one gram of the cremated remains (or a lock of hair) of your pet." So yeah. There's that, too.