It started over twenty years ago with my beloved Venus, a Lab/Pit mix, who I found late one night lost and homeless on the streets of New York City. I brought her home and eventually we moved to Arizona. We spent the next 10 years together. She was one bossy bitch and I adored her… After she died, I had her cremated at a local funeral home for pets. Coincidentally the local NPR station was doing a segment on the rising popularity of animal funerals and they wanted to feature Venus. We made national news! Listen Here.

A year before she died, Venus and I found handsome Angelo (a fifty-pound black and tan mutt) and later adopted the wild gypsy girl Juno (another fifty-pound black and tan mutt) who I rescued from the city pound. Isis, a beautiful black feral cat, who had adopted me when I first moved to Arizona put up with us all, then quite unexpectedly, my beloved Angelo died of a seizure. I was in shock. The next day, Otto offered to make a memorial for Angelo. He imagined using river rock, embedded with a vessel underneath for the ashes. The result was beautiful — a perfect tribute to Angelo that befit him so much more meaningfully.

We soon realized that others were wanting the same thing, and that this could be a business — and a much needed one for pet owners like me who want an elegant, affordable memorial for their beloved pets. And since I believe in the concept of acknowledgement, the idea evolved from pet memorials to any event of significance that should be memorialized. So, Angel Rock Memorials was born, and Angelo lives on! – Kelley

Kelley Crittenden – Photo by Tami Martin


The birth of Angel Rock was inspired by the death of Angelo, which was a major emotional event for Kelley. I didn’t know how to console her, so the morning after as we sat in her garden, I offered to make a memorial for Angelo, one that would be permanent and able to withstand being outdoors, yet worthy enough to take with her when she moves. I know about glass, and I know about stone, as I’ve worked with these materials for decades as an artist and sculptor.

In the process of making Angelo’s memorial, we received a tremendous response from friends: it seems nearly everyone had ashes of their pets hidden away in a closet waiting for some sort of appropriate vessel or memorial. Angelo’s stone very naturally led to the creation of similar memorials for friends’ pets. Then we expanded our memorial offerings to include other celebrations… weddings, anniversaries, graduations. This is how Angel Rock Memorials was born.    – Otto

Otto Rigan – www.ottoriganstudio.com


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