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'': Artist helps people cope with loss of a pet

Chantal Gladu Depatie's pet memorials are treasured keepsakes. 'Loss of a pet is like losing a family member,' she says
Chantal Gladu Depatie's one-of-a kind memorials have become so popular, she is in the process of rebranding her business with the name Treasured Pet Keepsakes by Chantal. 

Grieving for a lost pet is only human. A Sudbury artist understands the unique bond people share with their furry companions and the sadness felt when they die because she is a pet owner herself.

"Loss of a pet is like losing a family member," said Chantal Gladu Depatie, who specializes in pet portraits. "I lost my shih tzu, Meeka, in November, when she was 15."

She applies her talent as an artist to help people cope with their loss by creating unique urns for pets' ashes. 

It is an extension of her hobby and part-time home-based business painting dog and cat faces on wine glasses, mugs and Christmas ornaments. 

After a friend asked Chantal Gladu Depatie to paint their pet's likeness on an urn,  she started to get other requests from others for these keepsake treasures.

"It just grew from there. I posted it on Facebook and people kept asking more and more for urns. 

Chantal Gladu Depatie with her new puppy, Meeka. She knows losing a pet is like losing a family member. Supplied

The hand-painted one-of-a kind memorials have become so popular, she is in the process of rebranding her business with the name Treasured Pet Keepsakes by Chantal

Most of her customers live in Ontario, but Gladu Depatie said she hopes to expand her business with an Esty online store and by launching a website.

One of her customers posted this comment on social media, "This urn is so beautifully done. It’s the perfect representation of my little man and feels worthy of him. Thank you so much for your beautiful art. I will treasure it always."

The special urns are priced from $150 to $200.

Gladu Depatie, who also does face painting for children at special events, fundraisers for non-profit organizations and birthday parties, takes satisfaction in knowing her art makes people happy.

"I think the keepsake brings people joy … Some people ask me to add a halo or wings or a personal message. People are happy to have something they can hold on to and display. 

"I just did one for a friend recently as a gift for her husband. They had just lost their dog. When I delivered it, they had tears of sadness and happiness."

The couple were able to have closure and now have transferred their love to a new pet, she said.

As Gladu Depatie builds her business in her spare time, the Skead grandmother has a demanding full-time job as executive director at Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Following her graduation from Collège Boréal with a diploma in social work, she completed a placement with the organization. She was hired full time and, after proving herself in various roles, she became the executive director in 2008.

Her job requires a variety of skills including media relations, marketing and fundraising and she often works with other non-profit organizations.

"I understand the importance of all of us working together for the greater community."

Her community work was recognized with the Governor General’s Award in 2002 as well as an Etoile du Collège Boréal award in 2010 and the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award in 2014. In 2018 the Greater Sudbury Women's Business and Professional Club honoured her.

Gladu Depatie and her husband, Daniel, have two Labs and recently adopted a new shih tzu puppy, Meesha. Their blended family includes three children and four grandchildren.

Pet lovers can reach out to Gladu Depatie at [email protected].