In 1998, a chance encounter with a pet parent facing the death of her pet was a defining moment for Coleen. It was the beginning of her vision of how to best meet the needs of pet parents in their desire to mourn, memorialize and pay tribute to their beloved pets when they die. In 2004, the experience of the death of her dog, Mico, guided her in starting Pet Angel Memorial Center, Inc.®, the nation’s first stand-alone pet’s-only funeral home. Soon, publications such as Kates-Boylston’s Pet Loss Insider deemed her the “most well known pet funeral director” and a true “pet loss pioneer.” In 2009, Coleen founded Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, to guide people who wish to provide meaningful pet death care services in their communities, as well to be an educational resource in the pet grief discipline.
Most recently, she received the first Death and Grief Studies Certification specializing in Pet Loss Companioning by Dr. Alan Wolfelt as well as releasing her first book, Pet Parents: A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief. She is also Certified in Thanatology. Coleen is a native of Kansas where she graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing . She shares her home in Indianapolis, IN, with her husband and business partner, Chris Burke, and their three four-legged children, Ellie Mae, Crisco, and Rudy. Coleen co-teaches the Pet Loss Companioning Certification with Joe Dwyer.