Hey Justlost. I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Our vet returned the money spent on the cremation.
It didn't solve the problem but legally it was the least the vet could do from a business perspective only.
We still miss our dog. Whether she was cremated or anything else we will miss her for a long long time because she was smarter than our other dogs. She could unzip zippers, find things the others couldn't , dive and retrieve sunken items at the lake and she remembered people's names. We joked for years that if our dogs were children our oldest would have been a plumber, our youngest would go to beauty school and our middle dog (the one that died) would have had a scholarship to an ivy league school.
What I've learned through this is the pain of losing the dog is some of the deepest grief I've ever experienced in my life. That little critter knitted herself into our souls and I hope it's forever because i never want to forget how amazing she was. Dogs like kids are each so individual and come with unique personalities.
I'm sorry for your loss. Not having my dog's ashes has been hard but not having my dog is significantly harder. For me, she left a 13.5 year mark in my life that will be cherished forever. I'll bet your pet has done the same for you. Hold onto photos, videos and any other memories of your pet. The grief will subside in time and unfortunately you will have to suffer through this challenging period of time.
It's taken us 1 year. My dog died on my birthday last year. I cry while I type this but the tears are more about love than loss. We've also started to look at new rescue dogs and have started the hunt for a new dog that we will love like crazy again. We have two other dogs that will have to welcome the new dog into the pack and sort themselves out as they've had to do before.
I wish you well and I know how deep the feelings of loss can be. My only words of encouragement are that you will get through this.