Tag Archives: Pet Cremation

Pet Cremation: Know Your Options Ahead of Time

Where will you go when the time comes to say good-bye to your beloved pet?  Most people will go to their trusted Pet Care Provider who will hopefully usher them through this crossroads of emotion and decision making with love, support and dignity.  It is important to know that Pet Care Providers are just that and may not know your preferences on the after life care you prefer for your beloved pet.

While pet cemeteries have been available in many communities, burial within a pet cemetery can be a very expensive option.   Many may still choose to bury their pet in the “back forty” but most communities now have very strict health department  zoning restrictions on pet burial.  Today families have become more mobile and may desire the ability to take their family pet’s remains with them if they re-locate.  All are reasons that more and more pet owners are choosing cremation and as many as 70 percent of those owners are choosing to receive their pets ashes after the cremation.  Just 10 years ago only 25 percent chose this option.

Knowing that cremation is your choice isn’t the last step in this decision.  Many pet owners do not realize that there is also a menu of options for the pet cremation.  Pet cremation usually falls within three main categories;  mass cremation, individual cremation and private cremation.

Mass Cremation – As the name implies this is the cremation of many animals at one time, within a single crematory session.  Pet crematories can be very large with a capacity of several hundred to thousands of  pounds of weight.  These animals come from a variety of clinics, animal shelters, etc and when the cremation is completed the ashes are gathered and taken away to be disposed of by the crematory company,  generally in their private landfill.  This option should be the least expensive option for the pet owner and is a sanitary and decent way to dispose of the pet if retaining the ashes is not desired.  It is important for pet owners to know that if they do not specify otherwise this is the option that will be chosen for their pet if they request that their pet care provider “just take care of it”.

Individual Cremation – The individual cremation is a source of some confusion for pet owners and can be very deceiving.  Individual cremation simply means that the ashes that are returned to the pet owner are intended to be only the ashes of their beloved pet.  Generally with an individual pet cremation, the animal is tagged with a metal tag and placed within their own individual metal “tray” in the crematory.  Depending upon the volume of the particular crematory there can be many animals within one session, however the animals are identified and separated.  When the session is complete, the ashes are processed, bagged,  and readied to be shipped back to the Pet Care Provider or individual pet owner depending on the circumstance of its arrival to the crematory.  Many pet owners believe that an individual cremation means that their pet was cremated in a single session by itself  and then given back to them as a guarantee that these ashes are their pets ashes alone.   The only way to make absolutely sure that is the case is with the following option and that is the Private Cremation.

Private Cremation – A private cremation provides the option for the pet to be cremated entirely alone within the cremation chamber ensuring that there are no other ashes mixed within the pets ashes.  Often there will be a tag with identifiying numbers that will be placed on the pet and will go through the crematory process with him and returned with the obvious characteristics of the crematory process on the tag as an extra assurance.  Many times the crematorium facilities will allow for a special blanket or toy to accompany the pet and some crematoriums now have waiting room facilities or facilities that allow for a witnessed private cremation.  Private cremations are becoming more popular as pet funeral homes are beginning to pop up across our landscape.  Pet funeral homes often can arrange for pick up of the pet at the private home or Pet Care Provider as well.  Sixty five percent of private cremations are from Pet Care Provider affiliates so it is important to discuss with your Veterinarian what crematory company he has an affiliation with and/or does he have a pet funeral home that he would recommend if what you require is the absolute assurance that a Private Cremation will take place.  The prices for these services should also be discussed in advance as they can vary greatly.

While it is a difficult subject to contemplate for every pet owner,  it is best to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible before the time comes.  Take the time to discuss your crematory options with your Pet Care Provider or with your local pet funeral home or crematory, make sure that you are clear on what it is they provide, have them describe their processes in detail and make sure that those services meet your expectations. 

As difficult as this can be, it is very important that pet owners are prepared with this knowledge before the agonizing time of the loss of a pet.  The loss of a pet is a very emotional and devastating time making these decisions all the more difficult.


A Promise Kept; his ashes are where he most loved to be…

 Benny Man was our first rescue dog.  He came to us from a breeder whose life had become more complicated and she could no longer care for him the way she should have.  He wasn’t for sale but when my husband and I met him and saw his condition we made her a very generous offer and she, knowing that she had over-used him as a stud and wasn’t giving him the care that he needed,  happily accepted our offer.  Benny was seven years old,  deaf and  emmaciated from a flea infestation which had compounded into a tape worm.  Our veterinarian was shocked by his condition and was able to remove many teeth which had caused the ear infections and, after months of tender loving care,  Benny was once again  able to hear and, to our surprise,   had a beautiful white coat!  We had thought that Benny Man was a cream colored dog but he had lived around so much cigarette smoke that his coat had become discolored and dull.

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A Dog Named “Beau”

A bereaved young woman called me the other day to order one of our Soft-Hearted Pillow Pet Urns for her newly departed very best buddy, Beau.  As is usually the case,  she and I barely made it through the conversation in one piece.   Later she sent me a beautiful tribute she had created for her friend, Beau, which included a cute photograph of her buddy along with the poem, “Beau”, written by Jimmy Stewart.
I was reminded of the night that Jimmy Stewart read that poem on the Johnny Carson Show; I think there wasn’t a dry eye in the nation that night or around the water cooler the next day. 

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“Here Lizard, Lizard, Lizard” by Etta McCadden

It is always sad when a “Cultural Icon” passes, I’m not talking about the Michael Jackson’s or the Elvis Presley’s.  I’m referring to the subtle everyday heroes who have touched our lives with catch phrases that will live forever in our hearts.           

Billy Mays, Morris the Cat, Clara Pella (Where’s the beef) and now Gidget of “Yo Quiero Taco Bell!” fame.  How do you not fall in love with a face as beautiful as this sweet dog? As you ooh and aah at the sight of a Chihuahua’s enticing eyes, you then have to fall down laughing when Gidget opens her mouth and in an authoritative voice says “Yo Quiero Taco Bell”.        

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Sunscreen For Pets – By Etta McCadden/Director of New Account Management, Soft-Hearted Products

As I prepare to work in my garden pulling weeds, a job that no one in my house seems to have any interest in (or  the eye sight sharp enough to notice the unsightly over-growth), I have to tell my girls that they have to stay indoors and not go outside to help Mommy.
First let me tell you about my girls, I have two.  The eldest is a toy Shih Tzu named Muffin and her pet, a big black Lab named Cupcake.  They are wonderful companions and try to help me with all of my chores.  Muffin is white with a little tan thrown in and very fair-skinned while Cupcake is, well, black.
I have blond hair and very fair skin, so excessive sun is not a good thing.  I have learned, the hard way, the importance of sun screen and make sure that I am always covered with enough before going out into the Florida sun.  I have learned while living here in “The Sunshine State” that pets get sunburned too!

Teaching Children How to Grieve, Using The Death of a Pet to Help Children Grow – Angela Gartner – 7/2009

At age 4, Christian Knight had his first experience with death. His mother, Danielle Knight, found his fish floating upside down in the small aquarium in their home. To ease his distress, Danielle explained to her son that his fish had died and was not coming back. Whether your child’s pet is a fish, dog or cat, the death of a pet can be traumatic. Helping your child understand how to deal with his or her grief is important.  Death is not an easy notion for a child to understand, especiallywhen a close member of the family, like a pet has died or is dying. “It is important to understand that the period of time from birth to old age is much shorter for pets than for people,” says Dr. Carol Osborne, D.V.M., holistic veterinarian in Chagrin Falls.  The developmental age of the child and the situation surrounding the pet’s death are factors for a parent to consider when talking with their child about a pet’s death.

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This week I received a call from a grieving pet owner requesting detailed information about our Soft-Hearted Pillow Pet Urn.  While this is not an unusual occurence, the circumstances of the call were.

This family had lost their cat, their pal of many years just days before the call.  The woman was stealing up the nerve to make the trip to her veterinarians office to pick up her cat’s cremated remains.  It has been my personal experience , which is echoed by the sentiments of my customers , that this step of picking up the ashes can be a very traumatic one; second only to the trip to the veterinarian’s office for the euthanasia if those were the circumstances of the loss.  This woman went on to tell me that this cat had been the friend and constant companion of her 11 year old son.  This boy, this eleven year old, had gone online searching for solace on the loss of his companion as well as a suitable memorial for him.  His mother told me that her son had not been able  to sleep without  his cat friend snuggled next to him as he had done every night for the last eleven years. 

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