Pet Cremation Demystified. Part 9 of 9

By Patrick Couture
Director of Resting Paws Cemetery & Crematorium Inc.

Now that you are informed, don’t feel stupid about asking pertinent questions.

The first question you should ask is

Can you hold my pet until I can think clearly and make a decision? The reaction to this question will surprise you.

What are the after care options available?

Did someone at this clinic visit the establishment you are referring me to use?

Why do you prefer the provider you told me about?

How long will it take to get the ashes returned?  

Is it possible for me to witness the cremation?

Are there any local alternatives?

Can I bring my pet there personally?

What type of cremation do I get with an ash return? Remember all the terms used for semi-private (Individual is what you will hear the most as it is misinterpreted by all as being a Private Cremation). When in actual fact it is a Semi-Private.

Some sites will say to ask if you are a member of this or that organisation? If you read this series, you know what our thoughts are on this subject.

If during this questioning period you get a lot of hesitation to answers and unknowns, do yourself a favor and do your research.  Ask the clinic to hold your pet until you can think clearly and make a proper decision. After all you have been a faithful client to them for many years and this is a relatively small request. Now take this time to sit down with loved ones, plan out your wishes and make an informed decision.

Many people think that they can’t get their pets released to them after they have been euthanized at a clinic. This is a myth, veterinary clinics should have you sign a release form prior to performing the euthanasia and on that form there is a section for your wishes for the aftercare. Most clinics have aftercare containers for home return but for larger pets it can be more challenging. For cats, they can simply be placed in their carrier with a towel.

If you opt for a communal cremation, don’t be distraught, most people selecting a communal cremation with no ash return still care very much of what happens to ashes of their pets. Take the time to look at all the providers’ websites and see what they do with them. All of them perform communal cremations regardless if it is advertised or not.  We at Resting Paws have a co-located Cemetery and wooded area (15 acres in total) and will scatter all ashes within it. You can even buy a little name plate to place on a memory tower in the area of scattering.

If you are well prepared you can bring your pet directly to us either at the crematory or office. By doing so you are cutting out 5 steps in the process and you are completely in charge. Many people that have brought us their pet for a communal cremation left with confidence knowing that their pet would remain in Ottawa in a location they can visit. If you choose a private or semi-private witnessed cremation you then remove all doubts and return home with your ashes.

I hope you learned something about pet aftercare and will be better prepared when the time comes.

When emotions are involved it is a normal reaction for people to answer your questions by anticipating what you want to hear as to not further escalate those emotions. It is also a normal in these circumstances that you hear what you want to hear and not what is actually said.

In the next posts we will discuss other aftercare options such as burial / mass burial and ash scattering.

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