There’s no doubt that sharing our lives with companion animals provides enrichment, growth and love beyond our wildest imaginations. While they permanently take up residence within our hearts, eventually we are all forced to face the release of their physical presence. No doubt, this experience is confusing, painful, stressful and full of heartache. Big decisions loom. How will they make their transition? How will their body be taken care of? Cremation is one of the most popular AfterCare options for pets today. However, so often pet crematories are hidden behind a cloak of secrecy. Closed doors and forbidden public visits are common throughout the industry.
However, respectful and reverent pet crematories do exist. Businesses run by people full of heart and passion for providing the best AfterCare possible. Knowing the differences between the three cremation options and asking key questions can be very helpful in choosing a crematory.
100% Private cremation is just that — one animal in the cremation unit at a time. Cremains (“ashes”) are returned to the family.
Group or Communal Cremation
Many animals in the cremation chamber. Cremains are not returned as they are completely co-mingled and would be impossible to separate. Most commonly, these ashes are either respectfully scattered (at a pet cemetery, sea, open land or garden) or taken to a landfill.
Partitioned is a hybrid between Group and Private. Multiple animals are placed within the unit but separated by a small barrier or space. Cremains are returned to the family. With Partitioned cremation, there is some active co-mingling of the cremains that occurs within the cremation unit so some crematories feel this is an unacceptable practice and don’t offer it.
What’s important to know is that because Partitioned is much more economical than 100% Private, many times it is the only option besides Group offered to a family. If 100% Private cremation is desired, it is very important to express those wishes.
To make it even more confusing, the terminology labeling the different cremation options is varied and inconsistent. Be aware that Private and Individual cremation are both used to refer to 100% Private or Partitioned.
There is a lot of fear out there about what exactly is going to happen with our companions during their cremation process. As there should be. Sadly, there are many crematories where the line between being a dignified pet memorial service and waste disposal company is blurred. We are very passionate about partnering up with AfterCare services that offer reverent, respectful cremation and burial services.
♥Can 100% Private cremations be witnessed?
♥Is there an open door policy for the public? What happens to the cremains of pets cremated communally?
♥If the cremated remains of those cremated communally are scattered, can those areas be visited?
♥Can cremains be returned within a time frame to accommodate the family’s wishes?
♥What tracking system is used to guarantee animals are identifiable throughout the process of Private (or Partitioned) cremation?
Everyone can ask these questions of their crematory! Using the crematory your vet uses? Find out who they use and call them. Your inquiries should be met with compassion, patience and thorough explanations. Anything short of that is a red flag.
The delicate subject of the latter days of our pet’s life cycle is never an easy one to tackle. Usually filled with questions, heartbreak and stress, families can find comfort knowing that our doctors are honored to help. We get your questions answered, educate, support and most importantly, help ensure your companion animal transitions with comfort and dignity in the privacy of home. It’s the least we can do to help these incredible cats and dogs that take up residence in our hearts.