While it’s the last thing a pet parent wants to think or talk about, learning a bit about cremation before the time comes can help make the difficult hours around a pet’s passage a little less scary, stressful and painful.
If there’s a #1 recommendation, Michael Remsing, VP and CFO of the multiple award-winning Dignified Pet Services in Tualatin, says “Tour the facilities. See for yourself the procedures followed throughout the process.” Following, Remsing addresses some of the questions he hears most.
Q Can my pet be picked up and transported to the crematorium, or do I need to take her?
A Yes. In fact, whatever the family is most interested in and comfortable with should be available, from pick up, to meeting at the facility, 24/7.
Q If I want my pet to be cremated separately, how do I really know I’m getting his or her ashes back? Why does it cost more?
A Families can personally witness the entire process from beginning to end, says Remsing, and many do. “We’ve had monks doing services on site,” he adds, describing one of many ways people engage in the process. “You can help place the animal in the crematorium and take the ashes out after.”
This costs more, Remsing explains, because these families are “first in, first out. The family can be there the whole time and take their pet home the same day.”
For those who prefer to be less involved, there are three steps at each point in the process at Dignified, including the pet being identified by two staff members at each point. There is a tag on the pet at all times, which also accompanies the death report.
Q If I send a toy along with my sweetpea, or wrap him in a blanket, will they “go” with him?
A “Absolutely,” says Remsing. In fact, anything on or with the pet will go with him or her. “When a pet has a collar we let the family know, as the buckle will be among the cremains which, if you’re not prepared for that, can be upsetting.”
Q Will my pet be handled by loving hands?
A “We treat every pet like our own,” says Remsing, “with absolute respect the whole time they are in our care.”
Q How soon can I get the ashes back?
A Typically within 48 to 72 hours, but often sooner.
Q What will the ashes be contained in?
A “Because so many families choose to scattered their pet’s ashes, we provide a low-cost option, a tin with the ashes sealed in a bag inside. But there are many urns from which to choose.”
Finding the right help
• Look for longevity. Find out how long in business, what the reviews say, and how they do what they do (protocols and procedures). While this last may seem clinical given the subject matter, after the fact, having known the procedures followed can provide a great deal of comfort.
• The website should feel good to you, and provide answers to many of the questions featured here.
• Communication from management or staff should be clear, informative, and compassionate.
• Service options should fit YOUR needs. As much as possible, think ahead about what is most important to you. Not all businesses offer the same services for transport, home euthanasia, memorials and/or support. During the hours before, during and after the death of a loved one, you should be able to focus wholly on your love and loss.
Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her 3-pack, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.