When a beloved pet passes away in any family, feelings of sadness, grief and loss usually take root for a time, and the thought of choosing a pet crematory is often a low priority. This is not surprising, as many are greatly conflicted when dealing with the loss of a pet. It is for this reason that most veterinarian offices are ready to compassionately guide their clients to a reputable establishment that offers pet crematory services, and some veterinarian clinics are even equipped to conduct cremations themselves. But, as with in all lines of business, the pet crematory industry is occasionally hampered by less-than-forthright operators whose practices may unfortunately call into question the motives and methods of everyone in the profession. So that they know who to trust in their time of sorrow over the loss of a faithful friend, pet owners who are thinking of cremating a pet when the time comes would do well to know a few of the hallmarks of a pet crematory that is a dependable, reputable member of its industry. We list in this article, just a few of the things a pet owner should look for when hiring a pet crematory.
Most pet crematories earn the bulk of their business through referrals from veterinarians and, in fact, they will often employers couriers who deliver client pets’ remains to and from a veterinarian’s office, thereby making the cremation process seamless for the pet owner. For this reason many pet crematory clients never have an opportunity to witness the cremation of their pet first-hand (and many, understandably, have no desire to do so) and, in fact, many a client will never even be able to say, exactly, the cremation was performed. This feature of the business of pet crematories leaves, unfortunately, plenty of opportunities for fraud and deception. To protect themselves – and the dignity of their beloved pet – pet owners would do well to make at least telephone contact with their pet crematory before the service it to be performed, and they should not hesitate to ask for the establishment’s policy on allowing clients to witness the cremation of their pets. Any pet crematory that happily invites customers to tour their facilities and to witness their cremation is likely an extremely trustworthy outfit that is worthy of a contract. This is not to say, however, that policies prohibiting witnesses from attending a cremation are a sign of potential corruption. Companies may, in fact, have very legitimate reasons for such rules. But, that said, customers would do well to quiz the pet crematory’s manager’s fairly thoroughly about these reasons if they are, indeed, told customers are not allowed to view their pet’s cremation.
Almost any reputable pet crematory will be set up to offer same-day or next day service if requested. (There may be an additional charge for this, of course.) Even if a potential client is not necessarily interested in receiving his or her pet’s remains back quickly, asking for a pet crematory’s response to inquiries about same day service can be wise thing to do. If a pet crematory is reluctant to offer fast service upon request (and willingness to pay any additional charges) this could be a sign that the company engages in the practice of waiting until it has a number of animals to cremate and then conducting the procedure on all of them at once and returning to owners remains that are from a number of different pets.
This leads us to the next important consideration when choosing a pet crematory: single cremation. Any reputable pet crematory will offer nothing but single cremation for its clients; this means that all animal remains in their care will be cremated individually rather than as a large group. (It should be noted that many reputable crematories do cremate more than one pet in a single cremation session, but, in these cases, each animal’s remains are placed in their own compartment during the procedure so that the remains will not be mixed with the others. These types of cremations still qualify as single cremations. This practice is not suitable for human remains, of course, but in the pet cremation industry it is quite common and quite acceptable.)
Yet another sign of a reputable pet crematory is the establishment’s policy toward identification of remains. A good pet crematory will be happy to explain (often even before you ask) its procedures for assuring that the remains you receive from the cremation of your pet are, indeed, those of your pet. All pet crematories will vary somewhat in their policies and procedures in this regard, but customers should be on the lookout for an easy to understand, simple, verifiable and thorough procedure – one backed by a good number of safeguards against human error. Questioning a pet crematory’s identification policy is especially important in situations in which the pet’s remains will be delivered two and from a veterinarian’s office via courier.
Finally, perhaps the most important thing to look for in a pet crematory is, simply put, compassion. Anyone on the staff of a pet crematory, from a receptionist to a technician, should consistently exhibit sympathy and understanding for the emotional vulnerability of their clients and for the need to conduct their business with the utmost of pride and dignity. A representative of the pet crematory should also be well informed, and ready to provide information on every aspect of the pet cremation – from the initial cremation, to the final selection of a pet cremation ash urn (even if they do not carry such items). Anything less than this from any employee of a pet crematory should raise significant questions in the potential client’s mind. Fortunately all reports say that the vast majority of pet crematories in operation in the United States today have caring employees who certainly make sure their establishment fills the bill well on this requirement.