When a pet dies, the owner must make a difficult decision concerning what to do with the animal’s remains. One option is burial. Cremation is the other option that pet owners must consider after their animal passes.
If you opt to cremate a pet, you can bring your pet to the veterinary clinic for pick up, or you may opt to deliver the pet to the crematorium yourself. Some owners worry that others may not treat their pet’s remains with respect, so if this is a concern for you, you may opt for the latter. Many crematoriums will allow the owner to place the pet on the tray that slides into the cremation unit; you will be the last person to handle your animal.
The cost of cremation varies according to several factors, including size, private or combined cremation and whether you wish to have the ashes returned to you.
A private cremation — meaning your pet is cremated alone — is the most expensive option. Typically, an individual will opt for a private cremation in the event that they wish to have the ashes returned. Some facilities charge according to the pet’s weight; others charge a flat fee. The cost for a private cremation typically ranges from $100 and $200 USD.
A combined or group cremation occurs when multiple pets are cremated simultaneously. Sometimes, the crematory will place metal dividers between the animals, which enables you to have your pet’s ashes returned. In other cases, the ashes are combined and each pet owner gets a portion. The third scenario: your pet’s ashes are not returned.
There is a lot of variation when it comes to the method for handling remains that are not returned to the owner. This is an important consideration. Some crematoriums will bury or spread the ashes in a publicly-accessible pet memorial area. Others will bury or spread the ashes in a mass grave that’s not publicly-accessible. In other instances, the remains are scattered at sea; some companies allow owners to come on the boat trip; others do not.
If you opt to have the ashes returned, they’re typically returned to the veterinary clinic within approximately one week. If you opted to hand-deliver the remains to the crematorium, you may be asked to collect the ashes in person.
If you’ve purchased an urn, you may opt to include this with your pet’s remains; the ashes will be placed in the urn and returned to you. Otherwise, the ashes will be placed inside a sealed plastic bag, which is then placed inside some sort of container. In one instance, the ashes were returned to me in a cardboard box, but this is not typical. Generally, the ashes are placed in some sort of simple container. My dog’s ashes were placed inside a plastic bag that was enclosed within a decorative tin that was taped closed. In another instance, my cat’s ashes were placed inside a small wooden box that had her name engraved on the lid. The ashes were contained within a bag, which was placed inside a cardboard box; the cardboard box was inside the wooden box.
The ashes may also be scattered. This is a personal decision. Some pet owners prefer to keep the ashes in an urn, whereas others opt to scatter them in a special location.
Memorial gardens are a very popular choice (for burials and scattering ashes.) The ashes are mixed with the soil and the molecules that once formed your pet’s body are absorbed by the plants. The pet lives on as part of the garden. This is appealing to many pet owners, as the garden becomes a thing of beauty, comfort and life.
There are also some more unusual options for a pet’s ashes. For a few thousand dollars, the ashes can be compressed and heated, transforming the carbon into a synthetic diamond. Pet owners can purchase tiny urn pendants, which can be filled with a small amount of the pet’s ashes. The ashes can also be integrated into a piece of glasswork. Two pieces of glass are melted and fused together, with the ashes trapped between the layers. This can be done to create a pendant or a larger piece of glass art. The ashes can be mixed with paint that’s used to create a memorial painting of the pet.
There are many, many options when it comes to handling your pet’s ashes; the “right” choice is a very personal decision.
Some people’s religious beliefs prohibit cremation, and in many instances, this belief is extended to their pets too. Read PetLvr’s related article with information on the pros and cons of burying a pet.
Photo Source: Mihai Domitru on Sxc.hu