All Pets At Rest

All Pets At Rest 

I am about to write about something that we all, as pet lovers, really don’t want to think about; even though we know we will all go through it at some point in the future.  The death of our pet is something we really need to open up and both consider and discuss; because not thinking about it in advance can lead to us making uninformed decisions at a time when we are at our most vulnerable.

Sometimes we are given the diagnosis that time is short, sometimes our pets go in for operations and do not come home, sometimes they are tragically taken from us, and other times, we wake or walk in to find they have gone from uspeacefully in their sleep.

Whatever the scenario, the fact is, we need to consider how we intend to care for their body after their death.

So what choices do we have? 

1. home burial

2. individual cremation

3. simple disposal

Some people opt to take their pet home for burial in their garden, but if you don’t have a garden or you may be considering moving house in the near future, then you might prefer to have your pet cremated individually so you can have their ashes to keep or scatter on a favourite walk or place.  The third option is more suited to people who place no significance on their pets body after death – their pet will be disposed of alongside many others and the ashes will often be taken to a licensed landfill site in line with current regulations.  Many companies try and dress this service up as “communal cremation” however in most cases it is a legal but very basic form of disposal.

The difficulty for pet owners is that, if you are not aware of more respectful alternatives, you will just trust your vet when they say that they can organise the final arrangements for your pets body after they die.  Although there are a great many small pet cemeteries and crematoria that offer a personal and caring send-off, I have one such; sadly your vet will most likely use the company that they are contracted to for all of their disposal needs.  What people dont realise is that these companies often get the contract by offering low cost prices to the vet who can upsell this service to their clients (worryingly without making clear they are making a healthy profit for arranging the cremation for you).  In some instances a £45 cremation can be sold for £400 or a £3 cremation for £50.  In my eyes this is wrong and you should know what you are paying for.

It was losing a very much loves old black lab x collie many, many years ago, that directly led me to run my own Pet cemetery and crematorium.

Although independent, I am a member of the Association of private pet cemeteries and crematoria (APPCC) www.appcc.org.uk.  The APPCC has members all around the UK and each member signs up to a Code that means we must clearly describe the services we offer.  This means you know how your pet will be stored, transported, handled and cremated something that is normally not described clearly (if at all) by the national firms that go from vet to vet on a weekly round collecting pets and clinical waste.

When my Poppy died it was finding out after the event that she was treated like waste that made me determined to provide a more dignified send-off.  When a family member dies in the hospital, do the doctors and nurses take care of all of the funeral arrangements? No, of course not!  The family contacts the local funeral directors, who make sure the family gets exactly what they want for the deceased.  Because the larger companies offer financial incentives vets can contract to a firm that is many, many miles away from where you live.  You will normally have to wait about 2 weeks until the van returns to your vet with your pets ashes.

More owners need to understand that they can make the same sort of arrangements for their departed pets; so you know where they are going, how they will be transported and handled, and who will be looking after them. If you compare the basic veterinary service to that provided by a small pet crematorium the differences become obvious; yet increasingly grieving owners are being charged the same if not more for the basic weekly service arranged by their vet than if they dealt with the final arrangements themselves.

Most small pet crematoria will be able to either collect your pet or allow you to take them to the crematorium with very little notice.  Taking your pet yourself enables you to see the place and meet the people you are entrusting your much loved pet to.  You can also have a last goodbye if you wish and take flowers, toys, photos, or anything that means something to you that makes the service more personal.  It also means you will avoid your pet being put into the veterinary practices deep freeze which can be very important to some people.

In my case all cremation services are `individual` this means your pet is alone within the chamber, like a human cremation; and all their ashes are carefully removed and swept from the chamber before another pet is placed inside.

With small crematoria the service is usually much faster too; your pets ashes are placed into your chosen receptacle and made ready for collection or return, within 24-48 hours.

Throughout this process it is much more personal than if your pet is left at the vet.

I hope that after reading this article you will keep it in a safe place, talk it over with your pet owning friends, take it to your training classes, groomers, and consider what you would prefer to do when the time comes.  A more respectful send-off may not be for everyone but, at the very least, it is important that you know what you are paying for so you can make an informed decision rather than go with what the vet offers you.

By arranging the service yourself you can end up with a more dignified and respectful handling, that is actually far more cost effective when you remove the veneer of the service the vets want to sell you.  There will also be no danger of your pets ashes ending up in a landfill site if that is important to you.  I sincerely hope you do not need my kind of service for a very long time, but be assured, when you do, just contact me or one of the other APPCC members and we will always be there for you.

I would be happy to talk to you and answer any of your questions, wherever you might be based, and point you in the right direction so please get in contact if you want any help or advice. God Bless

Sue

All Pets At Rest

Pan Lane Newport

Isle of Wight

PO30 2PJ

01983 525335

For more information and contact details of your nearest APPCC member visit www.appcc.org.uk

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