In most cases, your pet's body will be entrused to the care of your veterinarian until you make a decision about what you want to do. If you feel you are not able to make an immediate decision, ask them to hold your pet's body for you for a couple of days until you provide further instructions. Most animal clinics are equipped to do this without difficulty and are more than happy to provide assistance with making final arrangements.
Cremation is an increasingly popular choice and can be arranged through your vet clinic or directly with any company specializing in pet cremation and burial. (Check your local phone directory or ask your veterinarian.) There are two types of cremation: private and general.
Private cremation is when your pet is cremated on its own, and the ashes (or cremains) are returned to you in a small cardboard container or a specially selected urn. If you wish to scatter the ashes in your garden or any other special place, you may feel free to do so. Some pet owners choose to keep the ashes indefinitely. This is a personal choice and one that only you can make. The cost of a private cremation ranges from approximately $50 for a cat to upwards of $120 or more for a very large breed dog. Cost also varies according to your choice of urn and the weight of the animal.
General cremation or "group" cremation is when your pet is cremated with others. In this case, the ashes cannot be returned to you. Some people choose not to have the ashes returned. This is a less expensive alternative.
As part of the Calgary Pet Loss Support Group's "Life-to-Life" program, all animal cremation facilities in the area now scatter the ashes of general cremations on farmer's fields or in special gardens. (This includes the ashes of homeless pets from the local animal shelter.) It is felt that this practice helps complete the full cycle of life and provides a dignified resting place for our beloved companion animals. Ask your cremation provider what they do with the ashes from general cremations if their final destination is of concern to you.
The cost of a general cremation varies according to the weight of the animal. General cremation of a small cat usually starts at about $30. Cremating a large breed dog will cost more.
Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin