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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

Saying Goodbye to Your Pet: Pet Cremation

Pets can make such a profound impact on our lives that when a pet passes away, it can feel similar to losing a family member. This can be a difficult time for the family, and closure can be hard to find. Pet cremation is a very tangible option for saying goodbye and a great way to honor pets after they have passed.

When a pet is put to sleep at a veterinarian office, the owner is then asked what they plan to do with their deceased pet. Some will chose to take the pet home for burial (perhaps in the back yard or another acceptable place). Others will chose a cremation option, which many vet clinics offer.

Pet crematoriums are designed specifically for pets, and the process is handled in the same manner as human cremation. The animal's body is placed in a combustible container and is burned in a special furnace designed to produce very high temperatures. The process reduces the body to bones and gases, then the fragments are further reduced to ashes. The remains are transferred to a sealed container or urn.

Some vet clinics in the Chippewa Valley have an on-site pet crematory, however the majority of clinics outsource pet cremation to what is known as a commercial agricultural incinerator. These companies typically come to the vet clinic once per week and make numerous stops at various clinics picking up many cats, dogs, etc. to take back to their facility and cremate. Ultimately the deceased pet cremains return to the local pet clinic for the pet’s owner to claim.

Another option for cremation in the Chippewa Valley also exists through one local funeral. Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center in Altoona can help personalize the cremation process. Funeral Director and owner, Matt Thompson, states, “We are here because you love your pet, and you want to take care of them now that they have passed on. Our mission is to assist you in having your beloved pet cremated in the most dignified, timely and affordable manner possible.” Every pet is assigned a numerical ID tag that stays with them for the entire cremation process to ensure the proper remains are returned to the correct family. Thompson says, “This is just one more step we take to help ease your comfort during this time. We are a funeral home and we are family-focused, and pets are a part of your family.” The Center has a private facility dedicated to people bringing deceased pets into their care. Cremation is typically completed within one week.

Dispersal of the pet’s ashes can be handled in different ways. Some people chose to keep them for sentimental purposes, while others organize a burial service in a pet cemetery. Many families scatter or bury the ashes in a special place in their yard or in a park that was significant to the pet. As the ashes are basic natural elements, they are not harmful to the environment.

Cremation has been used for thousands of years to dispose of loved ones. It is environmentally friendly and can help your family process their loss. Why not celebrate the life of your pet and remember them by creating a plan for their passing. By cremating their remains and receiving them, your family can choose how commemorate the life of your pet.

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