Will I Be Allowed to See My Pet’s Cremation?
The answer is normally yes but it will depend on the working practices of the pet crematorium and any licensing conditions that may apply. An appointment time will have to be made and this will usually involve an additional charge.
However, when people ask this question they often have very different ideas about what they want. Some may actually want to see their pet being placed into the cremation unit.This is often linked to religious beliefs but may also be for reassurance of the procedures. Other people may simply want to be present in the grounds at the time of the cremation and not to actually witness the process.
Cremations that are attended by the owner have to be scheduled into what is often a busy day. The working practices at a pet crematorium are the same as a human one but do not normally have any ceremony accompanying the cremation. People often associate the ceremony at a human service with the time of the cremation but it is not necessarily the case. Whilst the ceremonies are at a fixed time the actual cremations will be carried out in order and may be later, although always by the end of the day. To carry out a cremation at a specific time means that some leeway must be allowed at the start to ensure the unit is available. This affects the number of cremations that can be carried out and is why an extra charge is often levied.
If you want to see the start of the cremation to reassure yourself that your pet is being cremated alone then there are a few points to understand. Most genuine pet crematoria have small machines that, for environmental reasons, are not allowed to use coffins for the cremation. To abide by the regulations the cremation unit must be raised to the correct temperature before the start of the procedure. This means your pet will be going into a very hot chamber which may result in instant combustion. You have to ask yourself if you really want this to be the last memory of your pet.
If you go ahead there is obviously a safety issue so you have to follow instructions from the crematorium as to where to stand. You must not try to interfere with the procedure. It is normal for an additional member of staff to be present to prevent this. There have been cases in the past where people have found viewing the cremation too traumatic and therefore some crematoria may not allow this.
Your pet crematorium may have a viewing room where you can watch through a window or they may show it on a CCTV camera. However you should be cautious if they only show the pet going towards the unit, not the actual inside of the cremator. This may be because the cremation is not being carried out individually.
If you want to be reassured about the start of the cremation but do not want to see your pet go into the hot unit then there are other options. Arrange an appointment for the scheduling. Ask to see inside the unit before the start of the cremation. Ensure the hearth has been cleaned of all traces of previous cremations. If there are any remains on the hearth then you would be better going elsewhere as it means the correct care is not being taken. Wait for the unit to heat up again and arrange to stand somewhere you can feel part of the process without having to see the actual loading. The total time for the cremation and preparation of ashes will vary from about one and a half hours to four or five hours depending on the size of the pet. It is best to go off and come back later for the ashes but talk to the crematorium about what you want and what they are able to provide.
For complete reassurance always use a member of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria. The standards that are set ensure your cremations are carried out correctly in the in manner you rightfully expect.
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