How do you know if you actually receive the service from your pet aftercare provider that you requested and paid for?

The short answer is you don’t.

Keep in mind that the Pet Aftercare Industry is unregulated and that there is no real oversight.

Veterinary Clinics/Hospitals like to use the term “ash return” or “individual cremation” when they offer aftercare services. This means that your pet will be cremated in a semi-private cremation. Other terms used for a semi private cremation are “partitioned or segregated” cremation.

We hear from a number of pet owners that they assumed the term individual meant a private cremation.

The only way to know for sure if the service is carried out according to your wishes is to witness the cremation in person, and this option should always be offered to you.

When Resting Paws gets a call from a pet owner and they ask to have the ashes returned we explain the 2 options. We use the terms semi-private and private cremation. To ease pet owners minds Resting Paws Cemetery & Crematorium Inc. offers witnessing of the cremation free of charge.  When we perform a semi-private cremation we place the largest pet on the hearth of the crematory and up to 3 smaller pets in cremation containers. The uses of cremation containers keep the remains separate. We know this process works well and can therefore guarantee that the ashes returned to you or of your pet only. It is for this reason we allow people to witness Semi-Private cremations, with the understanding that they must be on time and that others might also want to be there.  Other facilities use different techniques but do not allow witnessing!!!

The following terms are listed on the 2014 Standards of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (https://www.iaopc.com/standards-updates) on the Pet Owners Section:

Cremation may occur under any of the following methods: Communal Cremation – To cremate several pets in a cremation chamber at one time with no regard for keeping pets separated. This process allows for the co-mingling of cremated remains. No cremated remains are returned to the client. (Note: this may be described as “mass”, “group” or “combined” cremation; the preferred term is communal cremation).

Individual Cremation – This is an interim term for the cremation procedure also commonly referred to in the industry as Partitioned Cremation, or Segregated Cremation. More than one pet is placed in the cremation chamber and cremated at the same time with some form of separation between pets such as trays, refractory bricks, or space; the pet’s location in crematory is documented and cremated remains of pets are removed one at a time and kept separated. Each pet’s individual cremated remains are returned to the client. (Note: other terms include “individually separated,” or segregated and individually separated (S.I.S), or “individually partitioned” cremation; in every case the consumer and the Authorizing Agent must be informed that more than one pet may be cremated simultaneously.)

Private Cremation – Only one pet is placed in the cremation chamber and cremated, with the cremated remains returned to the client. Private cremation may include viewing of the cremation by the client.

The IAOPC also states that it is the Agents’ (Veterinary Clinic) responsibility to ensure that the pet owners understand the terms and services they are offered. In our experience that is not always the case. We hear from pet owners all the time that they requested a private cremation and they were assured that individual meant private. That tells us that Clinic employees don’t understand the terms themselves or are pressured to sell individual cremations as privates.

This is against IAOPC rules …but it will only be investigated if there is a formal complaint.

A red flag should be if you request a private cremation and the Clinic Employee or Aftercare Service provider assures you that because of the size of your pet it will most likely be cremated by itself. That should be a foregone conclusion if you request a private cremation.

It comes down to trust. Do you trust your Veterinary Clinic or Pet Aftercare Service provider to look after your pet according to your wishes? Do you feel they are over charging? If you have any doubts please give us a call and we will answer all your questions regarding the way we provide the aftercare services we offer.

If you want to be sure that the pet aftercare service of your choice is carried out in Ottawa, Resting Paws is your option.

We offer:

Cremation Services (communal, semi-private and private)

Burial Services (bodies and urns)

Ash Scattering (communal cremations; pet owners are invited to the scattering.)

Winter Holding for burial in the spring either in our Cemetery or at a place of your choice ie. Cottage, family farm.

We hope this information is helpful and will help you in making the necessary decisions when the time comes.


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