The Pet Cremation Conspiracy Theory and the Hardest Lesson I Have Ever Learned

My Angel

My Angel

I hate conspiracy theories, I am not a believer but I think I have uncovered one!

This is probably the hardest article I have ever written.  Usually writing comes pretty easily to me, don’t get me wrong I have my bad days and my writers block days where I want to write but clear thoughts don’t really enter my mind in a coherent way; but this article is different.

It has taken me 7 months to get to a place where I could even contemplate writing it and it breaks my heart, but I am hoping my story will save other people the heart ache I have gone through.

As many of you know, my “angel in fur” my “furry soul mate” my “heart dog” died in September of last year.

Cancer had invaded his lungs and I didn’t know until it was too late, I woke up he was having trouble breathing and he had to be euthanized that day;  he had been so stoic that there was no warning that he had been battling cancer.

A piece of me died that day, a big piece.

Euthanizing your pet, your family member is hard enough, it is devastating to say good bye and I realized it is almost equally hard to pick up your pet’s ashes post euthanasia and cremation; but I had always wanted to be buried with my special dog when I died.

I was a vet tech for many years, so I guess I just trusted the veterinary/cremation process and took some of my knowledge and expectations for granted.  I made sure after my dog had been euthanized that I would be getting him individually cremated and that I would get just his remains… I paid for that, but I didn’t drill the ER clinic about who they contracted with and what my expectations of his treatment post death would be;  I assumed that the rituals I had known as a vet tech were standard in all/most (especially a well- known ER clinic) within the veterinary world.

I guess this was my mistake and I am here to make sure it is not yours.

When I went to pick up my baby’s ashes, he had been disposed of in a Ziploc bag, which had then been put in a velvet bag; however  the Ziploc bag had sustained several holes in transit and so his ashes had spilled out into the velvet bag and to add insult to injury there was no documentation of substance.  There was a tiny paper hand written tag that had been looped onto the bag with his name on it, but that was it.

There was no information or certificate on when he died, who had cremated him and when, how much he weighed or any kind of certification at all; no metal tags that had followed his body through the process… there was just kissing nix

I was livid.  As a former veterinary technician I knew that a good crematory has the veterinary hospital tag the body with a metal tag and this tag and number follows the body through the cremation process to provide some kind of documentation to the individual cremation.

I of course complained to the veterinary clinic, to my regular veterinary clinic, and to any other veterinary clinic that would listen.


As I did more research into the pet crematory business I learned that most people don't realize and honestly most people don't want to know that there are really no regulations for pet crematories.  This is a multi-billion dollar service and NO ONE is regulating it, not state veterinary board, not the department of agriculture, animal control, there is literally no governing body that regulates or sets standards for pet cremations.

You think you are paying for a "private or individual" cremation (depending on the lingo of the chosen pet crematory) but in most cases you are getting "co-mingled" ashes with several other pets and sometimes other animals. Even though people think they are paying to get ONLY their dog back.

Pet crematories are nothing like human crematories.

If another human was found in the incinerator of a human crematory, officials would be calling for the shutting down of the business and the business owner would be looking at mandatory prison time.

But that is not the case with animals.

Who Else's Ashes Do I Have??

Who Else's Ashes Do I Have??

Pet crematories claim that they can safely separate the ashes with barriers and cremate several pets at once, but if that were true why then is it not allowed for people??  And why is it not regularly disclosed to pet owners who think they are only getting their pet back.

The Problem with most Pet Crematories is…

The problem is that most pet crematories contract with vet clinics not the pet owner.  You leave your beloved pet with the vet (thinking he will be in good hands) and the crematories pick up animals in mass quantities.  The vet clinic has no knowledge of what happens behind closed doors and may even believe that your pet will get individual treatment;  they may have even visited the crematory or witnessed a private cremation, but that does not ensure that that is how the business is regularly run (everyone is on good behavior when visitors are there).

The Sad Fact is…

The Actual Bag with Holes

The Actual Bag with Holes

The veterinary practices make money, usually a percentage, on the cremation of your pet, and the crematory with the best price gets the most business... but in order to meet demands many crematories fall to fraud; communally cremating a mass amount of dogs and then giving pet owner some of the cremains of whatever animal or animals were incinerated.

In many cases the vet hospitals don't even realize it; and if questioned they are reluctant to switch providers because of the amount of profit they make from the cremation.

I am not saying all vets are crooked or that all crematories are bad.  Just that there are no regulations, and most people are driven by money. I'm sure there are people with good ethics out there trying to be ethical.

This would be like human hospitals taking control of the loved one of someone who died and contracting to dispose of the remains without the approval or knowledge of the family or knowing where the remains are going.

Most pet owners don't even know the name of the cremation business until they pick up the ashes, in their state of shock and sadness they trust their veterinary clinic to contract with someone who is reputable, I know I did.

But I will never again leave my pet to be taken care of by someone else.  Even when I tried to research the business and I searched pet crematoriums in this area, this business doesn't even come up.  No website, no listing, no yellow pages add, the only listing is for a kennel the same people run.  The vets seem to be the only ones that even know these people provide this service?  This also makes me question their integrity as does the fact that the business owners own several other businesses that provide a variety of services, one being carcass removal for the highway department.

The ER clinic doesn't want to get involved because they don't want to lose money and have to hire a more credible but more expensive crematorium.

Because of the bad business practices of one crematory their actions have forced me to research this business and who regulates it... and the answer is really NO ONE.

Although I have logged complaints with vets, the BBB, Consumer Relations, the State Veterinary Board, and the Attorney General no one wants to take action, admit fault, or make a change.

After a major lawsuit, Illinois enacted a law after fraud was found to run rampant with crematories in the state, but the law still allows for the presence of "other" cremains with the pet (and no amount is stated), so private or individual cremations are still not ensured and businesses are protected by law.

Do the Math

Nix at RiverWhen I spoke to a local pet crematorium sharing my story and searching for information they informed me that it takes several hours to cremate just one small to medium sized pet.  Running two incinerators all day, I was told they could only cremate a maximum of 8 pets per day (small to medium sized) and larger pets would of course take longer.

The incinerator needs to heat to the appropriate degree, cremate the pet efficiently, and then cool down for ashes to be collected.

The numbers of pets taken in, and pets returned usually just doesn’t add up!

And, it is expensive with the costs of energy, fuel and manpower.

And When I Contacted the Media?

No one wants to help.

Even though I did the research and I can prove that there is a large amount of fraud in the pet cremation business and I can even prove that the remains that I received back weigh more than they should for a pet of his size, no one wants to get involved.

Many people don’t want to think, or know that the boxes of remains around their homes are not really their pet.

A friend of mine in another state also had her large dog (80#) euthanized and cremated the same week I lost my boy, and when her dog was returned the cremains weighed the same as her cremated cat (10#).  A friend of hers had also shared that when his wife went to find the metal piece from an earlier surgery in the ashes and it was missing, they too knew the ashes they had received were not those of their family pet.

And I have heard countless stories of others who know the remains they got back weren’t their pet.   The only avenue pet owners are left with is privately suing the cremation company, but since these businesses are not forced to keep records there is often no way to prove a claim.

Several exposes have been done on this kind of business but on a small level find more stories to validate my claim that I will link at the end of this article for those who are interested.

So What Can You Do if You Want Your Pet Individually Cremated?

urn1Do your own research!!!  Don’t go through your vet, no matter what they say or how much you love them.  They may not know!

I even question the crematory our old clinic used when I was a tech… although I had visited during an open house, I have no idea what really happens and I learned that metal tags are a good sign but not insurance.

It was too late, but I did my research after the fact.

I visited crematories and spoke with staff.  Most places will allow you to make your own arrangements with them that can help give you piece of mind.  Most of these businesses will also pick up your pet, even if your vet doesn’t usually contract with them.

However I have also learned that there is no way to know for sure unless you are there.

As distasteful as it sounds unless you can see inside the incinerator, watch your pet go in, and stay throughout the process in the room, there is no way to be 100% sure that you are only receiving your pet’s ashes.

There is only one cremation service that I could find at the time of my research that provided a 2 camera recorded certification to ensure that what you are seeing on video is what is truly happening.

As a Naughty Baby

As a Naughty Baby

Pets are no longer just "possessions or property" to most people, they are family and they deserve dignity in their lives as well as their death.

I wonder how many pet owners wish to be buried or sprinkled with what they think is their pets remains?

I will never be able to get him back, and my heart will hurt about that for the rest of my life.  I will also always blame myself...

What would you have done?

Please share this information, perhaps together we can make a difference and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.  This is and will always be one of the most painful things I have to deal with knowing I will never have my dog and just his ashes.

Maybe if this article circles the country and the globe enough times together we can change some laws and make pets matter!
  Note on this one 2, 3 or 4 pets may be cremated as "private cremation"


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  1. OMG!! I have 2 dogs that I had cremated and also wanted them buried with me. right now they are both sitting in a curio case just waiting for me. I feel terrible after reading this article. Don’t these places realize we pay extra because they are more than just our pets they are our family (babies)? How cold and cruel can these people be. I actually blame my vet for this. I would have just buried them if I had known about it. I guess when the time comes for my recent dog I will just bury the ashes with her all in one place.


    Minette Reply:

    I am sure not all places are bad, but you can’t be sure unless you are there… sad that it happens at all and they take advantage of us pet lovers… maybe, hopefully this article can


    snowbird50 Reply:

    I am really sorry about your pet. I would like to share with you a place that IS a good place though.

    Paris Pet Union Grove, WI has been “tested” several times over the years and found to be very honest and accurate in their cremation process.
    The owner is very kind and started this business when he saw how careless and thoughtless others were towards animals and the cremation process. He was just devastated on how the animals were handled. He is up to date and goes to seminars to help make the crematory processing for owners better. They allow you to stay and watch if you would like as well. We know several people who have had their pets taken there,including my in-laws, and are very glad they did.
    The owner of this place would most likely agree with you about OTHER crematories, but his truly is different and the way it is SUPPOSED to be for your peace of mind when you have lost a pet.


    Minette Reply:

    sorry, my fingers spasmed maybe this article can touch someone who is in a position to help make a change, a lawmaker or a lawyer or someone who can do something to help those of us pet owners that suffer


  2. Fist off – I an very sorry to hear about the loss of your pet – never an easy thing. I went through the very same thing with my two Labs in a very short period of time.
    Unfortunately places like these are no more than a money making endeavor for their owners – they seem to not be emotionally connected at all! Shame


  3. Leo&Mav's_Dad says:

    Hi Minette,

    I am so sorry for your loss, and even more sorry that you fell victim to this frustratingly common brand of fraud. I have a unique perspective on this issue, being that I am part owner of what is most likely one of the most ethical cremation firms in the country. We provide cremation services to veterinary hospitals, as well as directly to the public. When we do a private (individual) it is one pet and one pet alone. We do not do any return ash cremation procedures that include more than one pet. When pets are cremated communally they are reverently scattered in a memorial setting that pet parents can visit. We refuse to dispose of people’s pets. Also, we have several witnessed cremations a day, and like you say that is truly the only way to know with 100% certainty that you truly have your pet. What I find most frustrating about the majority of veterinarians is that they absolutely do not care about what is happening to your pet. Sure our services cost more than our competitors, but we are not committing fraud… We always do the right thing.

    When I meet with prospective veterinary clients, the biggest point of contention is always price. As a budget minded consumer I understand this, and would be way more understanding if the cost was passed along to their clients…. What really sticks in my craw is that when they say its about price, its not really about price. Its about how much money can I make, which to me says its about greed. Veterinarians want the lowest cost service provider because they are going to charge clients the same for the cremation regardless of the service provider, and the corners that are certainly cut to offer vets the lowest price. When I try to educate most veterinarians, the overwhelming majority choose to remain ignorant and rationalize their greed, rather than taking accountability for their clients’ pets. It is absurd, and has the potential to be a full blown puppy mill scale scandal across the country.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or need any tips on selecting a cremation service provider in the future. I would recommend having a laboratory analysis of your pet’s cremated remains done, to ensure that the remains are chemically consistent with bone fragment, and not something like concrete mix (surprisingly a common fraud practice). If those test results indicate fraud has taken place, don’t simply sue the cremation service (certainly sue them as well), make sure to sue the veterinarian as well. The key here is to make sure your lawyer demonstrates that the veterinarian profited, and is just as guilty of violating existing consumer protection laws. I firmly believe that brave pet owners who are willing to confront this atrocious issue aggressively, and without fear are going to be the biggest catalyst for making pet cremation a professional and well regulated service, rather than the fraudulent veterinary money grab it continues to be today. As shocking as this may sound to you, I would estimate nationally over 60% of veterinary hospitals offering cremation services to their clients are needlessly perpetuating fraud by intentionally leaving important details out when giving clients a service’s explanation, and in many cases partnering with fraudulent cremation companies who as you said simply do a communal cremation and return a scoop of ashes. In talking to my state’s AG last year when filing a complaint (nothing was done), the state enforcement agency’s desperately need victims (pet parents not crematories…)of this fraud and abuse of trust to come forward and fight, before they are willing to put resources into investigating these despicable practices.

    Like I said keep me posted, and please reach out to me if you need any assistance along the way. I believe you were cheated of the chance of ever finding the type of closure that your relationship to your pet deserves. They are members of the family, not veterinary profit centers. Its about time they were treated that way.

    – Leo and Mav’s Dad

    P.S. sorry for the length… Your story just breaks my heart, and struck a nerve.


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you for your comment, it simply supports what I think.

    Unfortunately I live pay check to pay check, I wish I had the money to sue and if I did I certainly would. But I don’t have the money to find a lawyer and sue and no one (lawyers pro bono) wants to get involved because there is no governing body for this kind of service so I can’t even demand their records because by law they don’t even need to keep any.

    It is sad. And, you are right I will never find that closure that I deserve… fighting the system with every breath I had took a few months of effort then several months of depression, not wanting to get out of bed and not being sure if life was worth living was next.

    I am finding strength now, again, after 7 months but the wound will always be open and I am not even sure time will heal it.

    I do however know that I could not have loved him more, nor could he have loved me more and we cherished our time together. His body was only that and I know that he will always be with me 🙂

    Thank you and I totally agree with everything you say.


    Belinda Reply:

    I am so glad that you are there and ready to help how you can. I know I am in no position to do the same. I have had health problems for several years now and have been hospitalized on several occasions and not knowing if I were going to pull through this time, but my husband and children know that my little Chihuahua and the only dog I have ever had is to be cremated and placed in mine and my husbands vault with us. Now after learning this, I am upset. I want my baby not others buried with me. Yes, all of our pets should be treated with dignity even if they had no owners but to take such advantage of people when they are in a very vulnerable state is just sick. I am in disgust over such a tragedy and now I don’t know what to do about our baby… 🙁


    Judy Kelly Reply:

    This article broke my heart, as we also want the ashes of our girl when it’s her time. I am going to print this article and take it with me the next time I visit our vet’s office, and get feed back from her. I trust her with the life of our dog and want to make sure we’ll be getting her back not bits and pieces of someone else’s loved one!
    How can you be contacted for more information??


    Minette Reply:

    I think a lot of vets don’t know exactly what happens to your pet… even the great vets.

    Like I said, when I was a tech we had a service we trusted and had been to an open house… but I can’t guarantee you that the business did what it should when there weren’t other people around; they too may have fallen to fraud in order to make more money and meet demand. But, I also know that the vet I worked for would have stood up for their work.

    Essentially you don’t know unless you are there, or you use the one service that I know of in this country that uses a two camera system to record it as proof; Peaceful Pet Passage.


    Suzette Reply:

    Do you have any cremation services in the Houston TX area?

    I so appreciate your comments and honesty. It’s always great to see there are still compassionate, ethical, honest people in this world-even when it comes to running their business.

    Having had a total of 7 pet cremations in the last 10 years, I now wonder about the remains I’ve received. I too always trusted my vet or emergency clinic I’ve used for 15 years. I took it for granted that what they said was what happened.


    Linda Huyler Reply:

    My beautiful Border Collie Roxy is dying and I have been calling vet’s and Mobile Vet’s in the area to discuss euthanasia. This is the toughest decision ever. My baby has been with me through chronic Lyme disease over the past 12 years and 7 cancer surgeries. My dog and I both suffered from Seizures and on many occasions we would have a seizure at the same time. I do not think I would have made it through these devastating illnesses w/o her. When my son and I found Roxy the vet said she was between 2 and 5, so now she is between 14 and 17. Roxy is the oldest dog I have ever had. She now has cancer and it is like a malignant melanoma and that is also the cancer I have . The vet said Roxy has early kidney disease so they could not operate. That was a few months ago and she continues to get worse but she keeps trying everyday. I feel so selfish not having the courage to let her go. It is killing me. I would appreciate any response as to where to get her cremated in Ventura county California . I want her ashes back alone. Leo’s and May’s dad, I am so sorry for your loss and for everyone who has had to part with their beloved pet !!


    Judy Radick Reply:


    I just lost my baby, Phoenix. He was part of my life for 13 wonderful years, and I can’t imagine ever finding another dog like him. Like the author, I feel as though a large part of my heart has been ripped out. Phoenix was a German shepherd/lab mix, and the most loyal, loving, intelligent dog our family has ever had the pleasure of knowing. I had actually asked my husband if we could please have Phoenix’s remains undergo taxidermy because I couldn’t stand the thought of losing him. My husband would not agree to the taxidermy, but wanted Phoenix to be cremated. I told him that I had read horror stories about people receiving bags of cat litter and cement mix, and that I could not handle not knowing what happened to my baby’s remains and what the true contents were in the bag/box that I would be handed afterwards. I found a place in another state that would tape the cremation or let you sit and watch throughout the process. I told my husband that if he could find a place that let you sit and watch throughout the process, I would agree to having Phoenix cremated. Well, he claimed to have found a place like that in town. The vet was kind enough to come out to our home to euthanize Phoenix, because he was always so fearful of the vet clinic. I didn’t want that to be his last experience in life. She could not do it until after business hours though, since it was at our home. Well, I was told that my husband contacted the funeral home/pet crematory and that someone would be waiting for us to drop Phoenix’s body off late the evening when he was euthanized. My husband told me that this person would discuss setting up the time for me to come and watch Phoenix’s cremation. (I was led to believe that it might be the next day.) When we got there to drop off his body, the man started talking about his keeping the equipment turned off and cool in the evening, because he knew we were coming….and that he was going to cremate Phoenix immediately, while we were there. This was after 9 p.m. Once he got the body in the equipment, he told my husband that it would take about 3 hours to cremate the body. (Phoenix weighed between 95 – 100 lbs at the end.) The man is looking like he is ready for us to leave, and my husband is looking at me like “can we leave now?” because the cremation process is going to be taking place until midnight and he was ready to go home and go to bed. I was so distraught and confused, because none of this was happening the way it was supposed to….and I didn’t want to fight with my husband in front of the man….and I was so upset about losing Phoenix. The next thing I know, I am being driven home….and Phoenix is being left in the equipment. My husband seems to think that seeing his body go into the equipment and watching the man turn the thing on was good enough proof that the cremains we got back were Phoenix’s. I told him that I had requested to see Phoenix’s remains go into the equipment, and to remain throughout the process to see Phoenix’s remains come out of the equipment. My husband insisted that watching them go in was good enough proof. I told him that the man could have turned the equipment off after we left, disposed of the body, and given us whatever in the bag. I was not encouraged that when we arrived, Phoenix was on his 6 inch thick orthopedic foam bed, along with his blanket. The man told me that we could leave Phoenix on the bed and blanket, and cremate it altogether. I told him that I didn’t want those things mixed in, and he explained that they would burn up and not remain. I wondered if the foam would let off toxic fumes though. Anyways, you recommended having a laboratory analysis of your pet’s cremains to ensure that they are not concrete mix or something else. Could you please tell me where I could get such an analysis done? I don’t think I will rest easy until I KNOW that the substance in the bag is really the remains of my beloved Phoenix. The stuff just looks like grey powder. I have already instructed my daughter that I would like Phoenix’s remains placed in my coffin when I pass on…I can’t stand the thought of it just being a bag of cement mix.


    Ricky Reply:

    Please do not stereotype all veterinarians. How would you like it if people claimed “most” crematoriums were fraudulent and that yours was, too? You care about profit just as much as the veterinary clinic and you’re lying if you say you don’t. Veterinarians don’t earn nearly as much as people think despite having just the same amount of debt as human doctors. We’re also pet owners who grieve when we lose our own furry family members. I liked a lot of what you wrote, but trying to cast blame on veterinary clinics without recognizing the crookedness of your own industry is a bit much. Those who live in glass houses…


  4. Shelby says:

    When I seen this I wasn’t sure I could or wanted to read it. Like you I recently lost my Zeus, my vet’s best guess was a brain tumor. Truth is we don’t know for sure he had just turned 5 when he had his first seizure. I took him immediately to the vet, 3 mos and several vet visits later, his last seizure being severe, I had to take my vets opinion, and advice because I couldn’t really afford the testing to find out or the treatment if it was. My vet has cared for my dogs for 22 yrs and still makes house calls when needed with no extra charge he’s caring and honest so I knew he had tried all he could. I had to make the most painful decision of my life one I regret everyday even though everyone felt it was the right thing to do. It was the first time I experienced euthanasia, a loss of a four legged family member is always devastating, but holding him. and comforting him, was the most gut wrenching feeling of betrayal and it hurts as bad today as it did 12/11/12.

    I loved my dogs before Zeus and my foster who is becoming less foster and more family everyday I love now, none more then another just different. Zeus was a Pitbull rescue who from the moment we met we bonded, he touched me in a way I can’t put into words.

    Of course I never expected to be leaving that day without my constant companion, best friend, my baby my everything. My world was shattered and I couldn’t decided if he should be buried with me or on the farm next to Duke, so I had him cremated and still can’t decide.

    He told me about a couple of different places that other clients have used and like a fool I called the closest one. The only question I really asked was if I was gonna get his ashes, and she assured me that all owners who request and pay for cremation of there pet are guaranteed to get all and only the remains of there pet. At the time that was good enough for me. Dr wrapped my boy in a nice blanket and carried him out of the room and until 4 days later when they called me and told me I could pick up his remains the next morning did I start to question if I was really getting his remains.

    I have never been big on cremation and believe that if he would have died of old age,having time to prepare myself for the expected he would have been laid to rest next to Duke. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and it’s just one more decision I question that I’ll never really know the answer to. My Dr put me on anti-depressants a week after this happened because I was such a wreck. I have never experienced such guilt stricken grief and although I have managed to cope with it, I still haven’t got passed it.

    I live in Illinois and after reading your article I’m really concerned. When I picked him up I again asked her and she assured me that there’s absolutely no way ashes were mixed with his or that it wasn’t him. They handed me a cardboard cylinder with a sealed metal top and bottom. On the top wrote in marker was his name, Brindle Pitbull, date he died, and my last name. I put it on the top self in my closet and that’s where it still is his urn is next to it but I just haven’t been able to transfer the ashes yet. So I don’t know if there’s a metal tag with them or not.

    There are so many different trainers and methods giving advice on the internet. Some I admire and agree with almost all there advice but there’s always at least one thing that I’m not comfortable believing or doing. I have told several people to check out this site and read your articles. You are a compassionate canine parent first, and a great trainer second. This article is a perfect example. I’m sorry for your loss and that you had to go threw this. Thank you though for bringing it to your readers attention, it is clearly an issue I can relate to and I appreciate the opportunity to get it off my chest.


  5. Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I set up Charlie Parlour private Pet Cremation Service because when Charlie died our only cremation option was to use a vet to broker a cremation.
    2 years on we offer the guaranteed individual cremation of companion animals. We are members of the APPCC (association of private pet cemeteries and crematoria. It has been a very difficult business to establish for all the reasons you cite. Only informed pet owners can make informed decisions. We are growing slowly, we have excellent client references and most of our business is generated through word of mouth recommendation.
    Your article will help challenge the pet disposal industry and their relationship with the Veterinary profession.
    We have even carried out the individual cremation of a Vets dog who when pressed on why he does not inform pet owners that their pet will be frozen, replied “I tell them we keep pets in a cooler so as not to upset them”!!!
    Thanks again I could go on and on…….. paul


  6. Laurie says:

    That is terrible. Some people just don’t think. You might expect it of people who had no connection with pets, but when they are in that line they should have some understanding. I like the idea of Charlies Parlor. I hope that catches on and becomes successful and maybe we will see more places like that growing up around the world, because there sure is a need for them.


  7. Jo'Anni Opperman says:

    I had a similar experience. My dog was euthanized and afterwards I asked my vet if we could arrange for individual cremation. He was honest and told me that he thinks I won’t get back my boy’s ashes, but some other ashes as well, or maybe not even any of his ashes. The local SPCA here in Bloemfontein, South Africa where contracted to handle cremations.I made the heartbreaking decision to let him go (the 1st and the last time, believe me), thinking that at least he would be cremated and buried with other dogs and cats. I consoled myself by thinking he wasn’t there to know what is happening. A few weeks later there was an article in the local newspaper, where employees of the SPCA where caught dumping pet’s bodies at the local garbage dumps. The SPCA actually collected remains, dumped them and still received payment from vets thinking they cremated the remains they collected. Two ladies that works at the SPCA where taken into custody, but where released and still works there today. never in my life have I felt so cheated. Today I still mourn his loss. I will NEVER have any of my pets cremated again. Since Gun, I’ve lost pets again and I give them a proper burial in my own garden. I don’t care what municipal rules and regulations state, I will bury my pets in a way they deserve. Thank you for your article.


    Minette Reply:

    I’m so sorry for your experience, it really hurts to have those we love treated that way even after their death. It is like someone else said, we can’t have closure.

    I’m not sure what I will do next, the idea of watching my own pet be cremated is sad and distasteful and yet I know there is no other way I could be sure. I don’t own my own land, so I dont’ want to bury and leave them…. I guess I will have to cross that bridge when I come to it; it is just sad that we can’t trust people to do what they say they will and afterward that no one cares at all… your story proves that!


  8. Samantha S. says:

    My heart absolutely aches for you and your family. I am so grateful that you have taken the time to write this article because I’ve always wanted to cremate my dogs and keep them with me when I pass on. I didn’t know that this service went unregulated! It absolutely makes me view pet cremation differently. My two boys are my whole world and I can’t imagine not receiving THEIR remains back! I will definitely do my research and take the time to actually talk with the crematorium when the time comes! Thank you for your article!


  9. Pat says:

    one thing I do believe is once the pet dies and the soul leaves the body and is always around us tell next we meet I often thought of doing cremations with my pets but felt in my heart that this is exactly how it was done. So all my past pets have been massed cremated with no ashes returned.
    So sorry for your lose and just believe that your Fury is still with you in spirit and you too will meet up again when your time comes.
    Believe in the heart and the soul. God Bless


  10. Coleen Ellis says:

    Minette,… as with the others above, your story breaks my heart. As the founder of the first stand-alone pet funeral home in the country, I, too, am waving the flag for reputable and ethical business practices in the pet cremation business. I’m embarrassed by some of my colleagues actions – and am frustrated that veterinarians sweep this type of stuff under the rug, minimizing the importance of it for pet parents like you. Furthermore, as the founder of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, we are taking measures to hopefully stop this type of activity in our industry. However, it’s going to take pet parents like you and your circle of influencers to help us in the national attention needed for this problem. Possibly we should talk to see what we can do together to stop this. If you would like to chat, my email address is Thanks for speaking out,… my thoughts are with you as you honor the life that you shared with your special fur-baby.


  11. Nancy says:

    I had my 3 cats and my lab cremated and the ashes returned. These were all my children and they were loved. My lab was cremated a year ago and returned in a beautiful wooden box with a lock on it. We were given the key and had to look inside. She was in a heavy plastic bag with no leakage. Weather it was all her I will never know but in my mind it is. If she was mixed with others, I can only hope that whoever got part of her takes as much care with her as I do. I believe that everything that has breath has a spirit and that the spirits of animals go to God’s throne of Grace. So I know that my children are with God no matter where their bodies are and their memories will always be with us.


  12. Margaret Webster says:

    My life has been filled with wonderful dogs, each one with unique personalities.
    The only dog that was cremated was my Mothers dog Timmy, whom I rescued from the ASPCA.
    He turned out to be a wonderfull sweet tempered little guy. My mother loved him so much she had him cremated and her last wish list was that he be buried with her.I kept her wish.
    When I retired, moved out of NYC to a rual area.At the time I had a beautifull Lasa called Stella. She loved being in the country and had the freedom to roam on grass and not on cement sidewalks.
    When she passed on, I decided to bury her on the property in a lovely place overlooking the river that runs through our property.
    My daughter’s dog was getting older and she asked me to take her, so she could enjoy the country too. After several years she had dementia, she was 14 and a Border Collie. The vet wanted her put down but she died in her sleep. I buried her next to my Stella.
    Two years ago, my sons Bernese Mt. dog had a litter, 8 babies, all but one were healthy.Clark, the childern named him, had a cleff mouth and it was hard for him to succkle milk.Even though my DIL would try to feed him every 2 hrs. day/night, he just couldn’t make it and he died at 4 weeks old.
    I told my son, if you want I will bury him with Stella and Cara and he said Ok, now the three dogs are together in repose on a beautiful piece of land.
    It’s heart breaking when one loses a wonderful dog. I’m fortune to have such beautiful land and know that I did the right thing for these wonderfull dogs.I just couldn’t cremate them, I wanted them to go back to the land and I can visit their burial place when ever I wanted.

    Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who buried their pets on this property. A neighbor told me the previous owner had her Horse buried on one of the hills.


  13. james says:

    i always thought they were shady.
    i went out to the country, and built a funeral pyre fir for a king-
    and did it myself- it took 5 days for the fire to cool off- i scooped up the ashes, and released my baby into the Colorado river… So she is still out there, chasing Humboldt shrimp or whatever.

    people suck when it comes to money.


  14. Noel Stiles says:

    Minette my heart bleeds for you.

    I agree whole heartedly with Jo-Anni Opperman of Bloemfontein. I had a similar experience regarding cremation and my vet here in Randburg told me that he doubted very much that my little Pom`s ashes would be returned to me if I went the cremation route. He suggested that any ashes returned could be the remains of any animal cremated at that time.

    I did the next best thing. I buried Bobby in a coffin I made in our garden. I know now that he will rest in peace in the garden that he loved. Unless some one remodels the garden at some future date I know that Bobby`s remains will not be disturbed. We have lived on the property for 31 years and will continue to do so until my daughter inherits it when we pass on. Bobby was her dog.


  15. Barbara says:

    My heart goes out to all those who have lost their furbabies.

    When my angel Yorkie, Haley Mae, died, (she was 3′ from me when a pit cross jumped a 4′ fence and killed her), I was 9 hours away from home. My son thought I was crazy, but I wrapped her in a towel and drove home with her early the next morning, either in my lap or I held her. I couldn’t bare the thought of her being so far away from me.

    When I got home, a couple of friends helped me bury her in our flower garden, and we planted a yellow rose bush over her. It become the Haley Mae Memorial garden. My friend’s two dogs were also joined her later. (I doubt the city officials would have approved, but they weren’t notified).

    When I moved to what I hope is my last home, in the West Texas mountains, I dug up the rose bush and replanted it in my little garden. My prior Yorkie, Sadie Marie, was also buried in a garden and I found a lovely blue quartz stone for her. That was also brought to my little cabin, so I have my girls with me, especially in spirit. When my Yorkie, Annabelle Lee passes on, I’ll plant another rosebush for her, although I hope she outlives me!


  16. Ron says:

    After we had to put our dog down, the Vet let it slip if we wanted the ashes, they would be mixed with other dogs.


  17. Theresa White says:

    Hi MJinette,

    I am so glad you brought this to everyone’s attention and so sad that no-one wants to investigate further. I had to euthanize my “baby” two years ago and it happened over a long weekend. The vet offered to have him “privately” cremated for me, but I declined. I asked them to keep his body until the Tuesday until I could take him to the Calabasas Pet Cemetry in Ventura County. I carried him to the crematarium and placed his little body in there myself. I waited for his ashes and took him home. I always had a feeling that this was a money-making business only and that the animals were not given the personalized cremation that we pay for. These people need to go out of business!


  18. Jean says:

    Anthropomorphic semi-cracked twaddle. I came here for dog-training, not to read rambling whines about “fur angels”. I’m very sorry to hear that your dog died, and sorry that the cremation process did not meet with your satisfaction, but this is laughably overblown. There are real problems in the world. See ya!


    kathryn berkley Reply:

    Jean, I feel truly sorry for your dogs and for you, who, bthe words you write have never truly loved an animal. You have missed one of the finest things we have in this life, the love of a real pet.


  19. Merrie says:

    After I wrote the comment above, I pulled the paperwork on Hooley’s cremation. I emailed the company that did it, Circle of Life, and included this article. They responded within a few hours with a long response that was both warm and very thorough about their procedures and practices. I’m confident, given the effort that went into their response, that they are reputable and treated my baby with respect and dignity. I’m grateful, as this is a disturbing article, and I was feeling very concerned. I want to publicly thank Circle of Life for their explanation and warm response.


    Lisa Joe Evans Reply:

    I truly don’t want to bring back more pain or concern over your baby, but do feel the need to enlighten others. Unfortunately you likely received a form letter that all clients, prospective or otherwise get. All they do is pull up the form letter from their computer and fill in the current date, names etc. You can double check this by making another inquiry from them by posing as someone else, for instance using a friend or family members name and address. There just isn’t anyway for a business to answer the same question all day long and please believe they have a script in front of them probably memorized after being employed there for any length of time. It’s very sad to hear this I know but it comes from experience. I hope you are able to prove me wrong where your baby’s concerned. Most all pet crematoriums are indeed shady.


  20. Melinda says:

    Minette – I am sorry for your loss. Losing your heart dog is dreadful and there are a lot of us who know what you are going through.

    Edit your article and send it to and ask them to see what they can find out about pet cremation and the legislation governing same. Perhaps they will be able to get more information.


  21. Debbie says:

    I am so sorry about your loss! My sweet Tahoe passed away a little over two years ago the day after Christmas. she was a 13 year old German Shepherd who, earlier in the day, had been playing in the fresh snow with husband. She suffered a massive stroke that evening. We were unable to get out of our drive due to the storm so we didn’t get to the vet until the next day. While she was still breathing, I knew she had been gone for hours so her being euthanized was just a technicality. We had her cremated. I was extremely lucky from what your article says. I did not leave her at the vet. I had found a Pet Crematorium/Cemetery not too far away that works with the NYPD and had cremated many of the dogs that worked at Ground Zero after 9/11. They were extremely professional and sympathetic. We were given documentation regarding her cremation as well as a lovely certificate which included her date of birth, death and my and my husband’s names. It’s unfortunate that there are so many places that are not as wonderful as the facility we dealt with. I guess that with all things these days, a little homework goes a long way.


  22. Nola says:

    I too know the heart ache you felt loosing a pet that has been part of your family and life for so many years. I had to have my beautiful Shepherd put to sleep when I could not do any more for her, and it took alot but I gave her the diligently she deserved by not prolonging her pain. I am also a vet nurse and have dealt with this many times over with clients but it is always so much harder when it is directly effecting you.
    I had my beautiful Montana cremated and the people could not have been more caring, Shane from ‘Pets at Peace’ in Orange,New South Wales, Australia. They do individual cremations and the ashes are delivered back in a sealed cylinder within a urn, wooden, or ceramic your choice, with a lovely English scented rose and card. This is such a very personal touch, I have a memory table in my lounge room and my beautiful Montana’s ashes are there for me to have as comfort until my passing, this will be done with all my beloved animals. I’m sorry for the heart ache you have been through but there are places out there that really do care. Kindest regards.


  23. Robin Ruth henderson says:

    Dear Minette,

    Reading this sad, and horrific story about the passing and then the cruelty and heartlessness involved in the cremation of your “heart dog” made me cry so much.
    I am in Australia and things here are not at all good in this respect either.
    When my sister died at 57 of inoperable lung cancer she stipulatred she wanted to be cremated in her will and we organised it all before her passing. She was terrified of being burnt alive so insisted that her body lay in the morgue for three days and that I be allowed a “viewing” before the casket went throught the curtains along to the crematorium.
    All went well except that she’d forbade me to get her ashes and mourn over her, not even take her with me when my time came….but I couldn’t do it.
    I brought the ashes home and decided to place them in a beautiful tropical plant that she’d so loved on a specially made wooden stand along with ther coffin plate. I felt happy that I’d have her near at least in life for as long as the plant lived.
    My sister and I bred miniature poodles and siamese cats.
    Her special little “Nati-Pip” seemed disinterested in the potted plant with the ashes whilst the siamese cats were far too interested for my liking.
    I later sold the house and took my furry people to the high country in the hills to begin another life.
    The potted plant had pride of place and I felt comforted by my sister’s presence…until the plant began to die and to small curiously of amonia…and I had noticed a few spills of soil and ashes around the base.
    I tended that plant, moved it to different positions in our little country cottage but to no avail, it was dying and I felt the death of my dear sister all over again.
    A dear friend suggested that we get her boys to lift the enormous pot outside and replace the pot and the soil and sift the ashes to save them in the new soil and this we did.
    The ashes were like little granules and looked vaguely familiar as they lay on the ventilated stand the boys had construsted with such reverence. We repotted the beautiful but still rather sickly plant and brought it inside…..then a horrible story broke on the News that evening.
    The Crematorium where my sister had been to was exposed as having a whole heap of bones and human remains in a paddock far at the rear of all the beautiful ornamental gardens … they were discovered as having only two “burns” a week and doing these en masse as if it were the gas ovens where the Jews were disposed of.

    Of course the ashes were all intermingled and worse..what were being sold to the grieving families were NOT the individual ashes of their loved ones….RATHER, FAMILIES HAD BEEN PAYING FOR URNS and reveiving Certificates inscribed: “This is to certify that here contained are the sole cremated remains of… and – the urns were filled with DIATOMITE GRANULES….in simple terms “Kitty litteer”!

    I was so incensed and so angry and understood why my siamese sweeties were scratching in the enormous potted plant!

    Some people have thought this story very funny whenever I’ve told it wanting to unburden my pain, but its not funny is it Minette?
    There was a statewide furore over this Crematorium’s practrises…and not much happened, nobody really cared…..And, OF COURSE, Minette, I grieve with you so heartfeltly and tears fill my eyes and are running down my face at this very minute…NOTHING is humane anymore! If they did this to people…why bother with…mere animals and beloved pets and companions?
    I feel so much for you dear dog-girl!

    I’ve had several wonderful Neapolitan Mastiffs in my life. I’ve loved them with my soul and they’ve reciprocated.
    When I buried my CIELO….I combed his coat and kept his fur, I clipped his nails and kept his collar and made my own little urn.
    I BURIED his 70kilo body in my own pet cemetary so he is in a garden alongside my other dogs and cats gone to the Alysian Fields.
    I have some of him with me and his body lies just outside. I had to hire an excavator to dig a person-sized grave as do all the farmers around here.
    NEVER again will I entrust my beloved people or pets to a Crematorium!

    Maybe you will consideer a “do it yourself” next time…at least you know you have your furry friend’s remains with you, nearby, and you can visit, and you also have a little of them to take with you when you go.

    I wear my CIELO’s fur combings and his nail clippings in a locket so he still comes on walks and jaunts with me.

    MY heart goes out to you, Minette. You will not forget an experience like yours but try to find a way to not have it happen to you ever again…its taken me 25 years to settle over my sisters’ passing. Take heart and take things into your own hands.
    Love Robin.


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you for your kindness. I am sooo sorry for your pain and your story, that is horrific!

    I will take things into my own hands next time, as I will never let this happen again and my trust in the industry is gone.

    I know he is at peace and I know that he is with me everyday and that is what matters. I also know that he was proud of me for fighting for him and for writing this article to share with the world.

    Some day I will see him again!


  24. Anthony Hartfield says:

    Hi Mjinette,… sad to hear of your troubles, not good at all,neither is what you are about to read so take a deep breath and here it comes.
    my mum and dad were both cremated and knowing there were more than one cremation during those days …..I kind of figured that given the time it took to heat up, do the job and then allow for cooling.and the fact that in both cases the urn was really very warm!that perhaps some of the ashes may not be mums or when we scattered the ashes both times, our thoughts were with mum and dad but also we paused to reflect with respect on the other ashes that were scattered around the garden of remembrance.they were all,loved by someone,missed by someone.We felt it was not who;s ashes they were but how much love and respect we day our beautiful golden retriever will pass on and not doubt we will be in your situation.grant us the strength to deal with the remains with love , respect , and everlasting memories.
    thank you for sharing with us all your thoughts and experiences


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you


  25. Pat McDonald says:

    How very very sad Minette that you have been deprived of the ashes of Harley your beloved pet and family member. I have long doubted the integrity of Pet Crematoriums and historically have buried our loved ones on our own property with the respectful send off we believed they deserved. The day will however come when we possibly have to deal with one of these unethical establishments and your story has most certainly shed light and knowledge that everyone should be aware of and you are courageous to share this story as you have. Always remember and Minette, we have to believe that,as Harley loved you in life, he will continue to watch over and love you unconditionally. Allow your happy memories to outweigh the unhappiness of a situation you innocently had no control over at the time. Perhaps within those ashes is a pet who just maybe needed a safe haven and unconditionally love after the event and who better than you and Harley to open your hearts.


  26. Cheryl Goddard says:

    I am so very sorry for your lose. Fury gave you the best of himself and I know that he was more than precious to you. Our Beauty Girl-Sage was put to sleep in October of 2011. She was 14 and a German Shepherd. she was my soul mate and the grief was overwhelming.I still speak to her picture and tell her I love her. We had her cremated and, like you, made it known she would have her ashes with mine when I should join her. I was assured that her remains were placed in an individual crematorium. Since the company is well established being a pet cemetary, as well, I felt comfortable and I still do. The odd thing was after we released her remains, a day later I had a dream that they accidently placed her in a communal crematorium and I called and spoke personally to the gentleman. Now, I know that is not 100% proof, but he spoke with me for some time, explained the procedure, told me that in private arrangements the crematorium was completely cleaned between beloved pets. I have to-need to believe he was truthful. She resides now in an individual handmade cedar-type container with inscription. It has keys if I wish to open-which I never have.
    Again, I express my heartfelt understanding of your anguish; I thank you for how much it took for you to put your feelings, expressions, pictures, research, and recommendations in writing. Your experience with Fury must mean his life was not lost in vain and gives readers of your story reference points to consider and ponder.
    sincerely, Cheryl


  27. Jackie Younghusband says:

    Dear Minette,
    I know what it feels like to loose a beloved pet, especially one that you are close to. But please, death is not the end of life, neither for humans nor animals. Death is simply a transformation of energy, Life is energy and energy can neither be created not destroyed, only transformed. In death, of plant, animal or human, the life energy has abandoned the old useless body, just as we abandon an old worn out coat. The body is no longer important. But the spirit, the soul of your dog is not ‘dead’ but very much alive. I agree with your reasons for being upset about the cremation, because it is actually fraud. But please, try not to grieve because your dog is alive in spirit and will always be close to you. This is not just my belief, my dogs have visited me in spirit. There is not the space here but both my mother and I have had so much ‘proof’ that our animals live on, just as we do.
    With understanding and sympathy,


  28. Sarah says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, but I wouldn’t blame yourself, hold yourself in condemnation. You were ignorant of the process. You are now knowledgeable and can inform other pet owners to not make the same mistake. Personally, I would never cremate myself or a beloved pet. The process is so inhumane (according to my standard of belief and other info I have gathered about what happens in the incinerator). I’m not sure of your belief, but would just like to encourage you to forgive yourself. You cannot change the past, but you can make a difference for the future.


  29. Cody says:

    This is outrageous! Thank you so much for the article. I don’t know why the media will not help you?!? Pets now-a-days happen to be part of our family. This scam is ridiculous and an outrage. I have had my dog cremated and we recieved a certificate with it, but I will have to fish it out to see what it says. These stupid companies will not get away with this. I will let everyone I know hear about this.


  30. Nancy says:

    I wouldn’t trust anyone who says they cremate your pet. The only solution to this problem is to bury your pets in your own back yard under a tree, deep, wrapped in black plastic and place a large rock on top. All of my furry friends are buried where I know they are.


  31. Debby says:

    Veterinarians are in business to make lots of money in a very short time. The one I worked for used to collect $500.00 for cremation. He would then put animals in a huge freezer in the back. When When the freezer was full the veterinarian with then stash them in the back of a large pick up truck and haul them to the rendering plant. He got paid a great deal of money for these animals because the rendering plant would boil them down giving companies substances For use in making dog food, make up, and so on. He it’s all about money. I might also add that if an animal ever dies from anesthesia take the animal immediately and have the blood tested there is a chance that it had nothing to do with anesthetic at all. The veterinarian that I worked for as a result of going into a fit of rage actually broke a cats neck and called the complications of anesthetic. It’s sad but we need to protect our animals and give the veterinarians what they deserve so be always on the lookout.


  32. Beth says:

    Debby, that vet you worked for sounds like a monster!

    It would be great if a website could be created to list ethical crematoriums for pets, and also list the unethical ones.


  33. cynthia says:

    Sorry for your loss. Since we have a garden we bury our own pets in it and can give a proper farewell. I am thankful for that rather than going behind the vets and not being able to give a decent funeral for your beloved pets.


  34. Jaye says:

    Wow… I just started doing some research to back up my complaint about our “latest” loss… and I stumbled across this article, it rang a lot of bells for me, and even though I’m in Australia the situation doesn’t seem to be very different.

    November last year I lost my old boy to lung cancer as well, he had a tickly little cough that we thought nothing of (and so did the vet) until he coughed up blood with it. We were lucky enough to have a few days to say goodbye (and treat him for the pain he must have been in). We had him cremated, I know that he was cremated with other animals (we couldn’t afford the private cremation) and the ashes we got back are all nice and fine so we can when we’re ready spread them easily down the beach (although there is a lot of them!)

    When it came time for our old girl to go, I asked for the same service… the cost was significantly higher, obviously being quite an emotional time I wasn’t able to argue the point then and there, but I specifically asked for the same service, at the same place as my boy less than 6 months before. A month later I started ringing my vet to find out where my dog’s ashes were…

    The incinerator had broken down, and they were waiting for repairs… I can’t help but think ‘ok, where is my dog during your break down? On ice, or rotting in a bag somewhere?’ ‘Now they have a backlog, I’ve been charged for a private cremation, somehow I don’t believe that’s going to happen.’ 6 weeks later I finally got the call that her ashes were back… and it was at this point that I was told she was taken to a different crematorium to the one we’d used a few months before.

    I have searched the internet for any sign of this new crematorium (Rainbow Bridge as a name doesn’t really narrow it down though) an haven’t been able to find anything. The only contact details I have been given are a mobile number and an email address, which doesn’t exactly instil confidence.

    To add insult to injury, the ashes we got back rattle in the plastic tub… we specified all the way through that we would be scattering her ashes, with our boy, down the beach… we never dreamed we would have to sieve her first! We can’t afford the littering fine on top of the individual cremation fees!

    I’m just starting the complaint process here, I hope I can find something or someone who is willing to listen and do something about this industry which seems to be preying upon people in an emotional time.

    Sorry this turned into an essay, more than anything I’m sorry that there are so many people who seem to have personal experiences that are similar… The bit that gets to me so much about it all, is that we have ‘lost’ our grieving time to anger about the situation, and I imagine it will take a long time before we can remember our poor old girl without those feelings of anger coming up as well.


  35. Francois says:

    I’ve just received back the cremated ashes of my cat. She weighed 3.9kg on the day she passed away and the ashes weighed only 33 grams. Does this sound correct?


    Minette Reply:

    Honestly there is a whole mathematical equation that was put together for figuring that out that I don’t have, sorry.


    J Steinman Reply:

    3.9kg converts to 8.59 pounds. 33 grams converts to 1.16 ounces.

    I weigh my cremains just so that I can have a record of them for my own personal use. In my records, an animal with about that same weight will yield about 5 or 5.5 ounces.

    This is just according to my own records as a crematory owner and funeral director for the state of NJ.


  36. Concerned in NC says:

    I too worry when my Grand dog passes in Mass, as want to bring him home to NC. My understanding is I cannot bring him whole so would need cremation, thus want to ensure it is him and only him. This is so wrong.


  37. Susan says:

    I have had several dogs cremated and I’ve often wondered about the ashes I received back. I do believe many time they are comingled with others. BUT…I stongly hold on to the fact that I will be reunited with my pets in the spirit world, I have no doubt in my mind. And these ashes are the vessel that held his spirit are just that. Ashes. The ashes of my dog, or mixed with some other dog, who was a loving pet. So I have come to peace with it. Now its still not right for crematories to lie to us in the name of the almighty dollar, and I would like to see 20/20 or 48 hrs. do a story on this subject.


  38. Angela says:

    I once worked at a vets and asked the vet how we knew that the ashes returned to us for the pet owner was the actual ashes of their pet… she shrugged her shoulders. I once watched the truck arrive and throw the deceased pets on board like garbage…
    To add to this, I currently work for burner engineers and we attended a pet crematorium. Their burner in the incinerator had stopped working… dogs and cats were piled high outside.
    Goodness knows how long they had been there.
    Although the thought of having my pets ashes mingled with mine when I go has always appealed (who wouldn’t)I have chosen to bury them. I couldn’t take the risk.
    For all the people who love their furry friends, we have just got to meet up them again…


  39. Johnny in Texas says:

    Our dog went the same way as we had to say good-bye to our beloved Sharpei Ziggy last week. He also had lung cancer that we had no idea he had until two days before I had to put him down. I still do not understand how he was able to live with no symptoms. The Friday before I noticed his breathing was a little fast and shallow. We brought him to our vet on Monday, she took blood and said his lings sounded fine. We were told to come in on Wednesday for X-rays. Tuesday night he started having issues catching his breath. Our vet called after looking at his x-rays the next day and said his lungs were covered with tumors. Thursday night he had a really rough night trying to catch his breath but was fine in the morning. I took him to Texas A&M Vet Hospital to see if there was anything they could do and to confirm my vets diagnosis. Once they separated from me he started having issues breathing. After three hours in a oxygen kennel, mildly sedated, he still could not catch his breath. I visited him 3 times while he was in there and each time he jumped up wagging his tail and licking me. The last time I just watched him after they closed up the kennel and he was struggling so hard to breath I agreed with their staff to let him go. He went in my arms.
    I would not let them keep his body. I had found a place to cremate him that did tagging (Treasured Paws). After my daughters told him goodbye that evening at our house, we took him to be cremated. His ashes were returned to us a few days later in the two boxes we requested. Their service was excellent. But even knowing we brought him there to be cremated and that he was tagged, we will never really know if they are his remains. We just have to hope they did what they said they would do. Does it matter? It does to me.


  40. Rocky's Dad says:

    Hello Minette, I am SO very sorry for your loss, and I KNOW how you feel. I have a big boy who is my entire world and when that sad day comes I am going to be beyond inconsolable. My Dog means more to me then anyone in my life and he IS my entire life.

    Being a NY State License holder to perform cremations, here in NY State, human AND animal cremations can only be performed by a licensed operator. That being said, I would like to say that the possibility of any unprofessional procedures or co-mingling of other animals would be disallowed and monitored continually.

    Strict follow-through and accountability are required for any body, human or animal entering the retort(cremator)and as such, any deviation of same with an animal would be met with the same punishment as a human cremation error.

    Although I haven’t performed an animal cremation (the retorts are legally separate and in different locations) I am familiar with a place here in my area that is very ethical and strict with regard to individual animal cremations, and actually encourages pet parents to be part of the process from start to finish if they care to be present, and gladly work directly with pet parents bypassing the vets altogether.

    It’s so sad there are always people and businesses who are ready and willing to take advantage of people at their weakest moments, but rest assured that God sees all and Karma has a great memory. Your baby crossed the rainbow bridge and awaits you in time. Cherish those great memories and don’t be so hard on yourself, you gave him a wonderful life full of love. Take care hun…..:)


  41. shelly boyle says:

    I had my dog Pooch cremated 22 years ago. I watched as they put his 90 lb body in the oven but I was told to pick him up 3 hours later. I came back and picked up the hot tin box with his ashes. I was still not totally convinced that the ashes were all his because they did not want anyone there for the process and were not happy that I insisted to watch them put his body into the oven. This time, when my dog, Honey, was put to sleep, I did not keep the ashes but will print a beautiful picture of her and will enjoy looking at her the way she was in life.


    Richard sands Reply:

    I sorry, but most vets that we have dealt with are in the business only for the money. As seniors, our money is very tight. We have five Chihuahua’s all in their teens, all needing care monthly. The vet we are using did allow us to have a limited account..we have never been late paying in twelve years..they let
    us know each and every time how unhappy they are at having set up the account. The Meds we pay for…the labor we put on account.
    we have a dog with swellon mollar…he’s been on meds ($100.) for three weeks..because the VET will not pull his tooth without cash. You see, they want $900.00 to pull the tooth of our chihuahua. (last month I had a tooth pulled ..$325. and they cleaned and carried the account.) Now Cassie is dying…congested heartfailure…14 years old. They have bee treating her for 14 years. Will not carry the crematorium. They told me to bury her…(alive?) ANY suggestions would really help.


  42. stephen says:

    I’m sorry to hear your story and that you were treated the way you were. I am in a pet crematory and cemetery business. I can assure you that at our facility we do cremate and track your pet the entire process. We do not use metal tags but paper. We put the pet into the crematory and the tag filled out by the vet or the owner on the door so we know who is in the crematory. Before cremation we press each paw print into clay and bake it. My tech weighs and notes each animals weight before and after cremation. We then put the tag on the cremated bones and take them to the trash. At the trash we meticulously pick out rocks and metal fragments unless the owner requests the metal be it a hip or screw or something. The metal and rocks would destroy our equipment. Once the bones are cleaned we then grind the bones into a zip lock bag so that the ashes are dry and safe. From there we put the ashes in an urn and put the tag in the urn. We then make a certificate with birth death weight and breed and name on it. We add a poem written by myself and make sure all of that matches what our tech has provided. From there we out a sticker with a personal cremation number on the bottom of the urn and remove the tag. We press a brass plate on the top of the urn that has the name and the dates of life. We then put silk rose petals in the urn and lock them shut. We match names and cremation numbers of the pet in the urn to the clay paw print and the certificate.

    We do have mix ups honestly, but our check system allows us to find the mix up. 95% of our mix ups are a result of vets mislabeling pets. So if it does get passed our system it is still your pet but the paperwork shows the wrong name. That’s why I urge people to bring their pets in personally. They will be met nicer and given more information than the vets can. We have them fill out the information sobthsy it is all correct. Also on top of it we charge $80 for any cremation under 75lbs, while some of our vets will charge $150. Well they make $70 cause we still charge them the $80. So you can save money by coming straight to us.

    Unfortunately our facility isn’t designed to view the cremation but we are trying to remodel so that can offer that in the future.

    I personally have sent 4 of my pets through our system anonymously so that my staff doesn’t treat them any better.

    I’m not saying you can trust every company as anyone can get involved, so do your research.

    Again, I am sorry for your loss and treatment but I hope I eased the burden by allowing you to know how we do it.


  43. Jeff says:

    Here in Nova Scotia Canada the name MEC Pet Services is now known by many pet owners as a fraud. The video link below shows their operation. Vet hospitals still use this company because they make the most money off of this service. If pet owners knew that the crematory they use is for incinerating farm waste and that in no way can this unit individually cremate pets they would be up in arms but the vets keep supporting this company.

    The vet community is 100 percent to blame for fraudulent pet cremation operations.


  44. Anthony says:

    In reply to your story, I, as a certified crematory operator am appalled that some businesses are like that. I do strongly suggest that families do their research on the crematories they are looking at to fill their needs and requests. I have been trained in cremations, and there are procedures to ensure private cremations, and if asked(like I am asked often) they should be able to bring the families into their crematory, and walk the family through step by step to assure them that who they get back will without a doubt be their loved one. I do this with every family I meet with, and I am confident afterwards that that family’s concerns are put to rest. Our pets are family. We watch them grow as we watch our own children grow, and in my personal opinion, they should be treated with the same respect that we would give our loved ones when that time of need arises. Nothing less will do, because these families have been through enough already,and they should be able to rely on professionals to do what is right. thank you for your time and concern in this matter…sincerely, Anthony Dubaz- Manager, Faithful Friends Pet Crematory Warren RI


  45. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your weblog? My blog is in the very
    same area of interest as yours and my users would definitely
    benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Appreciate it!


    Minette Reply:

    Sure, as long as you link back and provide us with credit that would be great 🙂


  46. Michael says:

    That us truly sickening it actually makes me glad that I buried my little girl when she died instead of taking her to be cremated it needs to be regulated by someone to insure families are truly getting there loved ones back.


  47. sarah woodruff says:

    this article is truly inspiring and it has helped me so much through my time of suffering. I was devastated when my baby was killed and when receiving her ashes I thought it would give me a sense of closure and peace but the horrible disgusting bones teeth and pelvic bone that I received instead of ashes made it far worse. I couldn’t imagine anything worse. Thank you for sharing your experience I have complained and will be getting some sort of retribution for my poor baby cat Donut.


  48. Penny says:

    My little yorkie (Tula) died 2 years ago. I wanted to have her cremated but I did not want to leave her at the vet and have every tom dick and harry handle her – i knew -no one- would care for her little body like me. so, i buried her in the yard. I wish I could have taken her to a pet funeral home. Since then my husband and I are planning to open our own pet funeral home. We are buying a machine that uses water to decompose the body as if it were buried in the ground- but the great thing is , it holds 14 individual pets. I know they are not alive, but just knowing they are not alone makes me feel better. We do not want to do mass cremation- we want for other families- what I wanted for my baby Tula. We will offer memorial services as well. If we love our pets like our children, why not give them the same good bye?
    I just wish I kept a little piece of tulas hair , or a nose print. I really miss her little nose. I am sorry for all of your troubles. I pray our business will bring peace to families – and that we would be a place people would come to trust.


  49. AshleyRockhold says:

    You stop right there! Don’t be blaming yourself! Your old dog sure in the hell wouldn’t want you to be hurting,upset,or blaming yourself.Please don’t let this awful experience effect you.It’ll be okay.I’m sorry such an awful thing happened to you.


  50. I am unable to open the box from UPS that supposedly contains the remains of my best friend, Bandit. I want to believe it is his ashes, but I seriously doubt it. I hated leaving his precious body in the hands of strangers. He had a wonderful life but died a horrible death. Bandit drowned. I will never get over this.


  51. CBM says:

    My heart aches for all who have experienced this injustice. I just had my precious dog (my child in my heat) put to sleep 3 days ago (a Tuesday). She had a very aggressive form of cancer. Before they started the procedure they told me she would be put in a freezer waiting for the crematorium to pick up all of the dogs that had passed since the last pick up, without even asking me what my wishes were first. I explained I did not want her cremated and would have a local pet cemetery pick her body up for burial. They looked at me like I had two heads, At that point my husband and I contacted the pet cemetery right then and there to discuss the arrangements with the vet. We were then told by the vet office that she would be picked up today and everything would be fine. Honestly, I am so filled with regret right now, I just felt like they would mess something up and even mentioned just taking her body home with me or directly to the cemetery just so I could know for sure. My husband and parents were there and talked me out it and the vet said to me “we’ll take good care of this kid”, so I relented
    I was just called and informed a few hours ago by the vet office that they went to get her body when the pet cemetery called to state that they were coming and “that her body was gone” that she was mistakenly picked up the very next day after her euthanasia by the crematorium and mass cremated and there are no ashes for me to have. They were so heartless when they told me this, the vet office just kept blaming the crematorium stating “we had a note on her body, they shouldn’t have picked her up”. They then had the gall to say that they would “help pay for another pet adoption” to get another dog, and the crematorium offered to give me an empty urn with her name on it. I am so full of grief, the tears are streaming down my face right now. She did not deserve this final injustice. Please for those of you reading this, personally take care of your precious dogs final arrangements. You can not trust any one else to do it. I hope I will help someone else avoid the regret and heart break I am feeling right now


  52. Jen Steinman says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I am a licensed funeral director for the state of NJ (#4937) and I just opened a pet funeral home and crematory in Jackson NJ. I cannot tell you how difficult it has been trying to break into this business as the “new kid on the block” with high – very high standards. We DO NOT cremate communally or semi-privately. We ONLY cremate one at a time, EVERY time and allow for the viewing of the process ANY TIME an owner wants to watch. Having these high standards has not made me a popular person among vets, for I am seen as being a “vet basher” when I try to encourage pet owners to bring their pets directly to our facility and not leave them at the vet office so they can know for sure what is happening to their furry one. We also make sure that we return cremains within 24 hours.

    Thanks so much for this article. It was encouragement that I really needed.


    Minette Reply:

    Share it far and wide to help people recognize what is happening and why there is a need for businesses like yours!


  53. Rocket says:

    All my previous pets died late into their senior years. They were always home with us at the time of passing and then laid to rest in the back corner of our yard.

    Less than an hour ago, my beloved bunny, Rocket, passed away while at the hospital for an overnight stay. Her heart had stopped moments after I left her and I received the news as I was driving home.

    I was told could of pick up my bunny’s remains at no additional charge to me. I could pay $65 to have her cremated, but if I wanted to keep her ashes it would cost $165.

    Because of your story, I will be picking up my bunny and will put her to rest someplace beautiful. You saved me future heartbreak!
    Thank you!


    Minette Reply:

    Glad my story could help save you from the trauma I suffered. Sorry for your loss


  54. I just found your article and I want to tell you how grateful I am to you for writing it.
    I believe that it is a conflict of interest for your veterinarian to chose your pet’s aftercare.
    Seven years ago I lost my beloved kitty of 17 years, I had cared for her for three years during her cancer treatment. Losing her was devastating and left me with a feeling of emptiness after having dedicated most of my time to her care during those years.
    Because burial of pets at home is against city regulations, when she passed away I trusted her veterinarian regarding their choice of crematory services who swore they only provided individual cremation. Years later I found out that the crematory this funeral home used, only had two cremation machines and the volume of pets they were processing at the time was of over 60 pets a day. Knowing that cremation lasts an average of two hours, I realized I had been duped.
    I also found out that veterinarians contract with rendering facilities that process everything in mass, they produce animal feed and other products I can’t comprehend.
    After this shocking revelation, I immediately proceeded to start my own pet aftercare service At Garden’s Edge Pet Aftercare in the Los Angeles area where I endeavor to remain a steward of every pet from the moment I receive their body to the moment I return them to their owner. I provide our clients with a completely transparent service. I use a facility that allows me to view the cremations and personally, my husband and I box and hand deliver to pet owner’s homes every day.
    Our facility processes no more than 3-5 pets a day and we truly operate every aspect of our work with our hearts.
    I am sorry you too experienced this sad loss; moreover, like me, that you were left with the uncertainty of not knowing if your pet’s cremains are really what you received.
    My advice to everyone is to check out with the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories to find some form of accreditation or membership your provider may have.
    And lastly, I leave your readers with this question: Would you trust your personal doctor to decide the funeral home your body will be sent to when you pass away?
    My deepest condolences for your loss.
    Teresa Summerville


  55. Jennifer A Lazik says:

    Oh no! I just read this and I lost my dirbaby January 20th, 2015. It was sudden and I was making the decision as my dog was dying. Now I am so upset. I am patiently waiting for his remains to help me with closure and to have him with me and to know it might not even be him is just destroying what self control I have left. I know now to better plan this for my other dog when it is his time. I am so saddened by this.


  56. Marinda Pritchard says:

    I’m so sorry! Our first babies were Boxers .. Duke & Dutchess ! We miss them everyday and it’s been over 13 years! We also had our babies cremated , they still are on on our mantel! Miss them so much! I know your pain! They are not just animals or dogs, they are our babies!!!


  57. Rebecca says:

    I feel the same way that you do! I was given the option at that given time to have ashes return or not. I said, “No, I don’t want the ashes return, because I can’t afford it and my boyfriend and I don’t want our Maya to be un-buried by wild animals.” When I had came to my senses I called the first thing Monday morning regarding to getting my dog ashes, because I manage to scrounge up the money to get the ashes. Now, I’m freaking out wondering if any of it actually is Maya’s ashes. My dog was euthanize on a Saturday and I had called on a Monday. 🙁 I wish I would have known about this sooner. I wish I had known better and sooner. I just wanted to let you know your not alone. Sorry for you loss of your family member (your pet/companion).


  58. Krista says:

    You mentioned friends who didn’t find some metal thing from surgery, in their pet’s remains. They actually go through and take out any metal, after cremation. It’s done with magnets a lot of the time. I would guess they wouldn’t want metal in a plastic bag, cutting holes into it.

    I think better regulations are definitely needed, but I trust the vet that had a cremation service they partnered with. Either way, your pet is not there. They have gone to a better place, and are at peace. So even if I were to find out otherwise, and it would be disappointing…so much of your pet is gone in gases etc when they are cremated. You’re only getting a very small amount of them back. Mammals are mostly made up of water. What you get back is a tiny % of what made them up. Just hold tight to the happy memories of your pet and try not to let the conspiracies weigh too heavily on your mind.


    Minette Reply:

    Actually that is untrue, the metal should have remained in most cases and was in fact part of their dog.


  59. Joe says:

    I am so sorry for your horrible experience. I am an owner of a pet crematory/funeral home and hear these type stories from clients on a weekly basis. It makes us so sad. A reputable pet crematory would disclose every detail of your pet’s afterlife care. You are right, “how do I know which ones are reputable?”, ask many, many questions, request detailed answers and visit the facility before hand. We strongly encourage all clients to make pre-arrangements. If you’re working through a Veterinarian, ask them if they have toured their cremation service providers facility. If they haven’t, ask why. Again I am sorry for your loss.


  60. Renee says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your dog and everything you went through with your dogs ashes. I do have a question. I unexpectedly had to have my dog put to sleep a year ago. I had her buried, but was wanting to have her dug back up to have her cremated so our ashes can be together when I pass away, but my concern is wondering if you think there is a big chance that it would not even be my dogs ashes that I get back. Is there anyway to know for sure? I did have someone that said they would come and get her to cremate her.


    Minette Reply:

    I had a bad experience. I wouldn’t have another dog cremated unless I could go and be there and watch that he/she is the only one in there and then wait for the duration.


  61. gh says:

    This makes sense. I had my last cat who died ‘privately’ cremated. I bought a urn, necklace and even had his picture tattooed on me with his ashes soaked into the ink. I’m sure it’s not even my cat, now


  62. Rachel Johnson says:

    When I lost my girl, black Lab, Misty I got her back in a wooden box with a metal tag riveted onto the box. It had her name and a number on it. I buried it under a tree in my yard and wanted my ashes to be sprinkled on her grave. I guess the best I have now is the hope it is her ashes and that I see her again when I cross over.


  63. Trista says:

    I literally just went through this last week. My beloved sweet dog was staying with my parents temporarily until we could get a house. This was nice bc after living in an apartment for 3 years I knew shed love being out in the country. Then out of nowhere I get a text (yea.. a text) from my step mother stating she didnt know any other way to tell me, but my sweet Tessa had died that AM and my dad buried her that afternoon.
    Fast forward two days, my boyfriend refuses to let me go get her, and goes and gets her himself, and takes her to Paws & Remember. As soon as they arrived, they tagged her with a metal tag with a specific number on it, and that tag stayed with her throughout the entire process. Inckuded in the cost was a beautiful hand carved wooden box with her name and years lived engraved on it (she was adopted so I didnt have her exact DOB), and inside was a decent sized bag tightly sealed with a zip tie and that, now beat up looking, metal tag. I was also given two smaller baggies to spread her ashes in the mountains where we called home when we vacationed there.
    I couldnt imagine going through what the author went through, or others. There were a few places I looked at that were a little cheaper, but went with this place bc they pride themselves on individual cremations. And the reviews were great! I was also given a tuft of her fur, which is their policy to further prove its your loved pet inside the urn.
    Thank you Paws & Remember for taking such good care of my sweet girl.


  64. Carrie Schaefer says:

    My baby Geno was a 12 lb. chihauhau mix. He had a heart condition, amongst other things. I brought him into VCA animal hospital in West Sacramento, CA because he couldn’t swallow properly. They told me it may be time, so I had him put to rest. I regret not staying during the procedure, but my 4 year old daughter was with me and I couldn’t stop crying. I just trusted the Vet and left with my daughter while they did the procedure. It was so hard to kiss his head and walk out of the room while he was still alive. Weeks later (4 weeks) I called and asked where his ashes were and they said the crematory still had him and were to deliver him during the weekend. I then called the crematory and they said they never saw him. Then, on a Friday, the manager from VCA said they were going to pick him up on Saturday for me. I called the crematory Saturday around 4 p.m. and the lady said “oh yes, they brought Geno in this morning” I couldn’t believe that VCA lied to me, stating that Geno was at the crematory for 4 weeks. I asked the manager at VCA what happened and why she lied, and she said “we forgot about him in the freezer for 4 weeks”. I insisted a refund, which they gave me $200 out of the $400 it cost for everything. Never really an apology, just kept babbling. So frustrating. To this day I don’t trust that Geno’s ashes are really his. It sickened me to pursue this story further, but I wanted to vent today and let all know. Thank you for listening. Carrie


  65. Bryn says:

    I’ve been researching the vetrinary and rendering business for a year now and the worst part of the cremation business is that most vetrinary clinics will tell you that your pet will be ctemated and they’ll put them in the freezer but instead of paying to use their cremator they just let the dead truck pick them up and give you left over ashes from previous cremations wihch they keep near the cremator. Its sad but the veterinary clinic will get $$$ for multiple bodies and not have to shell out to use their machine.


  66. Sean Purdom says:

    Folks, I am the owner of a pet cremation business and I can tell you that not ALL pet cremation providers operate the way many of your comments suggest. The fact of the matter is that we provide cremation services to the vet. We give them all the information, documentation and training that we can. WHAT THE VET CLINIC TELLS THEIR CLIENTELE IS COMPLETELY UP TO THEM. Think about this…how much employee turnover do you see at your specific clinic. I will tell you that the only consistency my clinics have is ME. Turnover is HUGE in the vet industry. Why is this important? Because, the training programs, especially for after-death care are weak to non-existent. Most veterinary employees have NEVER seen the crematorium that they are using. Sad, but true. I deal with the inconsistencies at each of my clinics constantly.

    So, with that said, did you know that you have every right as a pet owner to take your pet from the clinic, after euthanasia and bring your pet to the pet cremation service of your choice? This way, you can research and visit your pets final resting place. I routinely tour families in my facility and describe to them the whole cremation process, including all the documentation that follows the pet.

    So, the next time you have to deal with pet cremation, be a responsible owner and check out all your options.


  67. tammy moore says:

    i was wondering about something,my baby wintons was put to sleep 4 years ago the place tht done it let me on and just gave him medicane to relax but didnt let me stay while he passed away my heart was broke,when i got his remains they were ina box,which i had to get him out and put him in a special place i had for him but there was bones and other things in the bag it has bothered me forever cause i thought when you got them it was just ashes,i would like to here some input on this their is a story behind him and what happen


  68. Joanna says:


    Can you tell me the name of your crematory? I live in NJ and am researching places.

    thank you


  69. Alton Tyler says:

    This was a heart wrenching post and I can’t begin to imagine how you feel! You have my deepest sympathies and respect for your courage throughout your horrible experience! We operate a pet crematory in the Charleston South Carolina area and have heard of very similar experiences as yours. Our jaws drop in disbelief that such practices can and do actually occur! Our whole goal when we opened our facility was to honor our furry friends the same as we do our human friends and loved ones. We believe we do, no….I KNOW WE DO! We only do 100% private pet cremations so that there is and cannot ever be co-mingling of cremains! Period! We operate the machines, we know how they work. Trust me, there is no way, no matter what others might tell you, to separate cremains with a divider and effectively assure that no cremains mix. We have a very thorough tracking process to make sure this happens. We also offer and strongly encourage our clients to visit and take a tour our facility at any time and without prior notice. We have a 100% open door policy! We even encourage our pet families take part in the process if they so desire!

    I know that your post encourages people to share your thoughts; however, I would like to further ask you for your permission to duplicate and publish your thoughts in various outlets, such as facebook and even link it to our web page. We are currently pursuing the possibility of getting our state to enact further regulations in this industry, because it is the right thing to do!!

    Again you have our deepest sympathies for your loss.



    Minette Reply:

    Yes, you are welcome to share this as long as you give me and the dog training secret credit


  70. Bill says:

    Thank you, Jen Steinman.


  71. Taylor says:

    I have been researching for awhile because my Chaweenie of 14 years has gone wobbly and deaf. I want to cremate him when the time comes, unfortunately we are in those years. I want him in the best hands. Are we allowed to be there for cremation? Considering it is not regulated, how could the request be denied?


    Minette Reply:

    If the request is denied find another facility


  72. Minette says:

    I am the author. There is not much you can do. I tried to get the national news involved but no one was interested in my story. I am so sorry


  73. Tammy says:

    I think what you are doing is a great job. To me someone who only deals with the vets have something to hide. You cant find there name number or anything anywhere, only the vet knows.
    Keep up the good work, vets might not be happy, but who cares !!
    People are happy and actually get their pets and in time your name will get around. Vets prob upset cause they dont get a cut.
    I just went threw this and it took over a month to get my baby back, and I like others paid for single service, but doubt it is her. No papers, no nothing, just a zip lock and a burn tag in a sealed plastic box in a plain box for pick up with a tiny tag that has my name on it.


  74. P. Kovac says:

    Thank you for alerting people about this awful situation. I had no idea about the problems in the pet cremation industry & only became suspicious after receiving the ashes of my dear cat, Madeline.
    After she passed away the vet referred me to what seemed to be a reputable cremation company. It cost $325 AUD, which covered picking her up from the vet, individuall cremation & dropping her ashes back to the vet with a candle & certificate.
    After organising the cremation, I purchased a designer urn, from another company, to place her ashes in. As soon as I received the urn I opened the ashes & was surprised at how large the bag of ashes was for a cat of around 5-6 kg. However, it was when I went to place the ashes in my urn that I realised something was up. The ashes Filled up a 20 kg capacity urn over half way.
    I’m so disappointed, l feel like it probably wasn’t an individual cremation & I’ve been given a mixture of other animal remains.


  75. Tomara Thompson says:

    I ordered my cat of 17 yrs to be cremated. I was billed but the crematory threw her remains away. Im in georgia. Does anyone know any legal help? Im devastated to say the least.


  76. Jody Brickner says:

    I learned that lesson this month, too. I will never again let my vet make that decision, because he just expects me to accept the fact that the cremation service is a “contractor” that does not need to take enough pride in their work to identify themselves on the crappy cremation certificate with the fill in the blanks for name and date. I had to ask who did it. It took them 9 days to return the alleged ashes. I found out it was actually a business address 1 mile away from my vet. When I compared them to previous pets ashes (done by a previous service that actually was professional enough to put out a professional certificate with their name on it) they were black rather than white or gray, and the mass of ashes for my cats cremated by the new service were equal to the amounts to 3 of my dogs, about 66 percent more than a cat of equal size and about 60 percent more than one of my dogs, who weighed about 40 pounds in the prime of his life. The cats weighed about 10 to 13 pounds. It does not make sense. No matter what my vet or this “contractor” tells me, I know that I cannot have any faith in this service and there is no way I will ever leave a deceased pet at my vet.


  77. Jeff says:

    Most machines that do the the cremations are designed to hold 300 to 500 Ibs. Very sad, but obvious no one is getting their individual ashes. The manufacturers of these machines should be held accountable. The heat and energy required to function has to be very high. Need to enforce legislation and be sure only 1 pet is done at a time. If this happened to Obama’s dog, you know something would be done. There apparently is no agency that monitors local cremation facilities and their practices. Somebody or group needs to get this changed.


  78. Jeff says:

    If you research pet cremation equipment, you will see that the equipment they sell is based on batch size.


  79. Braedyn says:

    We just euthanized my baby licorice a week and a half ago and gave him to the vet to cremate. I am too waiting for his ashes but reading this has worried me.


  80. Mark Lux says:

    I am the owner of a pet crematory in Wisconsin and this article by Minette is very close to “spot on”. The metal disc can be cheated, we use video. The comment by Sean Purdom about having no control over what the pet hospital staff says to their clients and the staff turnover is very true. Trusting you veterinarian with your pets life is good, but trusting them with the after-death care, not so good. I compete with a crematory that uses this terminology: “Your pet is privately placed into a compartment within the cremation chamber” & “Your pet is individually placed into the cremation chamber” My attorney says “what does that mean?”, but the pet owners don’t question the vague terms used. When I call the hospitals that use my competitor they all tell me “it will be only your pet in the cremation chamber”, yet they have no clue.
    Minette is completely correct, NO ONE CARES. This is huge consumer fraud throughout the country and nobody will pay attention. Not news media, not governing officials, not state veterinarian boards or even your local vet.
    Check out “The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat”


  81. D. Miller says:

    I had my 152 lb dog cremated 10 weeks ago. It took over two weeks to get him back. My trouble is once I opened the box to bury a small amount at the farm (Rest to be buried with me), found a slip inside of which is how I found out whom the crematory was and it was marked unknown breed, unknown sex, and weight at 172. Called the crematory whom knew nothing, yet asked me then what was the dogs weight. Told them since they would not disclose what the cremation cost I was not telling his actual weight. He seemed nervous and began blaming the vet for the mix up. Had called vet before crematory and told it was his day off. yet 20 minutes after talking to crematory the vet calls me and he said correct weight was 152 and he forgot to write that on cremation although he said he told them breed and sex of my dog! He seemed nervous ((And I was very calm). I had mentioned to both parties that I had been witness to cremations and people have been given other ashes, sand, even kitty litter back and this rubbed them I could tell. Now 30 minutes later the vets asst calls me (Very snotty) tells me she found a chart they went by and the dog fell into the 150 and 200 range and that’s what they went by, well still no one can answer me “Where did the 172 come from”???… Now 15 minutes later (and his day off) the vet calls and begins to yell that he did me a favor and he came in an hour early to kill and euthanize my dog, that I called him and he did me a favor….. I had to raise my voice just to get a word in now, he said don’t worry it’s your dogs remains. He still won’t answer my question “Where did the 172 come from”…. Sad but true, it’s all about the money…. And this vet (Northern WI) has a clinic that has been passed down for generations,


  82. I had to put my dog down two days ago. She was nearly two years old. She was the love of my LIFE. I brought her to this vet I have never been to before that seemed to have good reviews. I was hoping for a comforting environment with supportive staff as it was going to be hard enough. It wa the opposite. From the time I walked in I had two words with the Doctor before he grabbed my puppy and poked the needle into her. Before the doctor shot her I asked if they last minute knew any place at all in the world that could rescue her and they rudely said no and just have my puppy the shot. She screamed in pain and I was told to go wait in the lobby with her until she falls asleep. I was left completely alone and distraught holding my little girl while her eyes were getting more fear in them and her body was getting weak. Eventually the doctor came in and told me that her eyes weren’t going to close and she was sleeping already and GRABBED her from me and as he did she was still looking in my eyes and made the faintest little woof. I knew she was still alive and my heart crushed into a million pieces. I barely got a chance to say goodbye to her. As he was walking into the back I asked him where they burry the dogs and he simply replied someone will come pick her up and cremate her. My heart crushed even more. They never even told me this. On the phone when I made the appointment they actually used the word burry her so I thought the wrong thing the whole time until it was too late. The guilt kills me. Wasn’t said a word to as I left the building. These people have NO remorse for your feelings it’s all about the money and making it quick before you have second thoughts. The sad part is that they will never care about how confused and horrific they made my already bad experience be. I’ll never forget my wittle Nilla<3 I would love to drag down these people.


  83. Dawn says:

    Last week I had to put my beautiful Grwat Dane, Maggie Mae down & wanted her cremated so her ashes will be mixed with mine & my other little love Annie when my time comes. I just opened the burlap bag containing Maggie’s ashes and they are BLACK … almost sand like, with very little parts of “bone fragments.” After pulling out Annie’s ashes – they look NOTHING alike!! Have you ever heard of “black” ashes? Can a DNA test be done to see if it is indeed my beloved girl? I cut patches of her hair b/4 letting them take her. Please answer. I am already heart broken & not I’m just freaking out.


    Minette Reply:

    you have no recourse and no, no dna test unless you have thousands of dollars to ask a laboratory and pay for such an expense.


  84. Dawn says:



  85. gail says:

    I am SOOOOOOOO glad you brought this up!!
    I had a MUCH loved pet cremated back in the 1990’s, and for some unknown reason, have always had a sense that the remains I got back weren’t his!

    My 5 year old pet has just now been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I’m doing everything I can to keep him going!
    But, when his time comes, I’m going to be sure and WITNESS his cremation and insist on getting his ashes returned to me as quickly as possible!


  86. Don White says:

    Great Article. Sorry for your loss. I am going through the process of planning a ceremony for my angel who is in hospice care but is beginning to show signs of wanting to be liberated to the next phase in the cycle.

    Thanks for the information. It is unfortunate that animals are treated with such little regard yet they possess the same characteristics that we hold so dear in humans. The entire animal industry needs regulations from the crappy dog foods, vet care, meds, and crematories. Our legislators let the pet industry fleece the loving and good intentioned pet companions.


  87. Linda says:

    I just went through the same thing. I was distraught over my little Zoey’s death and did’nt think to ask important questions and called after I left her at the vet to see who does the cremation and was given two different stories and could tell they were lying. I’m now really wondering whether I’ll get her ashes. I seriously doubt it. I wanted her ashes to be buried with me but now I don’t know what to do.I told them I wanted her body back to bury her and they said she was gone just a couple of hours after her death. I’m just praying they did’nt just throw her in a trash pit somewhere. I wish I had just brought her home and buried her! I keep telling myself that she was gone and that it should’nt matter but now I’m feeling so guilty and that I let her down! I guess if they do that to peoples precious animals God will deal with them in the end. I’m just now praying for piece of mind and the strenghth to get over this terrible experience. God bless you all and peace be with you!


  88. sharon says:

    I had put my Choc. Lab down 4 weeks ago,,, I had him cremated,, I am so upset over him dying,,, He was 11 half years old,,, It has been 35 days now without him,,, I cant get over it..


  89. Ana says:

    I am so glad I found this post. Not because of what you went through, but because I am not alone in my pain.

    On July 8th by fur soul mate (who was turning 16 on the 11th of July) started having trouble walking. Like your baby, it was very sudden. He was admitted to the ICU on the 9th and we found out his kidneys were shutting down. We left his there for fluid therapy to see if he would respond, but he got worse overnight.

    When I saw him on the 10th, his breathing was labored, his eyes covered in yellow discharge and his nose so dry it hurt. He looked at me as though pleading to end that pain. I had no doubt that I could not let him suffer and I said goodbye to my angel that day.

    Like you, we paid for an individual cremation and to have the ashes returned. Well, last Thursday they called us and told us “they made a mistake”. They cremated my baby with other dogs and scattered his ashes in their cemetery. I cannot even begin to explain the pain I felt. It was a mix of hatred, shock, disbelief and pure rage. Aside from having to say goodbye to my friend of 16 years, I also was denied the closure of having his ashes with me (I also wanted to be buried with them). I could have died that day.

    I try to re-frame my thought process because there is nothing I can do at this point, but at the same time, their “mistake” is something that I will take with me forever. I am trying to think of different ways to have closure and to honor my friend, but it’s been hard.


  90. Ana says:

    I am going through the same thing right now. I know 2 years have passed for you, but I hope you found peace and that I can as well.


  91. Ebrady says:

    I know this was a while back but I just found this site and am going thru the same thing right now. Usually, what is left after a cremation has bones but they are then pulverized. Yours must not have been.


  92. Ebrady says:

    I am the same way. Had my lab cremated several years ago. Ashes have been in an urn in my my house. I just had my 16 yr old baby put to sleep. I started calling the vet for her ashes. Told for 3 days ‘in transit’ Then when I asked transit from where they suddenly said she’d been sent to the animal shelter by mistake which does supposedly do private cremations at 150$ less than where she was supposed to be sent. I got a little box with ashes, no paperwork whatsoever, I was told I only have her word for it. I have been devastated since my Missy died and even more so now. She was my baby and was treated like crap, like nothing


  93. Jenny Parr says:

    I just had a bad experience with my vet and the a pet cremation place in PA. Since you are in a similar business please tell me if there is an overseeing agency, where we can report these things. Am I right in assuming you have to be licensed? Are they the ones we should report these things too? Bless you for sticking to your moral convictions


  94. Lya says:

    I just lost my little girl (kitty) Lylou, 2.5 weeks ago and cremated her remain. But the ashes are far too much for a cat that weighs less than 5 lbs…
    I opened the urn and it is impossible for her to leave that much of ashes.. I know from the experiences of privately cremating my previous cats back in Japan, which was warmly, they even let us always pick the bones and put it into the urn. I was always able to make sure they were mine and were able to go home with us right away… The man always helped us understand the process of cremating, sometimes even explained the parts and forms of bones to us.

    Right now I am only hoping that at least she Is included in this heavy heavy bag of ashes… And care for anyone who is in the bag… It breaks my heart to think that her remain is not in it, and this is not only happening to us but also to the other beloved pets and the owners…… I wish to find out the truth.

    “I will never be able to get him back, and my heart will hurt about that for the rest of my life. I will also always blame myself…”, This breaks my heart and is also what I exactly feel. Lylou and I were so close, literally being together all the time. She died only 2 years old, of a heart disease. I miss her but I accepted her death. But now that her ashes may not be hers, is keeping me go back to that time I left her to those hands that day…..

    I will share your article whenever I get a chance.


  95. Lindsey says:

    So sorry for you and everyone’s experiences like this 🙁 breaks my heart to hear people handeling precious family members this way. I work at a funeral
    Home where we cremate humans and pets and we treat the pets like the people all separate unless stated otherwise. Unfortunately not everyone handles it this way 🙁 and to answer the question of metal yes it all comes out and people only get metal back if they ask.


  96. Amanda says:

    I worked for vets and I worked for the city animal control department which had its own crematorium. I know what can happen…. mass bodies, incinerator breaking down mid burn, etc. It’s not pretty. People are horrified to learn that I cremated my own dog in the backyard. Yes, it took a long time. But it was private, dignified, and I knew that the ashes belonged to my Max. Don’t judge. If you’ve seen the things I’ve seen, you’d agree my backyard cremation was the best choice for me.


  97. lisa says:

    Does anyone know a reputable place to cremate a horse or a place I can sit and watch it being done to make sure I am getting my horse back


  98. lisa says:

    How can I make sure my horse is getting cremated properly? I like your idea but would it work for a horse?


  99. Jodi Clock says:

    I just stumbled onto your post and I love it! I am both a pet parent and a pet loss/crematory owner. For your very reason is the purpose I went into business. There is a movement started within the pet cremation profession to stop this and to educate pet parents and vet clinics regarding total transparency and full disclosure. Its called the PLPA (Pet Loss Professional Alliance). Thank you for writing this!


  100. Irma says:

    I probably should have done the same with my baby she died on either 10/31/16 or 11/1/16 stupid vet wouldn’t even tell me am in California and the vet that did the optosy on her send her remains to angel paws in San Marcos ca to get her cremated I didn’t know that I could be present for her cremation I got curious and I called them directly to find out if I could be there and they said I could as long as I upgrade to their platinum pkg and I did and I was suppose to be there on 11/10/16 for her little viewing and cremation but is so weird that they call me yesterday 11/7/16 and left me a message that they had to cremate her on Sunday 11/6/16 according to them cuz they had an outage in their area and their freezers went off and supposedly the dog budys decompose so bad that they couldn’t allow me the private viewing and cremation with my baby but again is so weird nothing made sense cuz according to them they discover it once they got back in on Monday from been off on the weekend so if they were off during the weekend how is it that they supposedly cremated my baby on Sunday not only that I check their web site and it saids they open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm now I don’t know if when they send my baby’s ashes to the vet for me to pick up now how can I know if am really getting my baby’s ashes is all confusing worse thing is that is my understanding that no one regulates the pet crematories no one over sees them doing the right thing to them is just a business their source of income and they don’t understand that to us is not just cremating any dog been found dead in some street they are our love ones and they don’t seem to respect that who nos what am getting in the urn am so hurt first damn stupid vet kills my baby and now I can’t even be sure am getting her ashes back home is so obsurd the things people can do for money they don’t realize the damage they cause the problem is that no one does anything to fix it…


  101. Amanda says:

    My soul mate (dog) Spirit passed away Dec 9th 2016. I took her body myself to the pet cremation and had them walk me through the process. I paid for a Private cremation and a viewing but when it came time to watch her be put in the fire I couldn’t do it. I waited on the waiting room instead. It took about 90 minutes to have a 15 pound Chihuahua cremated, cooled, packaged and returned to my arms. I did wonder how the could cool her so quickly but I was under such grief i wasn’t in the mood to ask questions. I was certain it was her ashes…….until I got home. I was looking through her ashes because I just wanted to be close to her. but what i saw was so confusing. it looked like sand. it had colored bits of blue, green, and other speckles i couldn’t explain. The thought that this may not be her ashes is what led me to search and find your article. This place was so professional. The absolute best. I can’t imagine how they would not be her ashes but something in me has serious doubt….what should we do?


    Minette Reply:

    I wish there was something that could be done… but until someone has the ability to get someone in power with laws involved there will be no change.


  102. Richard Melrose says:

    Krista, you are correct that part of the cremation process is to go through and separate out any metal that may be left after the actual cremation stage. It has nothing to do with preventing holes in plastic bags, though.

    The reason is that after the actual cremation, there are still many pieces of whole bones which legitimate businesses put into a processor/pulverizer along with the ashes ( people don’t want to get back significant bone pieces; they expect ashes, so pulverizing the bone fragments is part of the process ).

    Because of this, metal pieces are certainly separated out from the ashes/bones so as not to damage the pulverizing equipment, which is basically just a heavy-duty, stainless steel processor which is powerful but not really that large of a machine because it’s designed to process the bones/ashes of only one pet at a time.

    In fact, when I read that Minette’s friend didn’t get the metal piece back with their pet’s ashes, I thought, well actually that might be a good sign that they did get a reputable crematorium business .. because it probably means that: 1) the cremations remains were sifted through so as not to damage their processor equipment; .. and 2) the only likely reason they would do that is because they’re probably processing the remains properly. A dishonest crematorium wouldn’t even take that extra step to process the bones; instead, they’d just scoop up a pile of ashes from the overabundant amount of regular ashes that would be available if they were just doing dishonest mass cremations.


  103. Richard Melrose says:

    Amanda, I’m so sorry for your loss of Spirit, no doubt a precious part of your soul. I firmly believe that as our beloved furry family members take a piece of our soul with them, they also leave a piece of their soul with us; and I believe that when we pass from this physical life over to our spiritual existence, our soul will be reunited with every being that we’ve traded pieces of our soul with.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t be concerned that the whole turnaround process took only 90 minutes. Crematoriums are a business, and no matter how altruistic the owners are, they no doubt use methods that maximize turnaround ( i.e., metal pans and metal brushes to collect the very hot ashes .. and a cooling system to speed up the time to be able to continue to the next processing step ).

    I only know this from researching online regarding the process because my precious rescue sweetie-girl pit bull named Ruby was just diagnosed to likely have cancer, and I want to become fully informed about what to do before I have to make the tough decisions later.

    Although I’ve pretty well learned the process of cremation and the equipment and methods used, I have no clue regarding what you described as what looks like sand with colored bits and speckles in it. Actually, I do have a guess, and that would be that it might be related to some sort of residue left over from cleaning out — possibly including some sandblasting — of the furnace, but if so, they should have done a more meticulous vacuuming job afterward.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to the company and express your concern that there seems to be some contamination in your beloved pet’s ashes, and you’d like them to clearly explain what it is. Let them know that you don’t want them to reprocess the ashes, you just want to know what it is and why is it in with your pet’s ashes? I have to say, though, that if they offer to take the ashes back to “fix it”, I would NOT do that. I would simply want the explanation, but I wouldn’t want my beloved ashes to be out of my possession again. In fact, I would NOT eve take the actual ashes back; I would only take a good photo to show them what you’re talking about.


  104. Richard Melrose says:

    Minette, thank you for what must have been a very difficult story to write. My heart was aching for you as I read it. In spite of it being a difficult subject, it was very well written, and I’m sure you will help a lot of people realize that this industry’s lack of regulation certainly does create too high of a possibility of dishonest practices that all loving pet parents should know about and consider, hopefully before they’ve run out of time to consider options.

    Hopefully, it’s not as prevalent as it feels; however, without regulatory oversight, strict and very specific laws, harsh penalties, substantial annual permit fees ( to pay for enforcement inspectors ) and frequent surprise inspections, the industry is — without a doubt — strongly influenced by dishonest competitors cutting corners to out-price those who want to do things right.

    You are so right — and I’m glad you made the very important point — that it’s irrelevant how honest and caring your veterinary office people are; they aren’t the ones who control the practices of the crematoriums. So people should at least make their own arrangements to deal directly with a crematorium that they’ve personally visited and spoken to the owners/managers/workers so they can depend on their own instincts about whether or not they can trust the particular business.

    It’s so sad that many [?most?] people simply don’t have many options, .. and many of those who might have options don’t think about it until they’re out of time to figure it out.

    The ground where my wife & I live is too rocky to even plant a rosebush, so for our smaller pets, my wife and I have always gone out and purchased a large planter pot { ..about 2 feet tall and about 20 inches wide.. } for each of our kitty children who have died. We fill the first third of the pot with potting soil, preferably mixed with the moisture-control beads to help control the soil moisture better and so when we water it, the water is less likely to run all the way through to the bottom of the pot; .. then we place our sweetheart’s body in the pot, which now occupies about half of the pot ( .. and we sprinkle flower petals and have our special “goodbye” time ); .. then we put in enough dirt to just cover our baby’s body by a few inches of soil, so now the pot is about two-thirds full; .. then we put the plant in ( usually a very fragrant type of rosebush ) and surround it with dirt to plant it. The first time we did this, we were worried we might have odor issues, but we never have, and we now have eleven kitties who we’ve memorialized this way. If-and-when we ever move, I guess one entire truckload will be solely for our memorial pots. My wife always makes a little memorial plaque for each one using a slate plate she buys at Michaels, and uses outdoor paint and an outdoor ModgePodge sealer .. and hangs them on a planter hook. Each time we water our flowers, we of course take a few seconds to tell each one we love them and miss them and are looking forward to seeing them again. And when the roses are in bloom and fragrant, it’s really a sweet little memorial time every few days.

    Anyway, Minette, I hope you ( .. and any of you reading this who are distraught about possible mismanagement of your pet’s remains .. ), I hope you believe, as I do, that when we pass from this physical body, our soul will be reunited with the souls of those ( .. human and animal .. ) who were joined to our soul through love in this life.

    I haven’t always believed that way, being raised in traditional Christianity, but after my first kitty died — and I couldn’t just accept that such a loving creature with such a complex and amazing personality would just .. “poof!” .. vanish into nothingness — my intense grief led me to use the convenience of the internet to pull together spiritual understanding about the matter including from the Bible, and it’s certainly a matter for a completely different thread than this one, but the more I read and considered and prayed, the more my spirit felt right that animals were part of Man’s environment in the perfect beginning (Eden), .. and they are part of the perfect kingdom to come (Isaiah 11:6-9), .. and why would “all of creation groan awaiting the revealing of the sons of God” ( Romans 8:19 ), if they didn’t have some anticipation that they would be involved in the coming kingdom? Anyway, my goal wasn’t to just convince myself of what I wanted to believe, but it was a serious quest to find enough truth to settle the question within myself; .. and I was happy to find enough evidence to believe what I now believe, .. that we WILL be reunited with ALL of our loved ones.

    So, coming back from my tangent, .. thank you again, Minette, for writing this important article. With enough enlightenment .. and enough people realizing that our laws need to address our very special bond with our pets, .. I hope we can soon effect changes to this very important industry that so badly needs serious regulation and oversight and strict enforcement.


  105. Stefani Dichiara says:

    This is the first time I am writing about my beloved cat Sammie, who passed on this past Friday 12/31/16. I had to make the decision to have him put to sleep abruptly because he was in stage 4 kidney failure. This was the second time I took him to this vet so they could re-evaluate him They did an ultrasound of his kidneys and the Dr, said yes, they were compromised. Sammie was so frail and I had to make the decision right then- alone. I remember holding him before, he was rubbing his head against my neck. I looked down and saw his little white paws. I didn’t stay for the procedure- I feel extremely guilty and have been non stop crying. I left like a coward, to spare myself the horror…As I left the room I heard the receptionist lady who was helping the Dr. say, “Should we do it right here?”…it didn’t hit me until I was in the car, as I was sobbing….those words…they still haunt me. I am sorry about the morbid details, but no one understands…I have 3 other cats one being a litter mate…all of them have been sleeping more than usual and were wandering around the house…almost like they were looking for Sammie. It’s heartbreaking. I originally told them to have Sammie cremated, that I wanted a private cremation…but after researching….and reading your story and others…I am going to call tomorrow and cancel. They want $160.00 for the private cremation, of which I get a box back that the lady said “is very pretty”….it’s not the money, I would have gladly paid it, if like you said, if…I was 100% sure it was my pets ashes. I know I made the right decision…sometimes I am not sure I did…I have my “what ifs”…I knew I did not want him to suffer anymore. I’ve had relationships end, great loves…but this pain I have never felt. I feel like I killed my cat, by making “that decision”….that is the worse part.


  106. Marlene says:

    For no doubt i rather burried like old times. How is realy suppose to. You see your love pet in the casket before is burried in front of your eues uou have a place to go visit cry talk. I dont bilieve in private creamation at all. When the hell did this creamation shit started before was not like that why cus is cheaper even for humans your geting every else bods ashes lots of moneu involved in this creamation shit.


    Minette Reply:

    Humans aren’t euthanized. Humans die on their own. Also humans use caskets. Chemicals are used to euthanize animals and so burial must be down 6 feet and most people don’t want to dig a hole that deep.


  107. Vikki martin says:

    I lost my boy Harvey on New Years morning I’m so heartbroken he was not only my dog he was my best friend a big piece of me will never be back he was let down by vets for pets who didn’t do tests on him when white blood cells were found in his urine he died with a tumour in his bladder that was the size of his bladder they are lying about events I am taking it further maybe they couldn’t have saved him but my boy died in severe pain I’m totally devastated I’ve asked ER vets to cremate Harvey on his own I’m hoping they respect my wishes I’m so sorry for your loss xx


  108. Deb says:

    I just lost my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Roxie Starr December 29, 2016, due to heart failure. Of course I wanted her cremated, so we took her to the vet and they sent her to a pet crematory. Tonight I opened the box for the first time to see her ashes. Of course I lost it..tears, sobbing, missing her terribly. I can’t describe how lost iam without her. I hope these are her ashes and not mixed with others. What a horrible thought that this might not be all her. But one thing she left with me is her paw print in my heart. I hope to be joined again with her someday. When I die I want her ashes buried with me. To everyone on here that lost there pet..
    I’m so sorry for your loss. This is very hard to deal with. Take care all!


  109. Terry says:

    Thank you for sharing your painful story and informing those of us who DO care. I have had 1 dog and 2 cats cremated. I’ve always wondered about the dog’s ashes. The bag I received looks like it is filled with pure white coarse sand from the craft store. The ashes for both cats look like ashes. Dark grey, powdery soft like fireplace ashes would look. No one can explain to me why there is such a marked difference in color and texture.


  110. I am so sorry you experienced this horrible pain and frustration, its all to common. This is why my husband and I started our own pet cremation business. We are small one on one service, we pick up from the vets or your home or you can come to our facility direcetly and we do the cremations no one else. Offering the pet owner peace of mind and some solace is our goal we feel we are doing just that based on our customer feed back and referrals. Educating the public is very hard to do regarding this subject and you have done a wonderful job explaining and sharing your story and feelings on it. I hope you are healing from the loss of your furry companion.


  111. Julie says:

    Hi I had my dog cremated only last week and she came home I a nice beech casket with a gold plate with her name on and she was put on the front seat of the van with the driver she always loved sitting in front of the car bless her it made me happy to see her come out of the front seat of the van


  112. Ceil Slauson, RNBSN says:

    My sister was hurt like you when her heart dog passed. I can’t imagine the pain when betrayal is added to the grief. Abbey Glen and Hamilton Pet Meadow in NJ provide for viewing, so you know it is your heart dog involved. My own grave is in Hamilton Pet Meadow and I expect to rest there amid my heart dogs and all my beloved “kids” when the time comes.


  113. tracey howitt says:

    i have had all my babies cremated over the years.i recently looked as i do from time to time at their ashes&i have always doubted them.gabannas ashes weigh so much&i have always picked up the bag&make sure all the ashes are at the bottom of the bag so when i open it none will spill out.but recently for the 1st time i spread the ashes in the bag.then i noticed something in the bag.i was horrified.theres a incinerated hairgrip AND the pin off the back of a brooch&i dont know how to deal with one would have especially a pin on their pets


  114. rachelee says:

    Hi Stefani, I just had to put two cats down in the past year and I just want to tell you how sorry I am sorry about your Sammie. Please don’t be hard on yourself about not being able to be there for the euthanasia — you did what was right for you and Sammie. If being there was stressful for you, Sammie would have picked up on that and it would have made it much worse for him. Your feelings of having killed your cat are normal (I’ve been through that as well) — but it’s just because they depend on us their whole lives. And, in the end, you tell yourself that there’s something you could have done. But you couldn’t do anything except let him go. Eventually your grief will get better and you’ll realize that you did the right thing for Sammie – you did the only thing you could have done, as someone who loved him. Take care of yourself.


  115. Melissa says:

    When I had my sweet 16 year old Sam euthanized, the vet I had used for years, was horrible. He yelled at me for saying that I wanted Sam in my arms. No sedation was offered. He walked in, jammed the needle in his vein and then walked out without a word. I will never use him again! I only hope that the ones who did the cremation were honest people. I know that calling them will never bring him back and would probably cause more grief. So, I have to accept things just as they are. Sam, I love you so very much and I hope that you can forgive me for the choice I made.


  116. Rick Sabian says:

    I knew it! When cremation was first suggested for my beloved kitty, I suspected right from the start that this was the way these people probably operated, for exactly the reasons you stated. What I really wanted, was to have my terminally ill kitty euthanized so she wouldn’t suffer. After I got over the shock of what these cold-hearted opportunists were charging, one woman told me it was “illegal” to give me back my cat’s remains for burial on my own rural private property. Another service told me I could have the remains, but wanted 50% more money… so is it “legal,” or did the first person just want more money for the cremation scam? The only reason they’re pushing you to let them cremate the body, is to make a lot more money. I chose to let my cat die naturally at home, because she doesn’t appear to be in any pain. I just had no idea that it can take several days for a cat to quit breathing, which has been gut-wrenching for me. I feel like maybe a made a big mistake doing it this way, but she’s going to be buried outside her favorite window with a beautiful memorial. Maybe that’s selfish on my part. I think I would have opted for euthanasia if I had realized what a long tortuous ordeal this has been, but I would never allow cremation unless I was able to personally witnessd the entire process. I doubt that any of these cold-heared bastards would have allowed me to do that.


  117. Wendy Koopmans says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I lhad to put my little Rascal to sleep just yesterday and I am dying inside. The only thing I can hold onto is that I was blessed to be led to an amazing husband and wife that have been running their cremation business for 20 years. They treated my boy with nothing but respect and dignity and treated my husband and I with love and kindness involving us in everything and helping us grieve. This is a calling for them not a business. What I can share with you that will bring you great peace is something they shared with me and actually retrieved. The little green/blue things you saw are called “relics”. The Buddhist faith believe that if your remains carry even one or two of these it is lucky. They believe that these are sent from your pet to protect you. They will change colours and some eventually turn black or even disappear. This can happen in a few days or a few months or years. Some animals have none, some have more than others regardless of the size. It also is thought sometimes they disintegrate after you learn the lesson your pet was here to teach you. So feel blessed and know your little soul was sending them to you


  118. Barbara says:

    Typically ashes have some bone fragments in it. My dog came back like sand. I have to believe it’s a scam. Sad what people will do to make money.


  119. Vince says:

    I’m so sorry to anyone who has lost their pet. I’m currently in the grieving process as I write this. It’s hard. I lost my cat Tommy yesterday. Had to have him euthanized. It hits in waves. Crying out sorry to him. Anyway. I was a bit skeptical with the cremation process as well. My boy was cremated today and I couldn’t help but question this. Not knowing if the remains are all truly his scares me. I know it’s too late now but I think it would put a lot of us at ease if we could be there through the process. It’s nice to know people also see their pets as more than just a pet but a family member. 🙁


  120. Deloris says:

    I lost my Dog Oscar on Feb 7th 2017, he was a Weenie dog and I loved him with every part of me. I choose to have him cremated so after he was put to sleep couldn’t deal with it so my Husband choose the Urn for him and paid for it. The next day I decided not to buy the URN from the Crematory I wanted one just like I have for my other dog so I canceled that urn and bought my own. It’s been 5 weeks since I left him with the Vet so today I called and they have no answer for me as to where he is. I went to the Vet to get answers and the woman that handles the cremation was at lunch. I asked where they take the dogs to have them cremated and they gave me the name of the place. When I got home I called and explained to the woman the situation, she sounded surprised I had not got my dogs remains back. She said she would call me as did the Vet and I have not heard anything from either place. My heart is crushed and I am going to take legal action because at this point I can’t trust either place. I spend days sleeping on the floor next to my dog I would do anything for him and for this type of thing to happen there is no excuse.


  121. Emma says:

    I’m also sorry to anyone who lost their pet and who went through cremation horror stories. How can one grieve in the face of such injustice, this must be so devastating I cannot imagine.
    My cat will be 22 next week but unfortunately she’s been hospitalized this morning, they’re trying to save her on IV, she’s so tiny they ruled out kidney dialisys, and it looks like she has lymphoma cancer. She isn’t going to last very long, anyways I’m in New York City, I’m already doing my research for the best most honest place I can find but there isn’t much information online, even the highest rated places still have negative feedbacks of people who complain about fraud and other major problems.
    If anyone can help me with recommendations and testimonials please let me know, I’m willing to drive to Westchester county, Long Island, CT and NJ.
    I’m looking for a place where you can view and follow the cremation process yourself every step of the way, and bring the ashes home the very same day. I certainly don’t trust getting the ashes a week later.
    She’s been in my life for 22 years, she’s my baby, I just want the best for her.

    Thank you so much!


  122. Deloris says:

    I’m so very sorry that your Cat isn’t doing well, my heart goes out to you and your Fur baby. Sounds like you are doing the right thing in researching the best option for your Fur Baby.
    I live in California so I can’t offer where to go but I can tell you this, I spoke with a Pet Cemetery/ Crematory today and they are very well respected and have good standings with the BBB. I was told if you want to make sure your Fur Baby has the exact wishes you have requested it’s best if you take them to the facility yourself. It’s not easy for most of us but it’s a way to ensure they get the dignity and respect they deserve.
    Once you hand over your Fur Baby after its passed you don’t know what happens after that point and I can assure you if you did you would be horrified.
    Good Luck


  123. Emma says:

    As some of you may recall, I was dismayed by cremation horror stories and reviews online.

    A very dear friend recommended Bideawee in Westhampton. I couldn’t find reviews online but decided to call and make arrangements for Friday afternoon.
    My husband and I were greeted warmly. This was a same day and individual cremation. We watched it on a closed-cicuit t.v..
    The cremation lasted a little less than 2 hours, the person used 4 different brushes to gather the ashes, very thorough and delicate work.
    I highly recommend this place, this the Hamptons and it’s very exclusive. My cat died in peace and I’m relieved we didn’t end up going to one of those places in the City where you drop your pet’s body at a window while given a ticket and told you’ll get the remains by mail in a week. I didn’t want that for her, she was 22, she wasn’t a pet, she was our child.


  124. Morgan says:


    Absolutely loved your article about Pet Cremation. Pet owners need to do their due diligence.

    In the article you mentioned that Illinois has laws in place. Are you aware of any other states that have similar laws or legislation about pet cremation?


    Minette Reply:

    You would have to do some research, this article was written a long time ago but sadly most places don’t take note of pet cremation.


  125. Shelly says:

    I read this and my heart goes out to you, I am stuck in a Muslim country where this is not allowed and our beloved dog just passed away, we want so desperately to take her back to Canada with us but have yet found a way to do so,, iv even looked up doing it my self but even having a fire here is illegal, my heart is broken and I’m not sure what my next step will be.



  126. Daniela says:

    My Gypsy passed away on May 2 2017. Last week. As well part of me died with her. The empty hole I have in my heart will forever be. I had to put my mamas down cause she had breast cancer . I been crying on and off this entire past week. I been concerned about the cremation since I left her there and they told me it will take 14 days However I never asked were or how they distinguish her from other pets and how they can make sure my Baby Girl be treated as she deserves and creamated with respect. Because to me she was and is and always will be my family. I know gieoywjea she is just a Dog. But to me she is my baby . I’m about to call the vet and get all the info and make sure they have a system to use identify that we are averting the Ashely’s golf my baby


  127. Bravo, finally someone other than cremation providers has figured this out. There are only two types of cremation, Private (your pet is completely alone) and communal (your pet shares space in the cremation chamber with other pets. An “Individual” cremation is a communal cremation where the pets have spacing between them, versus being in a pile (sorry that seems harsh but is true). I saw the bag of cremains of your pet, they are gray, which is always a sign of a “individual” cremation. You are always looking for white cremains, as this indicated a high degree of cremation. A private cremation should never look gray.

    To your point, Vets know what they contract for, but they are looking at dollars, not service. To represent an Individual cremation as a private cremation is fraudulent. Most cremation companies understand the difference and clearly disclose this to the public, if you look for it. Vets often just pursue the lowest price point.

    Things to know about a private pet cremation:
    1. The crematory should be “Open to the Public”
    2. Cremations should be advertised and certified as “only one pet at a time” Beware, if you ask a direct question, “will my pet be alone at all times” you should immediately hear the answer “Yes” if they just echo that it is an “individual cremation” they are just not answering your question, which is an answer, “NO”.
    3. You should not have to pay to witness the cremation. If they are doing what they say, why would you have to pay to see a routine event?
    4. Every cremation company has a disc with a name and id #, this is not proof on any type of cremation.
    5. If you vet tells you that your pet is going to be cremated alone at all times and they provide you with an “individual” (communal cremation with “ashes back”) sue them for “Fraud”.

    Disclosure: Yes I own a pet cremation company in Austin, Tx. We provide a one only cremation, and welcome pet parents in our facility, because our pets are family. This means they deserve to be treated with respect.

    No new news here it is called “Let the buyer beware”,


  128. I will never cremate my animals again but l try to think that all animals are precious and even if there are other animals my dog loved most everybody well most animals and would gladly share her urn with other unfortunate souls. That is the only way l can think about it.


  129. Chris says:

    two days ago my wife and I had our Burmese cat put to sleep at the vet we go to on a regular basis, she was such a awsome gentle soul, we had her 10 years and 9 months, this is still hard for me to write this without having tears come up, she never killed a bird, lizard or insect in her life, loved effection, if the human race had more of Matrushkas indomitable loving gentleness the world would truly be a kinder, better place. she just loved life, was such a happy cat, much more than a pet, she was a deep, personal close friend, I went through Chemotherapy for Cancer 12 months ago , she along with her litter brother Russian blue, followed me around the house and while I lay sick with nausea, vomiting, dizzines and other effects from the chemo drugs, they helped pull me through, she curled up with me on a rug in the backyard and lay her head alongside mine, the bond I still feel now, its a loss and gap that will always be there in my life and my wife, she has been taken away for cremation, we were told her ashes would be returned in 7 to 10 days, what could we do ?, we are renting and when we leave, the place will be bullddozed, her ashes would be destroyed or just discarded like so much trash, so our only option is to get them back and trust they will be her ashes, we had planned to take them to my sis in laws farm in a few months and bury the ashes deep and place a tree over the site, now I am concerned they will be the correct ashes, I will see her again when I die, I have no doubt about that, but I do wish and do hope i DO get the ash back from her.


  130. Elise says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Your comment on the blue green speckles (sand like) ashes caught my eye. I have been a pet crematory operator for around a year, during my training when i first started I noticed and questioned the same thing. Some pets cremated remains have a green mostly pale aqua coloured substance on them. I asked my trainer who has operated both human and pet cremators for over 15 years and he told me that it seemed to be an occassional unexplanable reaction he had seen many times and i have also found the same thing over the past year. Each pet is so different in bone structure, muscle and fat mass, certain medical conditions, items that are cremated with them, exposed to to high or too low temperatures in the cremator ( – some too low temperatures can cause black residue to remain), also i have noticed pets with higher body fat tend to have a green colour as the body fat and heat softened flooring react together. All ashes as a result have differences. When we go to process ashes we remove and surgical pins or metal items, and also try to remove as much green and black residue as to not taint the ashes. I hope this is the case and your girls ashes are her rightful ashes. I have 7 pets (my babies) at current and would be disgusted to recieve someone elses pet. Im very proud of how my workplace operates, but am still perplexed, having previous come from the food industry where we are we would be inspected thoroughly, multiple times a year, that our industry (for both people and pets) where i live as far as i know has absolutely no periodic inspections/ reviews beyond what we do inhouse.


  131. Ania says:

    Thanks for your article.

    I live in the UK and my cat of 19 years dies three weeks ago. I had previously read about the pet crem my vet used on their website. It was relatively local (about 25 miles away) and seemed professional and reputable, so I was happy to leave him in their care when he passed. Two weeks on, I was called by the vet to say they pet crem had ‘lost’ my cat’s ashes. I called the manager a day later, only to discover they were a completely different company than stated on the website, and about 150 miles away. Today I received a call from the manager from the pet crem saying, after an investigation, they still could not find my beloved pet, and that it was ‘a mystery’. I am absolutely distraught, and feel I will now never have closure. I can only urge others to make sure they make their own arrangements when the time comes.


  132. Debra says:

    Now I wondering about my fatty, half Jack Russell half chihuahua. Went thru vet for cremation, was sent to atlanta, ga. But I have concerns also for wrongful death from info at vet. Is there site or someone talk to about this??


  133. I am sorry you had to experience this, but am glad you did research and questioned it later. Here is Canada, the crematories use Individual as a common term for Partitioned. I own and operate a Pet Funeral Service where I arrange for cremation and offer pick up and delivery. The crematory I use only offers true Private Cremation, the crematorium has 6 completely separate units, each one is monitored separately on a computer, the clients have a code I provide them with where they can go online and monitor their own pets progress. They do not even offer Partitioned. This is the modern way, all of my clients get the info they need.


  134. Stephanie says:

    I could really use some HELP!!!
    I intrusted my beloved baby girl zoey to a family ran funeral home who also did pet cremation, it was the first time I every had a pet cremated but she was a amazing dog that I rescued, she had been threw horrible abuse and I wanted her to be with me when my times comes.
    I guess they started a investigation on this man and his business and he killed himself.
    They found dogs and other animals from 2001 and they only way they found the owner was he was microchipped but the lady had already received ashes back in 2001 that she was told was her dog and it wasn’t.
    Now I have ashes sitting her and I’m wondering if it is my baby girl and the thought that it’s not is just consuming me.
    If it’s not her where is she and what happened to her. I have cried everyday since this all came out.
    Can you do DNA on ashes?
    I just don’t know what to do!!!!!


  135. Jim says:

    It’s disgraceful how your best friend is respected in the hands of the crematorium. Look at Pekin Illinois. We have a pet cemetery that has a crematorium. Got investigated, owner took his own life. Now finding out had pets in freezer since 2001. Friend just couple doors down had her pet cremated, just got ashes back. Now she finds out her pet is still in a freezer. Myself have 16 ashes, now not knowing if it’s your pet. There needs a governing enity that controls these types of businesses.


  136. irie says:

    i have had all my cats cremated and i live in nassau-bahamas. i started to question the crematorium after my 4 lb cat came back 3 lbs ashes!!!! but no comment. my husband passed away 2 years ago and i devided his ashed in 4 equal parts- for his 3 kids and me. my hubby weight 125 lbs and a quarter was 14 oz. today i have received my cats ashed back- he weight 7,lb10 oz—his ashes were 33oz— i was livid!!!!!!!!!!!!! i called the owner and got the excuse that it was a mix up – its someones dog! we dont do many pet cremations here-so how bloody likely that a huge 120 lbs dog was cremated within a couple of days of my cat? bull s**t. so i raised the thread of exposing this to the news paper and have the ashes of all my cats analysed. they were quite worried and promised me free cremations and i can watch when i bring a pet to get cremated -that just my pet is in the incinerator and all i get back is my beloved furry friend. i share all your grieve . i am livid and still hurting from my loss


  137. Jacqueline Pether says:

    Thank you for making pet owners aware that at a time of sadness you do not want to find you are not being told the whole story. To know you have your pet back helps to cope with the loss of a dear companion.

    Today people can be in this business for the money and not because they want to help those who are sad over the loss of an animal.

    I sincerely hope these people are fully exposed for the kind of people they are and not ruin the reputation of the genuine businesses that love animals and want to help the owners of these animals.


  138. Nancy says:

    Thank you, Richard, for your comment. My beloved “king” cat died yesterday at the ripe old age of 17. I have been calling various places to ask about pet cremations and have not felt comfortable with anyone that I’ve spoken to. After reading this article, that knot in my stomach grew bigger. Then I read your comment–and, after reading about your kitty memorial planter pots, I know that I have the perfect way to honor his memory and repay the years of love he gave our family.


  139. Garrett Lakey says:

    Arizona State vetenarian board has procedures on how the practice is carried out within Arizona.


  140. Lisa says:

    I lost my sweet girl 4 weeks ago due to a brain tumor I didn’t know about until 2 weeks before I had to make the agonizing choice to put her down as she was have multiple seizures and getting worse , they sent her ashes out to be cremated for me , I asked for individual cremation and paid for it , I haven’t yet opened the ashes not sure if I will but I hope they are her or I will be even more heartbroken if that’s even possible , when I received her ashes they were in a brown little wooden box with a lock and 2 keys to unlock it , I also received a letter with the ashes from the crematory with their condolences and even said my dog’s name in the letter a few times and the letter also said that in her memory they are making a donation to Companion Animal Foundation , I also received a personalized symphathy card / certificate of Cremation from them as well with her name and date she was cremated along with their gratitude so I pray that because they took the time to do all that for me that they took the time to respect dog and my wishes , the pain is the worst I have felt in my life since I had to let her go , I’m sorry for anyone going through the pain of feeling lost after losing their fur baby


  141. Becky says:

    We lost our girl a couple weeks ago and have been fortunate enough to find a crematory that offers a witness cremation, which we opted for. Most of my family and friends had no idea this was even an option. We were able to bring her home from the vet after the euthanasia for our other dog to see her. I wrapped her and tied ribbons around her and brought her to the crematory myself. Your article is the very reason I insisted on wanting a witness cremation. I am so paranoid of not getting her back, this way I know we will have her, and only her, back home with us.


  142. PATTI BIBY says:

    My 13-year-old male cat Hemi was diagnosed with gastric lymphoma in early August 2017. The vet did not think he would last the month. Hemi had such a strong will to live, he lasted until mid-October when he went outside and never returned home. I presumed Hemi had gone off to die in the woods. I was raking leaves last weekend when I smelled the odor of a dead animal coming from the side porch. I had searched the porch before when Hemi first went missing but did not find him there. Well, it turns out Hemi had crawled inside a kitty play tube in the corner of the porch hidden from sight. He was deceased and must have been for quite some time as his body was infested with maggots. I managed to get his body into a trash bag and another trash bag and into a box with a pet quilt with the intention of burying him. Yesterday, I took the shovels to one of Hemi’s favorite spots in the backyard to start digging his grave. My backyard is in the woods making digging very difficult. I encountered ivy vines/roots on the surface and tree roots six inches down. I gave up the idea of burying him. I called the vet to inquire about cremation and the current rates, which have risen since my last inquiry. Two years ago, my beloved cat Biff died from a stroke in December when the ground was frozen. I wanted to bury him but I had no choice other than to have him cremated. My vet contracts with a local farmer who cremates pets and spreads their ashes on his property unless the pet parent wants the cremains. Due to the cost of the cremains in Biff’s case, I decided to have his ashes spread at the farmer’s property. Biff was a free spirit who loved the outdoors and exploring. I knew he would be happy there. Biff and Hemi were buddies born a month apart who grew up together. I was considering paying to get Hemi’s cremains and spreading his ashes in my backyard, his favorite place. However, since I have read your story and have doubts that the ashes I would receive would actually be Hemi, I will have Hemi cremated and the ashes spread at the farmer’s property where he can be reunited with his pal Biff. Both of these kitty boys were more like dogs than cats. They came to a whistle, took walks with us, chased dogs out of our yard, begged for people food and held their own against any dog. They were the most affectionate loving cats and the best hunters/mousers we ever had. Although their ashes will be miles away, I know their spirits will remain here in my home, my yard and in their beloved woods.

    Thank you for writing and sharing your story. It has helped put in perspective the pet crematory industry and my decision on whether or not to get Hemi’s ashes. The pet crematory industry plays on the emotions and vulnerability of the grieving pet parents by charging high fees for the cremains, knowing they will pay any amount for the memory of their beloved deceased pets.


  143. Ethan says:

    Greetings, your story is something I thought about many times. To date I have the remains of 4 of my last dogs. I always wondered if their ashes were truly their own. What ever they may be I am still pleased my dogs were cremated do to the fact I would have hated to think where their bodies might have ended up. Also I know their in a better place regardless. However you should know that this issue is not exempt from human cremation. Most funeral homes don’t do in house cremations. Bodies are sent out to big contracted companies to cremate. There’s been numerous horror stories as to what happens to our loved ones before and after funerals. Also it should be noted that for reputable and professional crematoriums it is far too time consuming and expensive to clean out all the ashes after one human cremation and before another. Cross contamination of ashes happens all the time. It’s petty much guaranteed if you have a loved ones ashes in your possession he or she is mixed in with someone else. Though only to a small degree. Bottom line is when we die and are bodies are taken away, what exactly happens is anyone’s guess. While most funeral homes are honest there have been many that are led by greed with little to no respect for our loved ones legacy. It’s not just a matter of concern for our pets, humans too.


  144. Jenny says:

    Thank you so very much! I am terminal and my little old man is deaf and blind and I know still only here for me. I had planned on having his ashes put with mine ( I rescued him at 3 months) we have been together his entire life. He’s my heart and has been more loyal to me than any human. Because of your post I will now do some homework as I just assumed the vet would handle everything. I can’t say TY enough and so glad I found your post in time.


  145. Lida says:

    When I said goodbye to my first baby, I never knew anything about cremation, I’m from middle east & over there there is no respect for the animals 🙁 but I’m different. I love and adore my babies. They come first.
    I had to ask around how I can keep him with me, bevause I was attached to my baby. The vet said you can cremate him. We will keep him in our freezer here in the office, we will call the funeral home & ask them to pick him up and you will call them to choose the box you like & pay for it over the phone, they will send his ashes to us & we will call you to pick it up.
    I said absolutely NOT. I want to be there. They looked at me like I’m from out of this world. They said the crematory is in a different city and it’s anout an hour to an hour and a half far from where I am, I looked at them like : SO WHAT ?
    I called the number & told them I want to be there when they are cremating my baby. These people at the crematory were the nicest people I’ve ever talked in my life. They told me I could be there for a private ceremony of course $80 extra which immediately I say it’s fine & they also have a small Chappell for saying goodbye to my baby properly for a little extra $ again , I said it’s fine.
    I made an appointment immediately. They assured me I don’t have to bring him with me, they will transfer him for a little amount of $.
    The next day I’m all dressed in black formal dress & go to the funeral home & wait for my baby. He is all frozen in a bad shape like they shoved him in a small place 🙁 his face & hands are completely squeezed and miserable looking . After all the crying & praying they walk me through the road to the incinerator with his body being transferred along side of me on a golf cart & they gently placed him in the incinerator and I said my last goodbye & boom he’s gone.
    It was the saddest moment in my life.
    I’m a foreigner from a bad part of the world, I didn’t know about American luxury for our pets after life but I found it anyway because I asked questions. I asked questions and learned what I have to do if I really love my baby, therefore there is no excuse for claiming I didn’t know. How can you trust a minimum paid or under paid person in charge of your dead pet knowing that they don’t care. Their job is bagging, burning, crushing, packing again. Do you think they would give a damn not to get the bodies mixed up or do a proper job just because you love your pet ? Bottom line, “They don’t care” . You want a proper burial, you want a proper cremation , you want the best of everything for your baby , you must be doing everything yourself & you must be present.
    I even bought a large freezer for my garage in case funeral home didn’t have available appointments and I have to store my baby in the freezer . I would rather to do it in my house than leaving the body in the vet office. I do not trust anyone with my babies alive, let alone when they are passed.
    We should take some of the responsibility upon ourselves.


    Minette Reply:

    since when, when you are paying of a service do you have to take responsibility on yourself? This would be a crime in the human world, it should be a crime when it comes to our pets.


  146. Rachel Racicot says:

    This is why I don’t find comfort in receiving my loved ones ashes. I do t know 100% if it’s my little chihuahua. I should have picked my own cremation company but I was too distraught & upset with the passing that I didn’t think of it. The place where she was sent sounded disorganized & they also misspelled my last name on the urn. I do t feel confident that I received my little one at all & I feel no closure whatsoever


  147. HOWARD TUCKER says:



  148. Sue Tucker says:

    So sorry about your loss , soon I will have to put my baby down he is 8yrs old and a sweetheart he is a boxwiller he came onto my life at the age of 4yrs old he was abused when he was a pup l didn’t know when a person (male) went to pet him he would duck his head but I did not know the extent of his injuries untill residently . His tail used to wag l notice it was now dropping and he started loosing his bladder bowel functions I took him to the vet xray were taken their showed the extent of his old injures 2 discs in his back were once fractured and one in his tail soon now he has nerve damage soon I will have to say goodbye to my guy that I love so much and he would have lived longer if this didn’t happen to him and you people that are cremating are babies with other dogs are no better than the bastard that abused my sweet baby my you rot in hell!


  149. Cherie Wilson says:

    Oh my gosh reading this breaks my heart! I have had a couple of my pets cremated but my baby Oli was done wrong at the vet to start with and he wasn’t treated as he should have been while he was alive and he was allowed to die and I was trusting that the Vet was doing everything he could to save him only to find out later that he had not done anything he should have, we had been in his office every day for five days in a row, I even called the vet the last day he was alive and told him that my baby needed to see him because he was bad sick and he told me that he would be fine until the next day without even seeing him and he didn’t make it until the next day he died in my arms in the parking lot of the vets office waiting for him to get there, I had him cremated and when I went to the vet to pick him up after they got him back they didn’t even know who oli was or why I was there which was insulting to say the least, needless to say I no longer use that vet and have the best now but the thought of my little oli not actually being the remains I got back just makes me sick and after reading your article it somewhat clears up the questions I had about the ashes I got back and breaks my heart I could so relate to your pain and guilt and hurt and grief, I know exactly what you feel because I’ve felt that same way since I lost Oli, I’ve never had a stronger bond with any other pet or animal than I had w him, he was my little soul mate, strong bond, I don’t know who had worse separation anxiety, him or me! That’s a bad hurt and knowing someone else could have my Oli just makes me sick and want to cry! I’m going to invest some time on this issue. Thank you for bringing this to light


  150. Richard says:

    I’m with the author 100%.

    Our world crumbled when we lost our 17-year cat Meatball to cancer 1/19/18. Home vet on site kindly asked if we would like to have private cremation, paw prints and all. Of course we said yes in sad tears.

    While dreading days for the crematory phone call to pick up Meatball, wife out of the blue asked “How do we even know the paw prints are his?” The question struck me like lighting “Paw prints? Heck, what about the ashes!?” I was never the same.

    I’ve started to question the integrity of pet crematories ever since and read stories about one pet owner in UK who happened to be a chemist exposed the ugly truth how he never got his dog ashes back. Turned out the crematory not only never once cremated their clients beloved companions but dumped every dead pet in the backyard to rot and sold nothing but bags of sand back to the poor owners.

    You would think no way they can do the unthinkable, but think again. This really is an unregulated business that can get away with a lot if allowed by simply taking advantage of people when they are the most vulnerable.

    Fast forward we are going to pick up his “ashes” and “prints” today so we’ll see!


  151. Angela and Tracy says:

    We cried when we read your words and the pictures of the two of you and your Incredible Love for one another, we will never forget. We have gone through something similiar….isnt it awful?!! The pain, loss, the questions… that feeling that we can’t shake, those thoughts that steal our peace….the injustice of this…..we will not forget the two of you.


  152. Diana says:

    Thank you so much for this article. We just lost our cat of 13 yrs. I did not ask for his cremains to be returned. I was beating myself up for not doing so. I never thought that this type of business get away with this. How can they sleep at night! I now feel at peace and will remember him alive. Thanks again for that time researching and sharing.


  153. Minette says:

    I used an emergency clinic and by no means was the care, euthanasia, or creaming “cheap” nor do I look for that EVER in the care of my animals.


  154. Maryland says:

    I just picked up my dog’s ashes today and was quite disturbed when the person who brought her out to me said to me, “So sorry it took so long, one of the other bags busted open and I had to scoop the ashes back in really quick. It made me wonder immediately what in the hell she was talking about. I opened the box after I drove away and park elsewhere. I peeked inside and saw a sticker with my name and my pets name. I closed it and felt a tad bit satisfied thinking it must have been a special plastic bag. I was surprised how small amount I did get back… she wasn’t small. I got home later that evening and my daughter opened the box and saw the bag but this time I caught a glimpse of the green portion of it that keeps it closed…. and it is a ziplock bag!! For the amount of money I spent for this, I was very disappointed.


  155. Mariann Mottola says:

    We found a lovely caring pet cremation facility in Jackson New Jersey. Forever remembered. The owner is simply amazing. Jen. Only one pet cremation at a time. Rates posted right on her walll. Reasonable and fair pricing. Jen has a small viewing room where if you choose to you can watch the cremation. The cremation is videotaped. Animals are handles with love and gentleness and a private room is set up for final good byes. We handed her our fur baby and she was so kind and helped us with our good byes. Personal effects were returned upon completion of the cremation. Forever remembered. Jackson New Jersey. She even gave us our dogs foot prints and nose prints on a personalized card. Thank you Jen. We need more animal lovers like her in our world


  156. Colleen says:

    When my kitty died in September of 2017 I went to the crematory and I personally set him inside the furnace and waited outside for the process. It took about an hour. I then went in and watched them pull the tray out of the furnace. And many times even though the process is completely done there are bone fragments left and those are crushed so all the ashes you receive are small and consistent. I didn’t want his remaining bone fragments crushed so I have ashes and bones. Maybe that’s a way to ensure private cremation – request that bone fragments are not crushed and if they refuse, go somewhere else. I imagine they’d be more likely to have a private cremation if they knew you might be able to check that the fragments are from your species and size of pet.


  157. Dawn Mello says:

    This breaks my heart, though I suspected this as well. They exploit pain for profit. I don’t know what to do now, I have 5 dogs and I wanted to be free with them when I die. Just disgraceful!


  158. Diana Balak says:

    Would you please let me know where you are located? I have a 17 year old dog who is my baby. I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old. When it’s her time to go to doggie heaven I’m going to have her cremated. My husband of 51 years passed away 9 months ago and I had him cremated. I’ve told my children that when I die to cremate me and then have my husband’s ashes, my ashes and our doggie baby’s ashes into the ocean. I live in Ephrata PA. Are you near me or can you recommend an honest crematory for my dog? Thank you for any information you may have and thank you for your time.


  159. Lottie says:

    My tiny chihuahua is very ill and I fear dying. She has been with me for 20 years. I’m giving her hospice care at home as I am a nurse.. she’s not in pain. I live in the country and I will not pay for a cremation after reading this and other stories and probably won’t be my baby. I will bury her the Bible way in my back yard she loved. The cremation business I fear is a racket.. and unless your pet is in pain or you can’t handle it let them pass on in peace in the home and your care there for them.. my it’s not against the law to bury your pet here where I live and even if it were I’d still bury my pet and know it’s her there.. Hod bless all you who mourn ..


  160. Patricia Fekay says:

    I too lost my Shepard of ten years the vet took my money but never tagged my dog to make a long story short I lost my dogs ashes they didn’t care they messed up then tried to bribe creator to threw scrape up ashes and say they were our dogs. The creator said didn’t have the heart to do it after seeing how upset I was. They said oh well well take the law suit who dose that? Justice for my heidi


  161. Tracy says:

    I have NEVER believed in cremation for fur kids. The whole thing is very shady as you pointed out and no regulation. Even before I read this I always just assumed it was like this because frankly, people suck and if you have the stomach to cremate animals all day you probably don’t really love animals or care much about them or their owners. Our fur kids are always buried in the yard that was their home and a beautiful tree is then planted on them. I know we may move one day, but where they lie was their home and always will be no matter what. I could not bare the thought of one of my babies in a plastic bag being tossed around by strangers and knowing I would probably not even be getting their ashes. Thank you for this article, hopefully people will think twice about cremation.


  162. Jack says:

    We lost our beloved Tiffany yesterday and chose to have her cremated as we did with our other 7 dogs. After reading all the neg. reviews and sad comments, I think we really made a big mistake. Always thought pets were individually creamated. Because yesterday was Fri. and the vet isn’t opened on this weekend, I think I’ll go back to the Vet and retrieve her. We’re so hurt to read about other accounts that people are so blinded by misconceptions of getting their pets ashes mixed in with other ashes. This really pisses me off to no end. I feel for all the victims that have been taken by these uncaring selfish scum that perform this
    money making scheme.


  163. Michelle says:

    I recently had my Charlie cremated, after dying suddenly from acute liver failure. His brother, Zippy, died 6 weeks later from a thromboembalism. They were “privately” cremated at 2 different places. When I received Zippy’s ashes, I finally unscrewed the wooden box that was supposed to contain Charlie’s ashes. I found a bag of bone fragments, and particles fell out all over my counter. Bone fragments and particles similar to large grains of sand. Bottom line, businesses offering “private” cremations should be regulated. Otherwise, what’s the point? Since I have some of Charlie’s fur, I am looking for a company that can test the fur against the cremated remains…DNA testing…to prove if they returned Charlie to me. Thank god my vet clipped some of his fur for me. It seems to me that I’d be better off having gone to a taxidermy and having him stuffed and mounted, and that being the only way I would know that is my Charlie. All of this disgusts me, and can’t even believe that I am having to write the words “bone fragments”. I have some of my father’s cremated remains, and I have 2 other cremated pets from 13 years ago…all ASHES, with some fragments. It all boils down to making money, and just how many people would go to the extreme. If anyone knows of a company out there that can prove Charlie’s fur is a genetic match to his bone fragments, I would be interested in contracting their services…if only to slam this local company.


  164. Brandon says:

    I know you aren’t supposed to believe everything on the internet but lately my paranoias have been justified. Con artists at our local car dealerships, con artists at our local dental clinics, and the vet responsible for trying to help my FeLV positive cat has been inconsistent and unethical to no end.

    It is sickening that you cannot even trust supposed animal-loving Drs. I’m not calling for an end to capitalism or trying to be political, but all this for-profit healthcare needs to come to an end. The pain our animals feel is real, they are basically our children. They are so much more than ‘just an animal.’

    I’m torn as to how to even proceed, I definitely don’t want to run the risk now of not receiving my sweet princess afterward. I’m revolted by the animal healthcare industry right now and just wish I could fix it. Good luck to everyone with precious fur babies, almost never ever trust a stranger with them, you’ll regret it.


  165. Bobbi says:

    Oh my gosh this has happened to us also. We lost our lab Moose on July 30, 2017. We took him to vet we had known for years but did not vet with anymore had put him to rest for us. We left him with him and he promised to take care of him. He sent him to a place without our knowledge to be cremated. When I went to pick up the urn it was so light it felt like he was not in there at all. We confronted the person who cremated him and all he did was tell lies. We have for the last year been trying to get someone to help us initiate a law to regulate the private pet crematories. We tried to contact the news media to get our story out and they did not answer. I agree no one cares about the pets we look at as family. I looked at his ashes last night on the anniversary of his passing and was horrified at what I found. What is in his urn does not even resemble ashes the identifying tag that he told us was in there is no where to be found. I also live with regret of leaving my pets in the care of someone else. I have a funeral home very reputable that cremates my pets but Moose was an emergency. I will never trust anyone again and will take my pets to the funeral home myself. We cannot change what happened to Moose but will hope that no one else ever has to go through the sad journey we have. I cried reading your article because it is exactly what we have found out that the private pet crematories have no regulation and you as a pet owner have no recourse if something is not right. Not all are bad I have had several of my pets done in a private pet crematory, but the person that did this one is a disgrace to the industry and I don’t honestly know how he sleeps at night. I will never forgive myself for what happened but will continue to try to change the view on these crematories. I do agree with you never trust anyone. I will regret the decision I made that night to leave my baby in the care of that vet for the rest of my life.


  166. Minette says:

    dogs come in 2# and 350# very different than humans


  167. Laurie Reynolds says:

    We just discovered that the ashes we have do not belong to our dog we had cremated years ago. We recently had our cat Luna euthanized. We found out she had cancer, and a few days later had to put her down emergently at an ER vet. The ER vet was not very kind. My daughter suggested we mix her ashes with her twin when he dies and have a glass memento made from them. Then we thought maybe we should do that with our two dogs who were puppies together… not bio related, but grew up bonded as such. When we opened Maya’s ashes, for the first time, we saw a couple of chain links. No words on them. Sort of like a collar. We didn’t send anything like that with her, and she never had surgery. We then learned that the vet we used at the time sent the animals to a crematorium that had been shut down for improper disposal. A lady at the place we had Luna cremated at helped us untangle the mystery of the, er, non-missing links. So we don’t know if Zach is Zach either. It’s really so sad.


  168. Cathy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how you feel. We lost our beloved yellow Lab Wes this summer . He had fluids in his heart and had to be euthanized. Took him to an ER vet as it was a Saturday night and he was not well at all. I knew he wouldn’t come back. Vet said his ashes would be sent home to us. Yesterday after weeks of waiting we called the vet only to find out they made a mistake and sent his to communal. We are devastated. Finding that out was like losing home all over again. Nothing to be done. Vet will refund us and tried to blame it on an electronic problem. A million excuses won’t make up for their carelessness. I will never forgive them


  169. So sad in NZ says:

    I know how everybody here feels. I have just lost yet another of my dear little babies, six of them in their little caskets sitting on my dresser. This time, I really got suspicious… i took two of the identical sized wooden boxes, one containing the ashes of my large male cat, the other my guinea pig. How come they weigh the same????!! Whose ashes have I got in there??? I have come to realise that people who do something for a business, no matter what that business is… at the end of the day, they are doing a job. The people that seem to care most, are the ones who do it for free, like volunteer shelters, etc. The minute money is involved, then it’s about the bottom line. God knows, I have lost so much faith in humans lately… sympathies to everybody reading who has been hurt the same way.


  170. So sad in NZ says:

    Catherine, that is a lovely way to think about it. Thank you, it has given me some peace.
    xx Alice


  171. Bonnie says:

    Several years ago my beloved Bronte died of cancer. I took her to a family run pet cremation and funeral home in Kennedy’s, Georgia. The family started the business when they were not satisfied with the care their own pets received after death. They provided 24-hr body retrieval for those pets who die at home, individual cremations onsite, and a number of other services including paw print, fur clipping, certificate, urn or box options, etc. I was very pleased with their compassion and services.

    I was expecting the same type of service when my Lucy died in Phoenix, Arizona. Instead I was given a sealed plastic box. I opened it so I could transfer the ashes to a better keepsake. Inside I found a factory-sealed plastic bag with fine pure white sand that looks like a cross between sugar and flour. I would have been more satisfied with ashes containing bone. I doubt this substance ever saw an animal. I have hung on to it for 3 years because I can’t bring myself to throw it in the trash, but when I look at it I just feel scammed.


  172. Shirley Jordan says:

    I too was hesitant about the cremation of my beloved Smokey. I asked about the facility in which the vet used they could not give me any concrete info. So I opted to take him home. Though what I did may sound morbid and inhumane, it was the only option I could think of to ensure my little Smokes and I would be buried together in cremation. I placed him in a tightly sealed casket in the freezer. In my Will I left instructions for him to be cremated along with me. I know my daughter will abide my wishes. I made the mistake of burying my other beloved pet Toby whom if I ever sell my property he will be left behind. I was not going to do this with Smokey or take the chance of loosing him forever in a fraudulent crematorium. I am truly sorry for anyone who has to go through the agony of loosing their best friend. I hurt every day.


  173. Anla says:

    I hope that I don’t offend or hurt anyone with this option: you can do the cremation at home. There are many good articles you can find on the web- but be careful! If you’re thinking about doing this, read as much as you can about the process so that you can make it work smpoothly without causing yourself (and family) even more grief. I’m putting this suggestion out there because this article is all about horror stories that involve the lack of trust we’ve come to feel about crematoriums, and this is a sure-fire way to know that the ashes you have at the end are only YOUR critter’s. I know that this is a hard decision to make (from my own experience), but after reading so many sad articles like this one- and once again, from experience- I’m very relieved that it was done at home this last time. One more suggestion: if you can’t do it yourself, you might ask a good friend to do it for you. I had it done this way (bless you, Daniel) for so many reasons. Once again, I am so sorry if this post has upset anyone, but after all the sadness, anger, pain and heartache I’ve read, I felt that I must share the best way- FOR ME, and it definitely isn’t for most people, but it is a viable option. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and hopefully someone will benefit from this information. And to everyone who is grieving, I’m sorry for the loss of a member of your family.


  174. Annette says:

    We lost our 10 year old Boxer a month ago today. She began having seizures so we took her to the vet and was told the painful news that it was probably best to have her put to sleep. We decided to have her cremated, signed the paperwork, and cried. Today I contacted the vet to find out when we could get Gracey’s ashes. . After being on hold for a long period the receptionist told me they had no record we wanted Gracey back, .and that they had never even had her cremated. I asked them what they did with her. They said they have someone they hire to dispose of the remains. I can only imagine!!! They probably took her and dropped her off at the dump!! My heart aches as bad as the day we had her put to sleep. . Just knowing our sweet girls remains were treated like a piece of garbage. . I’m heart broke. .I would have brought her home with me and buried her here where she gave us so much joy and love. .


  175. Sara says:

    I’m so sorry about this experience you had with the loss of your beloved pet. I too just recently lost my dog and have known about this horror story prior to having my sweet girl euthanized. It was the hardest thing I went through and told the vet to take care of her, and to have a private cremation with a tag for records returned with her remains. Now I too know about the cremation process. Now my baby was a 5 lb chihuahua, and before her end, she dropped to barely 4lbs, due to not eating. When I recieved her remains, I weighed them and they weight just slightly over 3 lbs….. I knew instantly, with a lump in my throat and pain in my heart that those were not just my pets remain but either someone else’s pet or plus others. It’s sad that theres really nothing you can do except find a way to cremate your pet on your own, fight tooth and nail for phootage, or just bury the animal…. know I am on your side and I hope other pet owner who consider cremation read these reviews and spread the word. Because it does weigh very very heavy on you with guilt.


  176. Kristen says:

    My husband and I had to euthanize our beloved Axle this morning. We had him for 12 years, which at the time, the animal center guessed he might be 2-3 years. At 15, he had suffered most of his life with chronic ear infections. I found a growth in his ear and noticed the meds couldn’t reach down in his ear due to growths blocking the canal. One growth would always ooze, as well as bleed. The vet last week told me at his age, it likely would be malignant. At this point, I started to anticipate his life coming to an end soon, so I tried to see what my options were.
    Somehow, my memory told me cremation would end up being someone elses pet’s remains, so I looked into the local university’s vet school as a way to donate his body to research/teaching. I ended up on this site because I was having remorse for not paying to have him cremated afterwards. Having read this made me feel a bit better knowing that we could’ve been dooped paying for a service and who knows whose remains we would’ve received. I’ll need to find a way to hold a memorial for him without his/some random pet’s remains. Thank you for writing this article and shedding light on the reality of what goes on. Most people are in distress at the time and aren’t aware of the process of pet cremation.


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