My crisis of confidence in Sheepa’s crematory

imageRecently, a certain information source – which I will not mention because I’m increasingly finding them unworthy of my recommendation or attention or patronage – brought the topic of the ethics (or lack thereof) of today’s pet crematoriums to the forefront.

The net-net is that in the pet cremation industry, there’s apparently extremely few regulations and like any other business, drives out competition by cutting costs. 

The problem is that the way they cut costs is very often by NOT RETURNING YOUR DECEASED PET’S ASHES TO YOU but instead providing a random animal’s ashes in an urn, knowing you’ll never likely suspect otherwise… much less be able to prove otherwise.

My best friend Sheepa passed away two years ago.  I still talk to him often on our mantle & I still get inconsolably upset when I think about his passing for too long.  So you’ll understand why the mere thought that someone potentially SCREWED ME & MY OL’ PAL  during such a vulnerable time had me going through a spectrum of uncontrolled, unrelenting emotions:

  1. Horror.  Sheer fear & unadulterated terror.  What if?  OMG.  WTF… what if?
  2. Depression.  A vast emptiness enveloped me with tears streaming down my face.  The absolute worst sadness one can feel.  How could anyone be so cruel?
  3. Rage.  Unholy, blinding anger.  Throwing objects.  Blood boiling.  As in, I’m-gonna-go-fuckin’-take-someone-down.
  4. Focus.  Sudden extremely clarity in what I needed to do.

I simply couldn’t escape the thought that the crematory that I had Sheepa cremated at “wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be”… purely because of one report I heard.  Irrational as it sounds, it’s such a meaningful thing for me that I needed something to help me calm down.

This was REALLY important to me for whatever reason – having personal confidence in knowing that Sheepa’s remains hadn’t been mishandled.  My question simply came down to, “How reputable were these folks that I used?”  I admittedly was so destroyed by Sheepa’s passing that I left the entire process to our veterinarian – who I assure you has never steered us wrong, however given the information I’d heard about the reported corruption in the pet cremation business, I started to doubt even his strong recommendation.

I pulled out my old records and I dug into the outfit that did Sheepa’s cremation.  And after some digging & referencing, it turns out… that it sounds like these folks are on the up-and-up, i.e. they’re honest & trustworthy – thank God. 

Here’s why I think so:

    I clearly remembered that I never, ever, EVER got contacted by the crematory about anything at all, much less for an upsell, despite their having all my information.  They took all the details I provided my vet, I paid them, they delivered his ashes.  That’s it.
    This was interesting:  I didn’t realize that the company I went through did ONLY private cremations.  They never do multiple cremations at the same time in a single unit like many do.  There’s no possibility of ever “mixing up” your animal’s ashes since it’s the only one in the cremation unit.  One in – one out.  That’s it.
    They permit the deceased’s caretakers to observe the entire process end-to-end:  You can bring your pet to the crematory & have the body cremated in front of you to guarantee with your own eyes that it’s your animal’s remains throughout the entire process.  They schedule appointments for this throughout the week just to provide confidence & comfort to those in mourning.

It’s this LAST bullet that made me feel a lot better.  I didn’t know that this was possible, although there’s a part of me that thinks that our vet might have brought this up but I was too much of a blubbering mess to consider it as an option.

In any case, I feel confident now that the service I used here in Los Angeles was trustworthy.  If you’re interested in the name of the business, post a comment or ping me on Twitter at @kurtsh.

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