Because our care and concern do not end when you say goodbye.
Because our care and dedication to your pet do not end when you have to say goodbye, we are proud to offer water-based cremation to the families we serve. We wanted to give families the opportunity to choose a gentle, environmentally friendly option to honor their pet. Water-based cremation is an emerging form of body care that is gentler to the environment. This process is also known as alkaline hydrolysis, water reduction, bio-cremation, green cremation, aquamation, and flameless cremation. More and more communities are learning about its benefits and joining the revolution to offer a more sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to flame cremation.
Our system essentially accelerates what takes place during natural decomposition in the soil after burial. A combination of gentle water flow, temperature, and alkalinity is used to accelerate the natural course of time. At the end of the process, the body has been returned to its natural form in water. Remember – our pet’s bodies are 65% water, to begin with. Similar to flame cremation, the only solid remains are the mineral ash of the bones. The ash remaining is a light sage color as it retains more minerals, is clean, and without carbon discoloration (blackening). Because the bone and ash need to go through drying time, a day or two more is needed before ashes can be returned to families (if desired). Water-based cremation generates a sterile, EPA neutral liquid solution of amino acids, peptides, sugars, and soap that is suitable for release onto the earth.
Private and communal services are both available using water-based cremation. Communal cremation means the ashes will not be returned to families. A private cremation means that your pet’s ashes will be returned to you, usually within the week. Private chambers reside within the machine providing a complete barrier among individual pets. Metal identification tags are assigned to each pet upon entrance to the system in order to track their progress and ensure that each pet is returned home to their loving family.
If you are interested in a traditional flame creation click here.
How can I be sure my pet is being returned to me?
This is every family’s biggest fear when choosing the type of after-care their pet receives and the company who will provide it. At Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice, we chose to begin offering our water-based cremation services to help alleviate this fear. Our doctors care for your pet during its end of life journey and that compassionate care does not stop once you have said goodbye.
After you have finished your final goodbyes, one of our doctors or Aftercare Coordinators will transport your pet back to our Hospice Center. Once they arrive, your pet is given a custom-engraved stainless steel name tag. We have chosen to use engraved name tags as your beloved pet is more than just an identification number to us. This name tag will stay with your pet throughout their stay with us and will be checked at each step in the cremation process and can be found inside their urn with their ashes. Each pet is assigned an individual compartment inside the water-based cremation machine, which is drawn onto our tracking board so we can identify where each pet is during the entire process. We also provide an official certificate of cremation with your pet’s name, date of cremation, and the signature of the Aftercare Coordinator who took care of your pet during their stay.
Will my pet be placed in a plastic bag or freezer?
We do not place pets into freezers or routinely use body bags. We have a custom-designed cool room where we are able to keep pets temporarily until the cremation process begins. We also offer temporary body storage services if a family needs time for additional family members to view the body, needs time to prepare for a home burial, or simply needs time to decide what the best after-care option is for their pet. We do not utilize cadaver bags if at all possible. Small pets are transported in baskets and larger pets on stretchers, both wrapped lovingly in blankets.
When will my pet be returned to me?
How are your services different from other pet cremation companies?
We strive to provide the most compassionate and respectful care of your pet once you have said goodbye. We have designed our entire process with this level of professional care for your family members in mind.
- We do not utilize freezers. If body storage is needed or if there is a small wait time before a pet can be cremated, we have a customized cool room to keep your pets protected and in their beds.
- We use custom engraved name tags instead of standard numbered identification tags because we feel your pet is more than just a number.
- We only use cadaver wraps if absolutely necessary to maintain the cleanliness of our facility for all pets in our care. Small pets are transported in baskets and larger pets on stretchers, both wrapped lovingly in blankets.
- We are a locally owned small business. Your pet will only travel as far as our Hospice Center in Virginia Beach and we will pick up your pet from your home and deliver him/her back home to you at no additional charge.
- We do not incinerate medical waste at the same facility as your beloved pet.
Can I visit with my pet prior to cremation?
What happens to pets after a communal cremation?
Can I witness the cremation?
Since the water-based cremation process is a 20-hour cycle, it is not practical to witness the entire cremation. However, if you would like to witness your pet being placed into the cremation machine, we can coordinate this with our aftercare coordinators. The machine is typically loaded between 9am-10am each morning so that the cycle can be completed before the following day. Please keep in mind that we are generally working to return your pet as well as other pets to their families so you may witness portions of the cremation process that are unsettling to some people.
What will my pet's ashes look like?
After any cremation process, the bone material is processed to create the fine ash that is typically thought of when we say “ashes.” Because the water-based cremation process does not involve a flame, the ashes are usually a light gray or light sage color versus the darker gray or black color associated with flame-based cremation. While we process the bones to the very best of our ability, it is always possible that you could see small bone fragments and/or teeth mixed in with the ash material. You will also receive any TPLO plates, bone screws, etc. that your pet acquired during surgery returned to you in a small container separate from their ashes.
Do you destroy medical waste from veterinary hospitals and is that trash transported with pets?
Can I see where my pet will be cremated?
Welcome to Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice!
We provide end-of-life and aftercare options for your pet. During the toughest of times, we'll be there every step of the way.
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