Because our care and concern do not end when you say goodbye.
Every aspect of your pet’s final care and arrangements is of the utmost significance in honoring the life, and the love, you shared. When it comes to these important final details, we are here to walk with you and to assist you in deciding what’s right for you and your beloved pet. Private and communal services are both available through our trusted partners. We are honored to have partnered with the Regency family of pet aftercare service providers and Valley Pet Crematory to provide the very best service for our patients and their families.
For families choosing private cremation, your pet will be the only creature present during the cremation process. When the process is complete, you will receive the cremated remains as a permanent keepsake in the urn of your choosing in 10-14 days.
Treasured pets will be gently placed into the crematory together. Rather than returning any pet’s cremated remains to their families, the communal remains are collected and are scattered lovingly in a beautiful, private setting.
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.
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.
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.
As soon as your pet is ready to be returned to you, one of our aftercare coordinators will call to set up an appointment time to bring them home to you. This usually occurs within 1- 2 weeks of receiving your pet into our care. Custom urns and other personalized items that are ordered specifically for your pet may extend the time it takes to return them to you, but we will try to make you aware of the time frame when we discuss the custom order. Keep in mind that our water-based cremation system is a more gentle and slower process than fire-based cremation and does necessitate 3-4 days of drying time so our window may be a little bit longer than with other 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.
You may arrange to visit your pet at our Hospice Center prior to cremation. This can be especially helpful for closure if certain family members were not present at the time of death and would like to say a final goodbye to their friend. Please keep in mind that unless our aftercare coordinators are made aware of a special request, cremation usually occurs within a few hours of your pet’s arrival at the Hospice Center.The ashes of pets cremated together in a communal or group cremation are then taken and scattered in various areas around the region. We try to select a beautiful natural location and, with permission of the property owner, scatter their ashes in a small ceremony.
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.
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.
No. Some pet cremation facilities do offer incineration of sharps and other medical waste from veterinary hospitals in their cremation machines, however, this is not possible with our water-based system. You can rest easy knowing that your pet is being treated with the utmost respect throughout the process.We would be happy to show you the pet cremation area in our Hospice Center and explain the process to you. Because our Hospice Center is only open by appointment, we ask that you set up an appointment time with our cremation care manager for a tour. These are generally available Mon-Friday from 8am-12pm. Please keep in mind that we are generally working to return other pets to their families so you may witness portions of the cremation process that are unsettling to some people.
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.(on call for emergencies after normal hours)
(weekend and after-hour fees apply)
Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
(by appointment only)
4740 Baxter Rd. Ste 105
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Click here for directions.
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