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Our Process – What Happens to Your Pet’s Body

Although the process is slightly different depending on where we take custody of your pet’s body (your home, your vet or our facility), here is the basic procedure involving transport of your pet from a veterinary clinic:

  • A vet staff member selects a numbered ID tag for your pet. Your pet’s ID number is noted on the Authorization for Pet Cremation.
  • The vet staff member gives you a copy of our Services & Pricing.
  • You complete, sign, and initial the Authorization for Pet Cremation.
  • Optional: If you do not wish to be contacted by Life Cycle Pet Cremation later in the day, and you are absolutely certain about the services you want to order, please provide payment information before leaving the clinic.
  • Your pet’s body is encased in a PVC-free pet cadaver bag. (PVC = polyvinyl chloride.) The cadaver bag is knotted and the zip tie that is threaded through your pet’s steel ID tag is attached to the bag.
  • A vet staff member calls Life Cycle to let us know that your pet is ready for pick up.
  • If we take custody of your pet’s body from your home or your veterinarian’s office, our staff wrap or cover your pet’s body with a soft blanket for additional discretion. The body is then respectfully carried (or transported via a Ferno Mini-Cot) to our vehicle where it is placed in a customized area that keeps it secure and prevents movement.
  • Your pet’s body is then driven to our facility. It is carefully taken out of the vehicle and weighed. (We are required to maintain an accurate record of each pet’s weight for NW Clean Air.)
  • If we will not be working with your pet’s body immediately, he/she may be transferred to our Cool Room (a special insulated room that stays below 60 degrees). If you have selected non-private/communal cremation for your pet, then your pet’s body may be placed into a large chest-style freezer until the next communal cremation is performed.
  • A Life Cycle representative will call you to confirm your order.  If you are not yet ready, that’s OK.  You can take up to several days to make a decision about the type of cremation you would like for your pet.
  • (For any order that includes a clay paw print…) First we select a paw and then thoroughly clean and dry it. Once we have a good impression, your pet’s name is pressed into the clay and holes are cut for the ribbon. The clay paw print is then baked in a small oven at our facility. Once cooled, the hard clay is both machine- and hand-sanded, and a ribbon is attached before it is wrapped in tissue paper for your pet’s After-Care Package.
  • (For any order that includes an ink paw print…) Typically using the same (already clean) paw used for the clay print, we trim the nails and shave the fur from between the pads using a professional pet grooming tool. The ink print is then made by placing your pet’s paw on an ink pad (or painting ink on the paw) and then pressing the inked paw onto a small sheet of paper that is attached to a small flat piece of wood covered with a thin sheet of silicone. Typically we make 5-30 impressions. Once we have a good print, the paper is marked with your pet’s name and ID number. The print is then scanned and saved as a digital file. The scan of the print is cleaned-up using graphic software. A copy is printed for your pet’s After-Care Package. The original ink print and digital file are saved.
  • (For any order that includes a fur clipping…) We identify one or more spots on your pet’s body that would work well for a fur clipping (typically the back of the neck). We brush the fur and then with scissors or a grooming tool carefully cut the fur. The fur clippings are carefully placed into a paper mache heart-shaped box. A ribbon is glued and tied to the top of the box.  This box is then included in your pet’s After-Care Package.
  • When we are ready to cremate your pet’s body, it is carefully placed into the crematorium.

    Cremation is the process of reducing the body of a pet by exposing it to intense heat. Through high heat and evaporation the body is reduced to its basic mineral form. Although the remains are commonly called “ashes” they are actually cremated remains composed primarily of bone fragments.

    The primary chamber of our Therm-Tec crematorium heats up to between 900 and 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, converting your pet’s body, except the bones, into a gas state. That gas is then moved through a secondary chamber that is kept at a minimum of 1600 degrees Fahrenheit (temp revised by NWCAA Spring 2015). Only heat vapor is released into the atmosphere — never smoke or any smell. Depending on the size of your pet, and whether or not you have requested private, semi-private or non-private cremation, the cremation process can take 1 to 4 hours.

  • For private and semi-private cremations:
    • When the cremation process is complete and the crematorium is cool, your pet’s cremated remains are carefully removed from the crematorium using special brushes and other tools. The pet ID tag must be located in the cremated remains before moving to the next step.
    • Your pet’s cremated remains are carefully placed into a processor where the remains are ground to the consistency of powdery sand. For private or semi-private cremation, your pet’s cremated remains are then removed from the processor and placed into a clear plastic/nylon bag which is sealed with a zip tie that has been threaded through your pet’s ID tag. The bag is then placed into an urn or scatter tube.
    • Your pet’s After-Care Package is then assembled.
    • We contact you to let you know that your pet’s After-Care Package is available for pick up.
    • You pick up your pet’s After-Care Package from our facility. Upon request, we will deliver your pet’s After-Care Package to your veterinary clinic.
  • Please see Non-Private/Communal Cremation for information on how we handle communal remains.