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FAQ's | Harthaven Pet Cremation

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cremation?
How long does the cremation process take?
How soon will the ashes be available?
Can I be present for the cremation process?
How much does an individual cremation cost?
How do we know that the cremated remains we get back are actually those of our pet?
Why might there be a ash quantity difference between pets of same size and/or weight?
Will you come to my home to pick up my pet?
Are you available 24/7? What about holidays?
Record-Keeping and Record Retention

A. What is Cremation?
The deceased pet’s body is placed in the cremation chamber (Retort) where through intense heat and evaporation the body is reduced to its basic elements. The remaining residual is referred to as cremated remains. The resulting remains include bone fragments that are then processed into a fine particulate. The entire process is done with the greatest amount of care and respect possible.

How long does the cremation process take?
It depends on the size of your pet.. It can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.

How soon will the ashes be available?
This will depend upon the cremation option you select. Expedited service is available, with extra fee, if the ashes are needed in a very quick time frame. Typically, most pet families will receive the ashes back within 3 to 5 working days.

Can I be present for the cremation process?
We regret our current insurance policy only allows cremation staff on site at this time.

How much does an individual cremation cost?
The cost of cremation depends on the type of service you select.
Harthaven offers 4 types of cremation:
Private, Semi-Private, Communal and Communal with Ashes.
Other factors that may affect your cost are: the weight of your pet, after hour pickup charges, express turn around, and the type of urn selected. We offer many different types of urns, personalized engraving, and other types of memorabilia that you may choose from.

For more information on pricing, or to discuss options, please do not hesitate to contact us at 907-563-1801, and we will help you with your questions and decisions.


B. Definitions/Terminology

Private cremation: Any cremation procedure deemed “Private” will be performed with only one pet’s body or cremated remains in the cremation chamber during the cremation process.  Only “one pet at a time” will be cremated when a Private Cremation is performed.
All retrievable cremated remains, with metal ID tag, will be collected from each cremation prior to placing the next animal’s body in the cremation chamber.

Semi Private Cremation:  (May also be called Private, Individual or Partition Cremation) Harthaven makes it clear there is a difference between a true “Private” cremation and the “Semi” Private cremation.
In this process, other pet’s bodies are cremated at the same time, however they are kept completely separate from one another with firebrick space partitions. This allows us to return the ashes of each pet, with metal ID tag, to their rightful owner. This process is the most affordable option to receive your own pet’s ashes back.
While many pet cremation services claim to process “Private Cremations,” make sure to inquire if they do in fact place your pet alone into the cremation chamber to ensure you are receiving the service you want and your pet deserves.

Communal Cremation: Communal or group cremation is for pet owners who do not wish to retain the cremains of their pet, but still wish their pet to have a dignified final disposition.  This process is where several pets are cremated together without any form of separation.  Cremated remains are spread on the edges of our horse ranch in Wasilla.

Communal Cremation with small portion of ashes returned:
Some pet owners do not wish to retain the whole portion of their pets cremains and/or do not want to pay for the private or semi-private cremation.  Harthaven is pleased to offer, a small portion of the communal cremains in which their pet was cremated. These communal cremains are processed and will be returned to the owner is a small decorative tin urn. There is a small additional fee for this service.


C. How do we know that the cremated remains we get back are actually those of our pet?

We treat your pet’s body and ashes with all the respect and dignity it deserves. The ashes are carefully and thoroughly extracted from the cremation chamber and great care is taken to ensure the purity of the ashes. We take the trust you place in us very seriously.
Harthaven Pet Cremation has strict operating policies and procedures in place to provide the highest level of integrity during your pet’s cremation. We use a steel identification tag system that follows every pet all the way through the cremation process. This is from the time we receive the pet until the remains are returned to the owner. We also use a thorough pickup, identification, checkin and login procedure process that identifies every pet that we handle. Every private cremation will include a Cremation Certificate noting your pet’s name, date of cremation and metal ID tag number.

Harthaven is committed to serving you and your family’s needs during the difficult and painful loss of your pet. Realizing the tremendous emotional burden the death of a family pet can cause in your life, our professional and caring staff is here and committed to you and the memory of your cherished companion. If you have any concerns or questions regarding our operating procedures please do not hesitate to call us. We will be happy to speak with you per any and all questions you may have.

Why might there be an ash quantity difference between pets of same size and/or weight?
There are several reasons for any differences of ash quantity:
a. The main factor in amount of returned ashes is due to the specific bone density of an individual pet.  Even pets from the same litter can vary depending on size and bone density.  Some blankets, wraps and  items cremated with pets can also determine amount of returned ashes.  We are more than happy to cremate burnable items, within reason, with your pet.
b. When ashes have some tint of carbon it is due to an imperfect process.  There are viable reasons for this; length of cremation cycle; cool areas of chamber meaning darker the tint of ash more ash returned.
c. Bone fragment to ash processing.  Based on bone density all bones may not be reduced to a fine ash thus creating more ash quantity. Sometimes a few bone particles remain.
d. All chamber floors go through a slow usage process in which floor dust or small floor pieces may be part of the retrieved ashes.  This will increase the quantity of returned ash.
e. Will you return any metal parts that have been implanted in my pet due to past surgeries?
Harthaven will return any metal parts your pet may have due to past surgery’s as long as they have not melted away to nothing.  Most surgical parts of fair size remain and can be returned with ashes.  Very light density metal will melt into a blob and will be returned, but some very small metal parts will not last.


D. Will you come to my home to pick up my pet??
Sometimes it just doesn’t work for people to bring their pet to our facility.  We will come to your veterinarian’s office, animal control or the airport for pick up of your pet at no cost.
And we do offer in-home service for an additional fee when requested. We will need to know some specifics before we send someone, especially if you have a larger pet and we need to send more than one person to your home.
Before we arrive please make sure that you have removed anything you wish to keep (collar, tags, blanket etc.). If there are any items you would like cremated with your pet please let us know. Most items can be cremated with your pet but there are some limitations.

Once again, you may either call us at 563-1801 or contact us via our website, www.harthavenak.com so that we can be in contact with you and coordinate the best solutions for your particular circumstances.

Are you available 24/7? 
While we do have established office hours from 9 AM until 5 PM each weekday, we are available for holiday and after-hours service. Additional fees apply for holiday and after hours service.

Harthaven is deeply respectful of the privacy of its own individual clients and also those of the veterinary clinic.

As a core business and ethical commitment, any private information about an individual pet or client that we obtain in providing cremation services is considered and treated as confidential.  Based on this practice, we are unable to disclose individual client information or contact veterinary clinic clients directly without prior permission.

Record-Keeping and Record Retention
Harthaven maintains multiple forms and records that are designed to provide a consistent and reliable documentary record of our internal procedures and especially to track each pet’s remains at each step from the time it is entrusted to us to when the cremains are returned to a veterinary clinic or directly to the pet owner.

Among other procedural information, our redundant record system includes the owner’s name, the source of the pet – whether from an individual or clinic, the date on which the pet was received by Harthaven, the date the cremation was performed and ashes returned, the type of cremation service requested, as well as a unique identifying number inscribed on a non-combustible metal medallion that is attached to each pet for which a fully private or semi-private cremation service has been provided.

As a rule consistent with best industry practice, all cremation records are retained by Harthaven for a period of three years from the date of cremation and are available for inspection and discussion with Harthaven upon reasonable request of an authorized person.