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FAQ

1. How do I know I get my pets' cremains back?
2. What is cremation?
3. How do I get my pet cremated?
4. Can I come visit your facilities?
5. Will the crematory mix my pet's cremains with another pet?
6. How long does the cremation take?
7. What is the temperature of the crematory?
8. Does cremation cause pollution?
9. What do I get back?
10. What if my pet passes after business hours?
11. Why must I select an urn?
How do I know I get my pets' cremains back?

The number one question we answer is:

“How do I know it is my Pet I’m getting back?”

When your pet passes away, either at your home or at a veterinary office, Good Shepherd begins our Chain of Custody when we are contracted by you or your veterinarian to perform your pet’s cremation.

Chain of Custody is a standard term used to define the method of how something works from beginning to end. Below is a diagram for your review. If you prefer the long explanation, keep reading…

Good Shepherd uses a computer tracking system called PETS©. This is a system built and designed exclusively for Good Shepherd. It was created to replace the tried and true tracking system used for years by Good Shepherd. The benefit to you is you have the ability to track your pet through phone calls and or an email.  

When your pet is removed from the veterinarian’s office you receive confirmation that we have your pet and we will soon begin the cremation process. If you do not wish to know when your pet was picked up or when she was returned, you can request us not to contact you. If you did not get a phone call or email it is because of only two reasons; your veterinarian requested you not be contacted by us or you did not give us your phone number and or email. Our suggestion is to request your veterinarian to include this information at the time of the euthanasia.

Your veterinarian does not perform the cremation. Your veterinarian is in the “health care” business; we are in the “death care” business. Our responsibility is to you. We want you to receive the proper care you deserve for your companion; this is all we do and why we believe we are better suited to provide to you the professional level of service your veterinarian can not offer.

When your veterinarian enters your information into our computer a tag is generated and attached to your pet. Think “toe tag”. When completed, a field representative from Good Shepherd is notified immediately by email on their smart phones. Then we act on the notification!

Good Shepherd arrives at your home or to the veterinarian’s office to make the removal. The field representative uses their cell phone (Blackberry®), to verify the pet information and take your pet to the crematory. This is when you get the email explaining who we are and when we will be performing the cremation.

No other cremation service can offer you this level of service because no other cremation service has PETS©. By using today’s technology we strive to give you options to our service that you have never had before. We ask if you want a clay paw or a clip of hair, or you want us to remove the collar or add a favorite blanket or toy. Once we start the cremation we cannot offer this service to you for obvious reasons.

We weigh your pet on certified scales when your pet is “checked in” at the crematory because we charge for the cremation based on weight. Some veterinarians bill you for our service; some want us to do the billing; either way you must be billed for the correct service you requested. Right?

The “toe tag” has a barcode printed on it. It is scanned and the weight of your pet is verified. We then wait to hear from you to make sure you are aware of the services available to you.

What if you requested not to have your pet’s ashes returned; but you returned home from the veterinarian and changed your mind? Who would you contact? What if you wanted the collar but you forgot to tell the veterinarian to remove it? What would you do if you wanted a clip of hair but did not mention that to the veterinarian? Is it too late? Now we can offer to you this service because you are contacted and informed.

If you want your pet cremated as soon as we take custody and do not want any of these services you just call us and tell us you are ready for us to begin the process.

On the following day, if we do not hear from you we begin the cremation process.

Each return pet is given an identification tag when it is cremated. Non-return cremations do not receive the identification tag. Instead, they are given a tracking number that tells us when and where the pet was cremated.

The identification tag is placed in the heat sealed bag along with the ashes. Then they are placed in the urn of your veterinarians’ choice or yours.

Along with the urn each cremation is returned to you with a cremation certificate. This is a legal document because it is notarized.

If your pet is returned to your veterinarian’s office, at that time you will receive our last email and or phone call to inform you that your pet’s cremation is complete and your pet is ready for you to pick up.

That concludes our “Chain of Custody”. We perform all of these steps ourselves and never “farm out” your pet to be cremated by someone other than Good Shepherd.

If you wish to speak to someone at Good Shepherd regarding your pet and the cremation process, we can be reached via email at: info@goodshepherdpet.com , or by phone at: 1866-332-3738.

 

 

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What is cremation?

The cremation process is performed to prepare the remains of a loved one for their final resting.  This process is carried out by placing the loved one's remains in a cremation chamber which is under intense heat.  Each pet is carefully tracked by a specific cremation number throughout the entire process.  Through the use of appropriate fuel, the incineration of the remains is completed and all matter is consumed or driven off, except for bone fragments and/or metal.  These components remain because the temperature is not sufficient enough to consume them.

 

Due to the nature of the cremation process, any personal possessions or valuable materials left with the remains may be destroyed.  Following a cooling period, the cremated remains, which vary in weight and amount depending on size are then swept or raked from the cremation chamber.  The crematory operator will make every effort to remove all of the cremated remains from the cremation chamber, but it is impossible to remove all of them due to dust and other residue left behind from the process.  After the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, all non-combustible material such as screws, pins, and metal plates will be separated and removed from the bone fragments.  The bone fragments are then granulated to a powder-like texture.  The processed "cremains"  are placed into a transparent pouch including a brass identification tag with your pets specific cremation number.  The secured pouch is then placed into the desired urn or container and sealed.  A label with your companions' name is placed on the urn.  A cremation certificate is  included with your pets cremains when returned. 

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How do I get my pet cremated?

Good Shepherd works through your veterinarian in most cases. When your pet is put to sleep or dies the veterinarian calls us to come make the removal. If your pet dies at home we can make arrangements directly with you to remove the pet and take it back to the crematory to begin the cremation process. There is a nominal fee attached to this service.

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Can I come visit your facilities?

Absolutely! We encourage you to come and visit us at our offices. At Good Shepherd, we pride ourselves on full disclosure and complete transparency. You are welcome to come to our facility, take a tour, and learn as much as you want to know. If it brings comfort to you to watch us load your pet into the crematory and take his or her cremains back out, you are welcome to do that as well. We are open Monday-Friday, 8:00-5:00pm. Give us a call at 866-332-3738 to schedule an appointment.   

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Will the crematory mix my pet's cremains with another pet?

Absolutely not. It is a myth that crematories create what some call "turbulence" during the cremation process. Unless you specifically request a private cremation, which is very costly, we do cremate your pet in the crematory with 3-5 other pets [depending on the size], but we garauntee that you are getting your pet's cremains back. We load every pet in the crematory individually and load every pet out of the crematory individually while stimultaneously using our innovative PETS software system and tracking grid to verify our process. The pets stay exactly where we put them and do not move during the cremation process. If you are unsure, again, please come visit our facilities and see for yourself so that you can be assured that we are holding true to our promises.

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How long does the cremation take?

The cremation cycle takes approximately three hours from beginning to end. After the cremation is complete the crematory has to cool down for about two hours.

We believe returning your pets' cremains back is our number one responsibility, therefore we do not race through the cremation process. It normally takes us about a week to ten days to complete the entire process. 

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What is the temperature of the crematory?

At optimum operation the crematory is running at 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Does cremation cause pollution?

 Good Shepherd uses only the most technologically advance equipment available on the market. There is no odor or smoke generated by a properly run machine. A tractor trailer operating on the highway will cause more pollution than a Good Shepherd crematory.

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What do I get back?

 Cremains, as they are called, are what is left after the process is complete. All or most of the soft tissue is gone. The skeletal system is all that remains. Remember seeing the remains of an animal that died in the desert? The bleached bones are what resembles the cremains in the crematory before they are removed. The "bones" are then ground down to a fine powder. The powder is what you receive back.

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What if my pet passes after business hours?

We are open 8:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday and answer phones 8:00am-12:00noon on Saturdays. Unfortunately, we realize that pets often pass away while we are not open. However, we are still thinking of you and would be honored to help you. So, what do you do when your pet passes away after business hours and you would like to have him or her cremated? 

1. Call us at 866-332-3738 and leave us a voice mail with details. We will call you back first thing the next business morning. 

2. Now, you have options. The first option is to call your veterinarian or a 24/7 veterinarian office and ask if they will hold your pet for you until Good Shepherd can pick him/her up. Veterinarian Offices are usually more than happy to help you in this way, even if they are not your typical veterinarian. 
 

The second option is to keep your pet at your home. It is best to keep your pet as cold as possible until we can pick him or her up. Many owners often use a cooler, spare refridgerator, or freezer during this time. If it is winter or cooler outside, you can leave your pet there in the meantime. We realize it may feel upsetting to keep your pet cold during this time, but it's actually the most loving way we can care for our furry children until cremation occurs.

 

3. Fill out the pre-planning form located here on our website to best assure that we can meet your needs. 

 

4. As soon as we return to our office, we will come and pick your pet up for you and care for him or her. If you live near Concord, NC, we do have staff on call on Saturdays if you need us to come pick up your pet from your home or meet us at our office.  

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Why must I select an urn?

When returning the cremains,either back to you or through your veterinarian, we must protect the integrity of the cremains. If we sent the cremains back just in a plastic bag there could be a chance of dropping the bag and spilling the contents. By placing the cremains in a container (Urn) we are assured the cremains are protected until they reach you. Should you wish to scatter the cremains, you will have to open the urn to access the bag the cremains are in. You can keep the urn to store your pet's collar or other items that are mementos of your life spent together.

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