What happens when I bring my pet?
As a small business we are happy to do our best to accommodate your wishes. When you arrive for your appointment we will assist you in bringing your pet through to our quiet room, located at the back of our meeting room. We will complete a small amount of paperwork with you, take payment and then leave you to say your goodbyes in privacy. To be clear we only take pets once they have died.
Will I get all of my pet's ashes returned?
Yes, we are very careful to return all ashes, known in the industry as "cremains", back to you.
My Vet arranged my pet's cremation; would they have come to Sunnyside?
Unfortunately not. The only pets looked after by us have come to us by arrangement of the pet owner. Whilst staff at local vets will occasionally telephone us directly at the specific request of owners, our contract is always with the pet's family. We are very proud of the fact that we are 100% private, to have contracts with vets we would also have to provide a disposal service, which is not a route we wish to take. If you wish us to collect your pet from a Vet we can of course do this, but need you to give your Vet permission to release your pet to us. If however you ask Animals at Home National Forest to collect your pet, then they will come to us and collect your ashes for you.
Can you guarantee my pet will be cremated individually?
Yes. With our precise recording we can even show owners the evidence on a cremation log. Because we are so small the vast majority of pets are looked after immediately, if not the same day. Where same day is not possible the owner will always be informed.
Can additional visits be made to visit my pet before crematorium?
Usually not as we always start the cremation process as quickly as possible. We are occasionally asked to hold onto pets so that other family members can visit them later. In many cases this can be quite difficult, particularly as we do not have cold storage. We would advise anyone who wants to pay their respects to accompany you when you bring your pet. If you wish, your friends or relatives can wait outside so that our initial contact and completion of the paperwork is done in privacy. Once you have had your moment alone with your pet your friends or relatives can be invited in. As we are so small we do not have facilities to store pets prior to cremation. Where we are able to accommodate additional visits we make a modest charge of £20.
Can we accommodate cultural cremations?
Yes, absolutely. We allow up to an hour between cremation appointments and although our facility is small, as long as our rules on hygiene, health and safety are followed we welcome you to bring friends and family members to celebrate the life of your pet and witness their passing into the next world. It is important however, particularly when a culture requires a witnessed cremation, that this is arranged in advance and takes place as early as possible in a morning. Witnessed cremations later in the day will incur additional charges, as your pet will be the first animal I am able to cremate or accept that day. I am very careful to keep our facility religion and belief neutral as we want our customers to be able to comfortably mark the passing of their pet however they see fit.
Can I visit my pet once it is collected from the vet?
This can be possible but by prior arrangement. We would make an appointment for you to visit as soon as we return with your pet. We always warn owners that pets left at the vets are usually frozen as vets have to follow strict hygiene procedures. If you are not able to meet us on our return from the vet then our additional visit charge may be applied.
It is advisable to have a towel or blanket for your pet to lie on when you bring them to us. A cloth or pad can be strategically placed to hygienically catch any leaks. Please never apologise to us if your pet is a little soiled, we promise this is completely natural and we are used to it. Because of our farm location we have to be extra careful about hygiene and any soiled blankets you leave will cremated with your pet. Please only wrap your pet in items they can be cremated in. Because we are unable to cremate padded baskets, please do not bring them if they are soiled. Any items that are not cremated with your pet will be returned to you. Occasionally people will wrap up their pet in an item of clothing and we ask that you ensure there are no metal zips or fasteners. Please do not be offended when we wear gloves when handling your pet, we do not do this to show disrespect.
How do I get my ashes back?
All ashes are collected from our premises. An appointment will be made for you, usually during the morning of the next working day to collect. Because of work commitments many people choose to collect their pet's ashes on a Saturday morning. When we are unsure of required casket size we will ask you to settle the final balance on collection of ashes.
Who will I see and who will "look after" my pet?
Our team is very small. Usually when you visit you will see me, Lynsey, the business owner. If you visit on a Tuesday morning Jeanette will look after you. My husband Ian assists with larger dogs.
Why is there a difference in costs?
We try to keep our pricing structure as fair as possible. The heavier a pet, the more it costs us to look after for you. We do not price below £100 for dogs or cats, as the £80 price bracket is specifically for more light boned species. Our prices are very competitive compared to a Vet arranged cremation, particularly taking into account the individual care and fast return of ashes.
Do you offer payment plans or credit?
Unfortunately not. I operate as a sole trader and cannot offer any kind of credit facility.
Why do you have a rule on no external metal and no padded baskets?
The no external metal rule is because metal breaks the machine we use to produce the powdered ash. Surgical metal is unavoidable, so we ask customers to let us know about this in advance so that we can avoid equipment damage. We do not cremate padded baskets due to the potential danger to our health when exposed to the fumes and dust.
Why do we have set hours for appointments?
I realise that our hours may seem a little restrictive at first glance. Being a small company there is only ever one member of staff available at a time. This is why to guarantee a same day appointment we advise customers call during the morning. We allow 15 minutes between appointments for ashes collection and up to an hour for cremations. Sometimes being very late for an appointment is unavoidable but please let us know if you are held up so that we are able to make the necessary family arrangements, particularly in an afternoon or out of hours. Please note if you are very late for your appointment you may have to wait whilst we look after our next customer, or even make an appointment to come back the following day.
Why do I have to wait for name plates and personalised items?
We do not have our own engraving equipment and have to rely on a third party for engraved items. Our suppliers are very good, but there will be occasional delays outside of our control.
Coping with Grief
If you are struggling to cope with the loss of your pet then there is some very good help available from the charity the Blue Cross.
Grief affects people in very different ways and unfortunately in some people can present itself in aggression. In extremely rare cases, we would suggest that the pet owner asks a friend or family member to take over the arrangements.