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pet cremation services grand rapids

Pet Cremation
Grand Junction, CO

Compassion and dignity for your pet’s aftercare needs

We are committed to providing the best possible care for our clients. We know you have many questions about "What happens now?" 

  • When is the right time to call for euthanasia services or to “put my pet to sleep” as it is commonly called?
    This is a difficult decision and often there is no right or wrong answer. One key factor in helping make the decision is to determine when your pet’s quality of life is significantly diminishing with little or no chance of improvement. Changes in their behavior can speak volumes to their quality of life. Illness or aging often compromises a pet’s ability to perform normal everyday functions and the ability to participate in their favorite activities. You know your pet and their habits better than anyone else so you are ultimately the best person to make the final decision. We are here to help you through the decision-making process and can help in objectively evaluating your pet’s health and well-being. Answering the questions below may help you with the decision: Is your pet eating and drinking normally? Is your pet able to urinate and defecate normally and in the appropriate place or is assistance needed? Are you physically able to continually provide the assistance necessary? Is your pet able to participate in their favorite activities? Is your pet in pain or having difficulty moving? Is your pet coughing or having difficulty breathing? If your pet is having any of the above problems, have they been examined by your regular veterinarian to determine if there are treatable causes? Are treatment protocols or medication dosages no longer helping control the pain? Is your pet no longer getting up to greet you when you arrive back home? Is your pet suffering from an illness or disease in which recovery is not likely? Are there more bad days than good days? A journal may help you determine this. Is your pet’s declining health having a negative effect on you or other family members? Every case is different and the above questions are provided here only to help guide you in your decisions. If you are still unsure that your pet’s quality of life warrants euthanasia, call to have a consultation. There will be a charge for this consultation and these are telehealth appointments but they can be very useful. A professional opinion will be given to you following a quality of life assessment.
  • What can I expect during the euthanasia appointment?
    When River Valley Gateway is called out to perform a euthanasia, we respectfully enter the home and begin dispelling any tension you or your pet may be feeling. For the first few minutes we will listen to you, observe your pet and gather information we feel will be helpful with the experience. Your wishes for aftercare type and keepsakes to be made or not will be confirmed. Sometimes changes need to be made or additional questions need to be answered so those will be addressed and details finalized. Then, your beloved pet will receive the first shot as a sedative. You, as well as anyone else present, will be encouraged to gather around your pet. However, in acknowledgement of the various ways individuals feel some may choose to stay a distance or even leave the room and this is completely ok. The final step is a peaceful and intimate time where your pet will slip deeper and deeper into unconsciousness before their breathing and heartbeats stop. When a heart beat is no longer detectable, your precious pet will have passed away and we will let you know this has occurred. If your pet is going with us for cremation, you will be given a comfortable period of time following their passing to say any final goodbyes. We will then snuggle your pet in a basket or on a stretcher with towels and blankets to be transported out to our vehicle for their journey to the crematory.
  • Where and when will the euthanasia take place?
    You can choose the place in your home, in the backyard, on the grass, on the deck in your pet’s bed, a favorite place, a comfortable place — this can be your decision. Usually, within the first 30 minutes of our visit, the euthanasia process has taken place and the remainder of the visit is set aside to accommodate some peaceful quiet time alone with them. For some, this is 5 minutes and for others, this is 20 minutes or more. If prior arrangements are made, the body can be left in your home for several hours and River Valley Gateway will return at the requested time for body aftercare.
  • What can I expect after my pet passes, how is the body cared for?"
    As we make the decision for euthanasia, we must also decide how to care for the body afterward. There are burial and cremation options. Burial : Burial is prohibited inside the city limits. There are established pet cemeteries where you may choose to bury your pet. County regulations exist outside of the city limits, please check with your local officials regarding these laws. Cremation (private, partitioned or communal): We will personally transport your pet’s body to our crematory located at 573 25 Road in Grand Junction. Private cremations are chosen when the family wishes to have only their pet in the cremation unit when being cremated making for a truly private cremation. Pets privately cremated are returned to the family in a standard urn. Partitioned or commonly known as individual cremations are usually chosen as a slightly less expensive option. The family will still receive the ashes however other pets are partitioned adjacent to your pet during the cremation and are cremated at the same time. Communal cremations are group cremations where your pet’s body will be cremated together with several other pets without being partitioned and the ashes will be scattered on a field, river bank or scatter garden designated for this purpose.
  • Who should be present?
    This can be a very personable event with just you there or the entire family, extended family, friends, children, other pets — whomever you wish can be present. We can help all involved have a very positive experience and celebrate a life that has been such a part of your everyday. Should children be present? The death of a family pet is often the first death experience many children encounter. Children have very special relationships with their pets and we believe they should be present, but that is entirely up to your discretion as every situation is different and as a parent or caregiver, you know your child best and should make the ultimate decision. We will spend extra time prior to the euthanasia explaining what is happening in a way children will be able to understand. We will be honored to answer their questions directly if you desire. Children experience grief differently than adults. River Valley Gateway requires training for employees in this area so that we can be sensitive to the needs of children during these situations. We will offer special gestures of remembrance to leave with each child that is present. Should my other pet(s) be present? Yes, if you wish other pets to be present we welcome them. Each pet grieves differently also, so we discourage having expectations for them to do certain things. We believe everyone should be present at some, if even only a small portion, of the service including all the household pets.
  • What can I do to remember my pet?
    Once the decision has been made for euthanasia, you may look for ways to celebrate or memorialize the time shared with your pet. We will discuss gestures of remembrance with you and allow you to choose what seems more appropriate. Below are some ways to remember your pet and save a keepsake. clay paw print ink paw print pewter necklace paw print create an online memorial on our tribute page write a poem or story religious customs and practices scrapbook or journal keep a collar, toy or blanket volunteer at or contribute monetarily to a rescue, shelter or other animal care organization/charity in your pet’s name light a candle paint their name on a commemorative rock donate bedding, dishes or food to an animal shelter in your area others-we encourage creativity in this area
  • When is the right time to get another pet?
    There is no right or wrong time to get another pet. Just as grief is a personal experience, the decision to bring another pet into the home is also a personal one. You may decide to get a young pet or rescue one or not get another one at all. We are here to help you in this decision if after your pet has passed you still have questions. For example, you may not be ready for another pet but you feel that the other pet still in your home would benefit from adding a pet to your home and help them in their grieving process. As these decisions can ultimately only be yours, we are here to help you talk out ideas and offer suggestions that you may not have thought about. Please call anytime with questions related to this topic as questions requiring guidance with decision making are free of charge as long as medical advice is not needed.
  • What do I do if my pet dies when the crematory is closed?
    In the event your pet passes naturally or by euthanasia outside of normal crematory business hours, you are always welcome to call us at 970-250-8493 and be ready to leave a message regarding your situation. If your pet passed at home you will need to either keep you pet stored in a cool area until we can visit your home on our next business day OR transport your pet to the Animal ER of the Western Slope at 1660 North Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501. We provide cremation services for the Animal ER so your pet will be safe with them until we are able to transport your pet to our facility for cremation. If you transport your pet elsewhere for holding and still wish they be cremated with us, please print off this form & take it with you. We will pick up your deceased pet from any clinic or hospital even if we don't have current arrangements to do so. Crematory Authorization Form Your pet will remain in custody with the veterinary hospital or the Animal ER until our next business day. Please let the Animal ER know of any keepsakes you wish to have. If you have special keepsake wishes, it is imperative you contact us directly on our next business day so we can make arrangements for these keepsakes to be made. We will be gentle with your pet and believe they should be respected just as much in death as they are in life. Thank you for allowing us to help during this difficult time.
  • How do I choose a pet crematory?
    We strictly adhere to the standards and the terminology of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPCC) so your trust can be safely placed with us. Our facility has an open-door policy so you are welcome to visit our facility even without a prior appointment. If you would like a complete tour, our care coordinators will be honored to walk you through our facility. Please view these standards that we are proud to uphold as a member of the IAOPCC.
  • What is the difference between a private cremation and individual cremations?
    A private cremation means that there is only one pet in the cremation chamber and the cremated remains are returned to the client. A private cremation may include viewing of the cremation by the client during what we call an attended or witnessed cremation. Individual cremations means that there are several pets in the cremation chamber at one time. These cremations are separated by trays, refractory bricks and/or space. Many people are led to believe that individual cremations are the same as a private cremation and this is not true.
  • What happens to my pet if I choose communal cremation?
    Communal cremation is a choice for some pet parents when burial is not an option but yet it is not their wish to receive the cremated remains back. Pets communally cremated are not separated and their mixed ashes are scattered together at a chosen place. A different place is chosen each time a scattering is scheduled.
  • How can I be sure my pet is being returned to me?
    We provide an unprecedented level of transparency regarding all of our operations, procedures, policies, and identification tracking system. Our tracking system traces your pet through every step of the cremation process which allows us to give you comfort, assurance and confidence in your pet's care during such a difficult time. First, proper identification is established before a pet is removed from a home, clinic or pet hospital. Secondly, a paper identification tag with your name as well as your pet’s name is placed with your pet and stays close to your pet at all times being placed outside the cremation unit during the cremation process. Thirdly, a numbered metal tag is assigned to your pet, recorded on their paper ID tag and accompanies your pet through the entire cremation process. This stainless steel metal tag will not be destroyed during the cremation so it can be found among the cremated remains.
  • Can I visit with my pet prior to cremation?
    Yes, but we will need to know that the cremation experience needs to be delayed. A comfort room is available for family members that need additional closure or goodbye time, especially if they were not present at the time of death. This can be a comfortable, quiet place where you can say your very last goodbyes and feel resolved in your decision about choosing us to help with your pet's aftercare needs.
  • Can I attend or witness the cremation?
    Absolutely, we have a viewing room specifically for individuals or families who wish to attend the cremation. This room helps offer comfort, closure and privacy regarding your pet’s cremation. You are also allowed on the crematory floor if you wish to be intimately involved with the experience.
  • When will my pet be returned to me?
    Cremations are returned in about a week (7-10 days). Attended or witnesses cremations may go home the same day. Nevertheless, rest assured, as soon as your pet is ready to return home we will notify you as soon as possible.
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We adhere to the highest standards and ethics of pet aftercare.  We are accredited by The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories.

We so appreciate your gentle, quiet, strong, professional way. Thank you for handling Cricket with dignity.

-- Bob and Val Ickes, Grand Junction, CO

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