Furry Hearts Blog

What Happens Next?

After they pass.

This post is a follow on from a blog I wrote just after my dog Bear passed away. At the time I engaged the services of Passing Paws to cremate and return Bear home to me, though it wasn’t recently that I knew that was even a service available to pet owners. The first part of this post is a bit sad but below I have an interview with Passing Paws that goes in depth about what they can do for loving pet owners. So, feel free the scroll past the first bit if you’re a sook like me when it comes to animals xo

photo of a pet with a cremation urn set up as a shrine in a timber cabinet

Bear’s memory shrine

I’m standing there. Numb. My hands are stroking him across his muzzle (when did it get so grey?), over his head, feeling those floppy ears and then down his shoulders and legs (he always liked a shoulder pet rather than a head scratch) Is he gone? What if he’s still there? Did I see his chest move?

My hands move up to his muzzle again to repeat the action but my husband grabs them. “Manda, he’s gone”. I look at Corey, he’s been crying. Am I crying? I touch my face. Yes, I’m crying.

The vet and the vet nurses who had been trying to save him for the past hour have gone about some business nearby to give us some time and privacy. “What next?” I ask. “I can’t take this body home, I just can’t and I don’t want Charger to see his brother like this”.

“I don’t know” Corey replies.

A vet nurse comes over and hands us a pamphlet about cremation options and I remember a dear friend who used a similar service called Passing Paws. I mention this to the vet nurse and she said she would notify them and they would be in touch with us to make arrangements.

“So, do we just leave… Do we leave him here?”. She tells me that Passing Paws will pick him up from there and take him to their premises. So, we leave. Still in shock, the silent car ride home is gut wrenching. I can’t believe my baby Bear is not coming home with us. I have his collar in my hand, well the collar he wore to the vet – we didn’t often have his collar on at home because him and Charger would wrestle and tear them to bits. The collar that wasn’t really his collar suddenly felt so much more important than it was because he was wearing it this morning. My mind keeps spinning.

What happens next? How do we choose how he is cremated? How long does it take? When do we pay? It all happened so suddenly and I don’t even know if we have the money for a cremation. That sort of thing is expensive, isn’t it?

Later than morning Corey is contacted by Rachel and Lee at Passing Paws who outlines how everything works and directs us to their website so we can choose what memorial items we want for Bear. We are given an estimated date that they will be able to bring Bear home to us and the cost. It’s all organized easily, professionally and with the utmost compassion and respect. Less than a week later Bear came home in a gorgeous urn, along with a plaster paw print and a certificate with an ink paw print on it. I can’t say it provided emotional closure for me as such, but I was so pleased to be able to set up my own little shrine in memory of my baby Bear.

I honestly cannot speak too highly about what a difference having this service available made to us during that difficult time and how is made the grieving process much less stressful. After some time, I reached out to Passing Paws to thank them again and to also see if they might be able to answer for me some of the questions that I had after my Bear passed, answers that in the moment I didn’t have to ask them because they anticipated my needs, but answers that may be helpful to others having to go through this sad experience. I’ve told you a bit about my experience with the company but they do many more amazing things.

Interview with Passing Paws

For me, I know the vet contacted you on our behalf, is this the usual way? And how does the process happen on your end? 

There’s a few different ways we are contacted at Passing Paws. Sometimes people are given the opportunity to prepare and so they call us direct. We then take all the details over the phone or we’re happy to correspond through email too if talking is too painful just yet. We will also get a phone call from the vet clinic or the customer to let us know their companion is ready for collection from the clinic. Some pets pass away at home and so we’re on standby to collect at the requested time from the vet or usually from the pet’s home.

We do have some vet clinics that prefer to take care of the customer throughout the whole process. If they do this, we don’t get much interaction with the customer. The customer can lose the extra personal touches that our team offers, as well as not being made aware of the wide range of different services that we have available. Our staff are all very compassionate and highly skilled for dealing with emotional and grieving customers, therefore we try our best to direct the customers to us so that we can assist them through the whole process at Passing Paws.

Some of our additional services we take great pride in are: ‘The Same Day Cremation Service’, ‘The Garden of Rest Funeral Service’ and the ‘Free Empathy Sessions’ we run that are aimed at helping customers struggling to come to terms with losing their furry family members.

How does the process vary when it is a pet that has passed at home?

Usually when a pet passes at home, the customer will call us directly and ask for a home collection service where we come to the customer’s home and collect their beloved pet at the requested time. We can be contacted 24/7 and we are able to facilitate collection at any time. In some instances home euthanasias take place as well and so we are on standby to collect from the owner’s home. We will liaise direct with the vet who has been asked to attend the customer’s home. This allows us to get to the customer’s home with enough time for the customer time to spend with their pet after the euthanasia has taken place. Our vehicles are beautiful inside, with grass on the floor and a beautiful velvet curtain inside.

What is the best way for an owner to decide what service and products they want for their pet memorial?

The most popular way our customers decide what they’d like for their pet is by visiting our website. If the customer has been at a vet clinic, they will also have access to our brochures that explain our services and products available. We definitely encourage customers to come to our Passing Paws office in Neerabup and view our products first hand before they make their choice. For some of the vet practices that deal with the customer direct, we generally put a cabinet in their practice so that customers can see the whole range and get a feel for what they want. We understand that it’s a really important part of the healing process to commemorate our pets with the right urns and memorabilia and we’re here to make the process as easy as possible. Many pet owners have never had to go through this process either and it can get really confusing, especially as the grief is still so raw. We are on call 24/7 and welcome customers to come visit so we can ensure everything is to a perfect standard. Our pets deserve nothing less.

How long does it take between picking up the pet and them bring able to come home again? 

We offer 2 Private Services – ‘Same Day Private Cremation’ and the ‘Standard Private Cremation’. Passing Paws are the first to introduce the ‘Same Day Private Cremation’ where customers wait no longer than 5 hours after their pets passing to have their ashes returned to them. Usually the customers that choose this, spend time in our peaceful ‘Garden of Rest’ and ‘Family Comfort Room’ at our Crematorium and wait for their pet’s cremation to finish. We also serve light snacks and refreshments whilst the customers wait. We have the ability to provide a funeral service in the Garden of Rest with flowers, family members can make a speech and we can display photos of their pets as well.

Our usual return of ashes for a Standard Private Cremation is 3-5 days. At our initial phone call our team will be able to give an estimated time for when the pet will be returned back home. On the day the pet’s ashes are ready our team will contact the customer with a 2 hour time frame and once again 30 minutes before arrival just so the customer is kept up to date the whole way through.

When and how are payments made? 

Payments are made prior to the cremation taking place unless specifically agreed prior. We also offer a pre-pay system where people can pay off the cost of the cremation in instalments. This option allows them to be prepared financially at the time of their pets passing as well as allowing them to upgrade to other products and services that may be too pricey should their pet suddenly pass. Having payment take place prior in such situations as planned euthanasia enables us to dedicate this time to the pet and the owner rather than worry about payment.

I noticed on your site that you also offer grief counselling; can you tell me more about that? 

Rachel’s background is Mental Health Nursing in which she spent 15 years working. With Rachel’s expertise we have introduced a ‘what happens next campaign’ in which we provide free empathy sessions. These sessions are aimed at helping people come to terms with losing their pets. After all they are so much more than just pets. They are our best friends, our confidants and we love them the same (if not more!) as our family. We run these sessions at different locations around Perth, and we have four different sessions that we deliver with a different topic and goal each session. We are lucky enough to have a RMN on board, a Psychologist and a Pet Grievance Counsellor that work on these sessions to make it a valuable resource to our customers.

Getting in contact with Passing Paws:
08) 9306 2736