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Pet Aquamation is an environmentally friendly, gentle and natural alternative to flame-based pet cremation. It is a water-based process known scientifically as Alkaline Hydrolysis and was patented in 1888; more than 130 years ago. The modern technology has been in place for over 25 years and is used for both pet and human disposition in prestigious hospitals like Mayo Clinic and other major universities across the country like UCLA and Duke University. Human Aquamation is approved for use in the funeral industry in more than 20 states.
This process is essentially an accelerated version of what takes place during natural decomposition in the soil.
The body is respectfully placed into a container that is placed inside a clean, stainless steel machine. A combination of gentle water flow, warm temperature, and alkalinity are used to accelerate the natural process of tissue breakdown. All organic material is reduced to its most basic building blocks leaving a sterile water solution and mineral bone remains.
Dr. Barrett oversees all animal handling and pet Aquamation procedures.
Your pet is placed in a final warm water bath, not incinerated by fire.
There are no emissions of harmful greenhouse gases as in flame cremation. There is no production of methane gas or leakage of harmful chemicals into the soil as with ground burial.
The Aquamation process does not burn any fossil fuels, has greater than 90% energy savings compared to flame-based pet cremation and has only 1/10th of the carbon footprint.
Aquamation will result in more remains on average than flame cremation as some of the bone is destroyed and expelled into the atmosphere through incineration.
You have made a choice to honor your family member with a dignified and gentle goodbye that will not harm the environment.
Multiple pets are co-mingled in the machine and processed together. Their remains cannot be separated and will not be returned to the owner. The processed remains are respectfully returned to nature and scattered on private and public land.
Each pet is gently placed into its own individual compartment inside the machine and is not co-mingled with other pets. See the diagram below. Their bone remains are dried and processed separately which ensures you receive only YOUR pet’s remains.
You have the right to choose the aftercare option that best meets your needs. Most veterinary clinics will work with you to achieve a solution that works for you. Call our office to request a pick up from the clinic: 520-367-5222.
How will I know the remains I receive after Individual Aquamation are MY pet?
When Individual Aquamation is selected, we use a stainless steel identification tag to track your beloved pet from the time we receive them until their remains and the tag are returned to you. The tag has a unique serial number and is attached to your pet’s limb with a plastic band. The tag stays with your pet and is checked at each stage of the process. Your pet is gently placed into its own separate compartment in the machine and is not co-mingled with other pets. The bone remains are segregated from other pets throughout the entire process. This ensures you receive only YOUR pet’s remains.
Kindred Spirits stainless steel identification tag
How long will it take to receive my pet’s remains?
As a more gentle and eco-conscious process, pet Aquamation takes longer than flame-based pet cremation, but less than 24 hours to complete. There is also a period for the bone remains to air dry naturally. You can expect your pet to be ready in 7-10 days.
How much energy can pet Aquamation save?
One pet Aquamation cycle at Kindred Spirits can save enough energy to drive 500 miles. That's from Tucson to Los Angeles!
Aquamation machine with divided compartments for pet segregation
Are the ash remains the same as with flame cremation?
They are simliar. A powdered “ash” is returned to the family in the same manner as flame-based pet cremation. Both processes result in bone remains that are then broken down into "ash", but Aquamation remains are very brittle as they contain only the bone mineral calcium phosphate. Each individual pet’s bone remains are rinsed, air dried, and processed into a sand-like powder. The powder remains are typically lighter in color as they are without the carbon discoloration that can occur with burning. Aquamation will result in up to 20% more remains than flame cremation as some of the bone is destroyed and expelled into the atmosphere through incineration.
Are the bone remains safe to handle?
Yes. The remains are 100% safe and free of disease or pathogens after the process. The final remains are cooled during the clean water rinse and are safe to handle with bare hands immediately following the process. The remains are safe to scatter in the environment and return to nature.
What can I do with my pet’s remains?
You can use the aquamated remains to memorialize your dear friend in a variety of meaningful ways. The most common is storing them in an urn or scattering or burying them in a special place. The powdered remains can also be mixed into soil when planting a memorial garden, tree or plant. They can be incorporated into glass jewelry or art, tattoos, paintings, ceramics or solidified into parting “stones”. The remains can be made into synthetic diamonds and even fireworks. They can be mixed with concrete for stepping stones, statues and even memorial reefs in the ocean.
How do I incorporate my aquamated bone remains into a memorial planting?
The aquamated remains are pure calcium phosphate. They can be used as a fertilizer, but like any fertilizer, too much can damage plants and soils. Calcium phosphate is best utilized by plants in organic soil with a pH <7.0. In this environment, the soil microbes can break the calcium phosphate apart into an available form for the plant to use, but it is released very slowly over months. Application is similar to using bone meal or rock phosphate fertilizers; mix into soil, water in well: 1-2 TBS when planting bulbs or transplants; 1-2 TBS into 1 gallon of organic or potting soil; ¼ -½ cup into 1 cubic foot of soil; 5-10 lbs into 1 cubic yard of soil; 5-10 lbs mixed into 100 sq ft of topsoil in vegetable gardens or flower beds; 1 lb per 1-2” of tree or shrub trunk diameter mixed outward from the base; 1½-2 cups = 1 lb. If you have a small amount of remains to use, you can definitely utilize them at a lower rate in a larger project of your choice. Your beloved companion will still become part of a new living thing for you to enjoy and remember your dear friend.
Are the alkalis used in this process safe for the environment?
Yes. The water-based process uses a solution of 95% water and only 5% alkali; a combination of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. The alkalis used in this process are the same alkalis used in common cosmetic products, body washes, shaving creams, and even food preparation. At the end of the process, the chemical has been completely consumed, neutralized, and no longer remains in the water solution.
What is the impact of the water usage?
Incredibly low. Our Aquamation process uses the same amount of water one would use to give the pet a bath; far less water than other home activities such as washing a car. Water is used to carry out the hydrolysis process and for a final clean rinse of the machine and bone remains. At the end of the process, 99% of the water is returned to the wastewater treatment facility where it is recycled in the same manner as all other wastewater.
Is the remaining water solution, or effluent, corrosive or harmful?
No. The water solution is sterile, safe and free of disease or pathogens. It contains amino acids, sugars, salt and soap. The system automatically cools the effluent well below required discharge regulations and neutralizes the pH. The effluent actually has a preservative and beneficial effect on iron and steel pipes and is not harmful to plastic pipes. It is an excellent micronutrient package that can benefit wastewater treatment plants.
Does this process boil my pet or use acid?
NO! Aquamation occurs at temperatures below boiling and is a gentle, final warm bath for your pet. The alkalis used are the opposite of acids and work in the same manner as natural elements in the soil; like Mother Nature.
Can I drop my pet off at your location?
Yes, but it must be pre-arranged by appointment as our staff may be out of the building.
Flame Cremation vs Aquamation Remains
Burial should be performed in accordance with local and state laws and with a landlord’s authorization.
Be sure to identify and avoid underground utilities that could be damaged when digging.
If your pet was euthanized by a veterinarian, the euthanasia medication that was administered is deadly to other pets or animals that might dig up your pet’s body. Body fluids containing euthanasia medication may leak out of the body and should not come in contact with any surface or groundwater.
The body must be covered with at least 2 feet of soil to prevent scavenging. Digging to the proper depth can be very difficult, especially in areas with hard caliche soil. If the proper depth cannot be achieved, the body should be covered with wire or a large rock to discourage digging by animals.
Wrap your pet in a blanket or other cloth material if desired. A casket or box is not necessary, but a biodegradable container can be used if desired. Avoid wrapping the body in plastics that will slow the process of natural breakdown in the soil.
When selling your property, notify the buyers about animals buried on the land.
Dr. Barrett will be unable to accommodate Saturday and after hour appointments at this time.