Read About Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation

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A Special Place for a Special Time
First published in the January/February 2017 issue of Pittsburgh PetConnections Magazine

Pet First Aid Can Save Lives
By Candy Woodall, June 9, 2011, Chartiers Valley Patch

Memorial Will Help Pet Owners Grieve
By Mike Jones, September 7, 2011, Chartiers Valley Patch

Free pet first aid classes offered
By Linda Wilson Fuoco, Thursday, June 02, 2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Crematory Helps Pet Owners Say Goodbye
By Zandy Dudiak, March 25, 2011, Chartiers Valley Patch

Pet Memorial Services Held in South Fayette
Thursday, September 17, 2009, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A place for pet owners to grieve: Bridgeville crematorium helps soften the loss
Thursday, February 23, 2006, By Dan Gigler, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

People find it tough to face the death of a beloved pet
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Memory pendants help grieving pet owners
September 5, 2007, The Almanac

Reviews about Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation

Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation on Yahoo
Including two customer reviews as well as a map.

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A Report

Psychology of Death & Dying: Student Field Trip Assignment
In autumn 2011 a student in Psychology of Death and Dying at the University of Pittsburgh chose Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation for their field trip subject and sent the report to Deb Chebatoris after the assignment.

The assignment

  • This assignment involves each student 1) taking a trip to a cemetery, crematorium, funeral home, hospice, mortuary school, morgue, autopsy lab, or any other “death related institution/site”, 2) taking a tour of the site, 3) conducting an interview with a representative from the site ( in person; telephone or email interviews are not appropriate for this assignment) and 4) writing a paper summarizing the experience.  If you are uncertain if the site you have in mind is appropriate for the assignment, please see me well in advance of the due date.  Students may not use a previous visit to a site for completion of this assignment.
  • Research options and choose the site you will visit.  Contact the site and make arrangements, in advance, to take a tour and conduct a brief interview with a representative from the site.  Explain that you are taking a course on Death & Dying and this visit is part of an assignment for the course.  If the contact person has any questions or concerns regarding the assignment or your request, please let them know they may contact me by phone [instructor’s contact information].
  • Students must email [instructor] to provide me with notification of the name and location of the site you have chosen for your field trip.  Notification by this date is required to earn full credit for the assignment.

Topics to cover in your paper:

  • Summary of the preparations for the visit (What made you choose this site? How did you find it? How did you prepare yourself?, etc.)
  • Date of visit; name, title, & contact information for individual interviewed
  • Summary of your observations during the visit
  • Information about the site:
    • Services provided to the dying/dead
    • Services provided to the bereaved
    • Other…
  • Reactions/feelings you had during the visit (and in anticipation of it)
  • Did the field trip cause your attitudes or feelings to change? How?
  • What did your observations and questions tell you regarding the institutions’ philosophy about death?

Feel free to include any additional information, thoughts, etc.

Papers should be a minimum of 5 double-spaced pages in length, with attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Come to class on the due date prepared to discuss your field trip.

The Report

I chose to visit Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation because it directly relates to one of my primary fields of interest: animal behavior.  I am currently interning at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, where I work on Team Dog.  As a member of Team Dog, my function is to work with behaviorally challenged dogs as they are admitted to the shelter.  We have a limited amount of time during which to attempt to rehab dogs that have failed the behavioral exam, but narrowly so, and might be adoptable with successful behavior modification.  Because our patients are, by definition, high-risk, I must frequently deal with seeing my patients euthanized.  This intimate and repeated exposure to death and dying made Chartiers a perfect fit to visit.

I found Chartiers by googling “pet crematoriums Pittsburgh.”  I read through the websites returned by the search, and quickly identified with Chartiers.  To prepare for the visit, I wrote down a list of questions to ask about the services they provide.  While Deb Chebatoris (the owner/operator of Chartiers) and I ended up simply conversing naturally, thinking through and writing all my questions beforehand helped me to be conversant about her practices and to identify areas that I would like to know more about.

Date of Visit:                  November 18, 2011
Interviewee:                  Deb Chebatoris
Title of Interviewee:      Owner/Operator
Contact Info:                  Deb Chebatoris
Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation
442 Washington Avenue
Bridgeville, PA 15017
(412) 220-7800

Summary of Observations

Chartiers is very reminiscent of what I understand funeral homes for humans to be like (I have never actually been to a funeral home for humans).  Guests arrive at a quaint business district, where Chartiers is located between a veterinary clinic and a groomer’s.  The building, currently being renovated to include a new facade, is very homey.  The primary guest room is lined with indoor fountains, creating a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere because of the tinkling sounds of water.  One wall is painted with a calming forest scene that adds to the peaceful ambience.

Deb is a kind, motherly figure, who instantly puts visitors at ease.  I tend to be socially anxious meeting new people, but I found Deb immensely easy to talk to.  Undoubtedly her deep pool of empathy is a significant factor in the value of her service offerings and the success of Chartiers.

Every aspect of Chartiers is calming.  From the location, to the building and staff and right down to hand-made receptacles for ashes tied with a silk rose and a lock of the pet’s hair.

The services provided in addition to pet cremation service include: transportation for the pet; annual memorial services; the healing hearts pet loss support for the grieving; personalized urns and receptacles; and providing the human touch to it all.  The annual memorial service is held on every second Sunday in September and those that have lost a pet are invited to attend to help remember their pet. At the service, people can receive information on grief responses and healing.  Similarly, the healing heart pet loss support service is held in February by Deb and she invites speakers to come speak and give support, resources and information to those dealing with the death of a pet. Not only does Chartier Custom Pet cremation provide support for pet loss, but it also provides resources and references on pet care. Deb offers a list of veterinarians that perform in-home euthanasia, which I found particularly interesting and something useful to have reference to for the future.  Also, one can attend pet first aid classes offered to help prevent accidental losses for pet owners.

I informed Deb about the recent passing of my husband’s beloved Golden Retriever – Enzo – and she immediately began talking about the process, and very soon she was at her sewing machine making me a new personalized pouch for Enzo’s ashes and helping me to pick out a nice urn (the vet had given us Enzo’s remains in a plastic container).  This personalization and attention to the client’s emotional needs is really the central offering of her service.

                              Reactions & Feelings from the Site Visit

I was nervous about visiting Chartiers for several reasons.  Firstly, I’m an animal lover, and I anticipated that the visit could be upsetting and force me to discuss topics that I find emotionally difficult to address.  Secondly, I didn’t know what to expect because I have never visited a death institution before, and the unknown aspects made me nervous.  Thirdly, and for me this was the most difficult aspect, my social anxiety issues always make me nervous to meet new people; I was just short of dreading the trip by the morning of because I would again have to face down a personal fear.

During the visit, Deb put me immediately at ease.  The atmosphere also helped to calm my nerves greatly, and begin to focus on the substance of the visit.  Deb showed me many intimate details of the operation, including the crematory with skeletal remains still inside, and the process of cremation.  Before the visit it was my understand that crematory remains were just ashes and was intrigued to find out that the whole skeleton is intact after the cremation and the ashes that one typically gets is actually granulated bones.  Much to my surprise, rather then being upset, I found that I was highly interested to learn the details and that I wasn’t at all off-put by the images that, had you asked me the day before, I would have said would be very unsettling.

Attitudinal/Emotional Shifts Caused by the Visit

The visit made me considerably less reticent about several aspects of death and dying.  Visiting considerably lessoned my anxiety about the processing of my own pets upon their death.  I have thought about it considerably since, going round and round in my head in an attempt to articulate precisely why my anxiety was reduced.  The best answer I can come up with is that the visit removed an unknown.  Seeing the process first hand, making all aspects tangible in my mind and seeing the care with which Deb treated the animals educated me and the fear simply melted away.

Even more interestingly from a personal standpoint, the visit also greatly reduced my anxiety toward my own death.  Understanding the process for animals directly translated to a higher emotional and knowledge quotient about the process generally.  While I certainly retain anxiety about dying generally, one aspect of the anxiety is somehow diminished.

The Institution’s Philosophy About Death

Death is inevitable.  People must deal with their pet’s death, and each such death is like falling off a cliff for the pet owner.  Frequently, a pet’s death is just as significant as a human’s death for the people affected.  Chartiers exists to treat the departed with dignity, and to nurture families through the death of a loved pet.  Their basic philosophy, as I understand it, is to recognize the significance of a pet’s passing, and to implement and foster coping techniques more typically associated with the passing of a human. Overall, the attention to detail, personalization, and above all Deb’s empathy, are what make Chartiers such an excellent resource for the region’s pet owners.

Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation
Phone: 412-220-7800
442 Washington Avenue Bridgeville, Pennsylvania 15017