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When Taxidermy and Pets Collide

[NOTE:  Clicking on the pictures in this post will take you to their source articles. Have fun!]

If it weren't for the plaque, I think this would fool anyone.

Welcome to the world of permanently preserved pets. First of all, I have a confession to make. When our beloved rabbit, Glory Roberta, died, I took her to a taxidermist and had him remove the pelt and cure it for me. Her fur was beautiful, and I wanted something to remember her by. Once the grief wore off, I stuck it in a drawer and mostly forgot about it, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Now I wonder how much more it would have cost to go the whole way and have her mounted in a lifelike pose — rolling in her litterbox, perhaps, or chewing a baseboard.

Taxidermists are interesting people. They love animals, and they love a challenge. When a heavily tattooed and heartbroken guy brought in his dead Chi puppy, this taxidermist embraced the difficulties of mounting a seven-inch long animal, and the results are both poignant and adorable.

Preserving pets has a long history, possibly starting with the Egyptians, and certainly achieving heights of weirdness with those wacky Victorians, who made entire tableaus of dressed-up cats, dogs, mice and monkeys. Their motto seemed to be, if it moves, make a pet of it. When it stops moving, turn it into decoration.

And of course, some people preserve pets somewhat less sensitively than others.

If this is a subject that interests you, you’re in luck. Animal Planet has an upcoming reality show which is described thusly.

The show, set in Romance, Ark., follows taxidermist Daniel Ross as he runs family business X-treme Taxidermy with his wife LaDawn and three sons. Together, the family and employees specialize in reassembling family pets, including a chihuahua, a goat and a poodle.

Because of the location, the working title is, “Romance is Dead.” <cue reluctantly admiring groan>