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WHEN A DOG DIES...
Taxidermy May Be An Option
Losing a dog can be traumatic and there are no funeral services to ease the pain but the action of preserving a pet through taxidermy can work you through the grief.
For many people, especially the elderly, a pet is their closest friend.
Kids grow up, move away, families become scattered (that's why they have
family reunions) but a personal dog is always there, by your side. When your
dog dies, it truly is like losing your best friend. Having a pet "stuffed" may seem gruesome but preserving the human body is an
ancient tradition practiced in many cultures. Taxidermy, for many
people, offers both closure to the mourning period and a solution to keeping their closest companion, close.
Taxidermy is used by sculptors who strive for an exact
replica. Museums use taxidermy to preserve and display important
relics as in this example of the legendary chupacabra. Indeed it is a
weird critter, said to exist only in vivid human imagination but don't tell a Texan that... (see
If given timely opportunity a talented taxidermist can
restore your dog to a life-like companion. You probably avoid thinking
about what you are going to do when your beloved pet dies. Taxidermy is but
one option. Other owners prefer a traditional burial and a simple
grave-side service often gives the closure that families need. That is
why there are funerals...
Ms. Jade, TheDogPress
Legislative Reporter has given a lot of thought to what she will
do. She contacted Anthony Eddy’s Wildlife Studio
which offers traditional taxidermy services for dogs, cats, birds,
lizards, etc. Taxidermy is a high tech alternative to burial, cremation or donating
your deceased pet to the local veterinary school. But
here, let Ms. Jade explain how it works...
first (and somewhat obvious) question is why?? OK, aside
from the obvious answer of “why not?” I can only honestly say
this is a story I never, ever imagined myself writing. When it’s
my turn to “cross over” I just want the county to dispose of my
temporary shell however they see fit. No funeral, no memorial,
no muss, no fuss and no expense. When I am finally reunited with
the beautiful American Pit Bull Terriers that have graced my
life, the continued existence of this amazing breed is the
legacy I hope to leave behind. It has become my life’s work.
wise person once said that the only bad thing about dogs is that
their lives are too short. However, to the serious breeder, dogs
live on through their offspring. Maybe it’s why we persevere
through all the hardships of breeding dogs. In a way, we are
chasing immortality. As humans, we can rationalize death and
find a way to make our peace with the circle of life but from
the day we accept a dog into our life, we must prepare for the
day that they will leave it.
Most of us will be lucky enough to own one dog in our life that
was extra, extra special. If we are truly blessed, there will be
more than one. The dog which sets the standard for all the
others that might follow in their paw prints. ADBA and AADR
Champion, Jade’s Dynasty’s “Dana” was for me, one of those dogs
was the first champion I ever bred (daughter of the first
champion I ever exhibited, “Jade’s Chocolate Demon” and Fenton’s
“Catfish”), my first dual registry titled dog, the foundation of
my breeding program and the center of my universe. I had given
no small consideration as to how I would someday pay homage to
her contribution to my life when she was gone.
an artist with a respectable amount of talent it was only
natural for me to want to sculpt her likeness, with the
knowledge that bronze can exist perpetually. When awarded a scholarship to study sculpture for a
semester at the Sedona Art Center in AZ, I chose Dana as my
subject. The school (a blessed sanctuary of sanity in a town
full of lunatics) graciously allowed my “pit bull” to patiently
sit in the studio every day among the other sculptors while I
worked. At the conclusion of the semester the sculpture was not
ready to cast so I wrapped it up and carefully packed it away in
my storage unit, confident that I would have plenty of time to
Months rolled by and then the
unthinkable occurred. Dana chewed up a pair of sandals.
She tried to throw them back up, only to choke on it. Despite
heroic efforts to revive her, she died in my arms. I was over
two thousand miles away from the pet cemetery where her mother
was buried and at a complete loss about what do with her (and
without her). I’ll spare you a graphic description of my
personal meltdown but when coherent thoughts finally began to
bubble up to the surface of my consciousness, I suddenly
remembered that “Sgt. Stubby” the famous “pit bull” war hero and
original “bulldog” of Yale University had been preserved and was
in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum.
wondered what it would actually cost to do something like that
so to satisfy my curiosity I called a local taxidermist and
inquired. The nice man on the other end of the phone informed me
that everyone was “taking their pets to that place in Missouri”
to be freeze-dried. I remembered a TV news story years ago
about this seemingly bizarre service. At the time I thought,
well, probably the same thing you’re thinking right about now.
But it did seem to be the answer to my unfinished sculpture
dilemma. So after an hour of internet searching (key word “pet
preservation”), I finally found “that place in Missouri”,
Anthony Eddy’s Wildlife Studio. After a lot more than an hour of
soul searching, I decided to do it.
freeze-dry? Well as opposed to traditional taxidermy, it’s
non-invasive and the pet retains its natural structure, physical
characteristics and natural expression. The process takes
several months and is not cheap. The size of the animal is a
factor in determining price. A “fluffy” pet is not as exacting
to pose as an athletic American Pit Bull Terrier like Dana where
every muscle is so obvious beneath a short, shiny coat.
staff at AEWS works from your photographs and personal input to
make the result looks as authentic as possible. These photos
give testimony to the amazing results.
It’s hard to say how I’ll cope
when confronted with the “finished product”. I plan to pick Dana
up in person. There’s no answer yet for the other somewhat
obvious question of what to do with her after that. I couldn’t
just place her at the foot of my bed or in the passenger seat of
my motor home as if it never happened (even though some people
might find comfort in that). And how will her “children” react?
This whole experience has really driven home the point that some
things in life are just plain unimaginable until you get there.
One thing is for certain, the sculpture will be finished and I might
even pose her for a painting. Who knows, maybe someday she
will join Sgt. Stubby in the Smithsonian or have a place at the
Museum of the dog in Chicago, IL. I hope that there would even
be a museum dedicated to the history and legacy of the American
Pit Bull Terrier where she might find her final resting place
and preserve for generations the many positive qualities that
these dogs exhibit today. I pray that her legacy will live on in
her children and her children’s children so that in the future,
people won’t have to go to a museum just to see what an American
Pit Bull Terrier was all about.
For one of the more controversial columns by Jade, see
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a 2-part investigative report which includes
ii The Process Church, Satanism, street beggars discovering "free money" in
Animal Rights, and the now respectable Best Friends Animal Shelter in Kanab, Utah.
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