Exploring Pet Preservation

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If only he could stay like this forever….(Oh! He can!!)

Look at this beautiful cat sleeping peacefully. Sometimes I look at my aging cat Hector sleeping and think of how much I love him. Having adopted him as an adult, I am not sure of his age and I don’t know how much time I have left with him. It would be nice to think Hector will be sleeping at the foot of my bed or on a dining room chair forever. Well, now he can. With the help of one of the many pet preservation companies popping up around the country, I can have Hector freeze-dried and preserved forever.

Freeze-drying your pet can take up to 6 months and cost anywhere from $300 to $2000 or more, depending on the size of the animal. Animal Planet is partnering with an Arkansas taxidermy shop called Xtreme Taxidermy for a 13 show gig (called “Stuffed”) documenting their freeze-drying process and the stories behind the animals in the freezer.  According to the taxidermy website, Stuffed will hopefully air later this year.  You can even apply to have your pet on the show. 

Xtreme Taxidermy got into the pet preservation business because of numerous requests they received from people wanting the service.  The process works like this….when your little Snickerdoodle passes on, you place her in a plastic bag and in your freezer until such time as you can overnight her frozen body to the taxidermist. You will get to decide in which position you would like your precious pet to rest for eternity. She can be “awake” or “sleeping”. Her head can be up or down, whatever you want. Everything about her stays the same except her eyes. They will be replaced with glass ones (freeze-dried eyes would surely look scary).

Check out this video about pet preservation at Xtreme Taxidermy

It might all sound really strange to some but it isn’t THAT weird considering the ancient Egyptians used to mummify animals and place them in tombs next to their masters. We all think ancient Egyptians were pretty cool right? I think it is a very personal choice of what to do with your pet’s remains. Why, some might think it gross that I have three small cedar boxes in my closet with ashes of pets that have passed on. Some prefer burial but many cities don’t allow burial in one’s yard. Some choose to leave their pet’s body in the care of their veterinarian. Whatever we decide we should be respectful of each others’ choices.

I can’t help though but think of how I would have my Hector freeze-dried — in which position I mean. I figure the whole idea is to have a constant reminder of what the pet was like when its sweet little spirit inhabited the body. So here are a few ideas I’d have to consider:

Hector almost always sleeps on his back, so if I decided on an “asleep” pose I would have him positioned like this.


Adding props like a favorite toy or in Hector’s case, his insulin and syringes can really help keep the memories “alive”.


Hector cleaning himself is another option for an “awake” pose.  This one might require some kind of back support though which might look unnatural or painful.  


This is how I picture my husband reacting to Hector’s freeze-dried body on the couch.


Hector is always present at the dinner table, trying to score a little tidbit.  When he passes, my kids might enjoy his body at the table (like old times).

Hopefully I’ll have lots of time with Hector before I have to think about what to do with his body.  Until then, I’ll just look forward to watching Stuffed, when it airs on Animal Planet sometime this year.   

0 thoughts on “Exploring Pet Preservation”

  1. I appreciate that people grieve differently and if this brings peace and comfort to someone then that’s cool. Personally, I find it a little creepy and I wouldn’t want any of my pets freeze dried. I think it would be a constant reminder of their absence. Like it or not, death is a natural part of life and, to me, holding on to the physical remains of a pet in a manner that attempts to mimic life can’t be healthy for the healing process. But to each his own I suppose….

  2. As for preserving your pet I think the money would be better used by adopting and therefore saving the life of another animal. I think part of the reason to preserve them is to be able to actually look at them but if you adopt a new family member then you can look at them and somehow help fill the void that they leave behind. You can never truly “replace” a beloved pet but I honestly feel that you can “fill” that emptiness they leave behind~!

  3. Oh my- that is hillarious. I like the on the back, open belly position myself, so you can rub it whenever you need to.

  4. glad you liked it. I laughed after I took it. I put catnip on the blanket to get him to stay and moments after I took the photo he hacked up something and my husband looked at him that way again 🙂

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