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Is Having A Dead Pet Taxidermied Really That Creepy?

Illustration for article titled Is Having A Dead Pet Taxidermied Really That Creepy?

Fans of Knut the Polar Bear lost it when they found out he was going to be stuffed and put on display, but some people feel taxidermy is the best way to remember a beloved pet. Today the New York Times profiled Amy Finkel, a documentary video teacher at Parsons School of Design who's working on a film about what people do with the remains of their late animal friends.

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Through her work on Furever, she's befriended Mike McCullogh, owner of Mac's Taxidermy and Freeze-Dry, who specializes in freeze-drying and preserving dead pets. Most people definitely find the idea of having Fluffy stuffed and sitting in the living room totally macabre, but Finkel says the human-pet bond is extremely strong, and people have different ways of handling the loss (including sleeping with their stuffed pet). "People are just just doing what offers them comfort," she says. "A lot of Mike's customers feel they've cheated death in some way."

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While McCullogh has been interviewed by several journalists in the past, he says Finkel is different because, "She wanted to know about the feeling side. Yes, it's a crazy thing, but she's not interested in sensationalism. She's open minded about this, and I am, too."

Earlier: Knut The Polar Bear To Be Stuffed And Put On Display; Outcry Ensues

Image via Lee O'Dell/Shutterstock.

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victoria-woodhull-old
victoria woodhull

About 6 months ago my husband came home from work one evening to find our sweet kitty suddenly and unexpectedly dead (I was still at work). I immediately left work to meet him at the vet clinic and when I got there they brought kitty out so I could say goodbye. I briefly stroked his big fluffy tuxedo coon tail and was immediately struck by how stiff and not like my cat he felt (which of course made me cry harder). So while I understand different strokes for different folks, I personally can't imagine getting any comfort from a stuffed and alien-feeling version of one's pet. Great, now I have the sniffles at work. If there was a Guinness Book of World Record for how many times someone has bawled about their pet at work, I would be a top contender.