Taxidermy lets owners keep pets forever -

Taxidermy lets owners keep pets forever

How would you handle the death of a cherished pet?

It's a tough question for many.

One unique way some grieving pet owners are finding comfort is to have their pet preserved, forever.

One family has made a business out of pet preservation, turning our four-legged best friends into best friends forever.

In a modest workshop in Romance, Arkansas, the walls of Xtreme Taxidermy are lined with wild stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes.

When we stopped by, taxidermist Daniel Ross was putting the finishing touches on a freeze-dried family pet.

"I've got to do a little epoxy work around the eyes and paint the nose and just groom them," he said.

Ross helps heal the broken hearts of grieving pet owners through pet preservation. He says "it's a totally different method than traditional taxidermy."

After extracting the animals' organs and eyes, Ross uses wires to place the animals in lifelike positions and then places them into a special freeze dryer to draw out all the moisture.

"The key is drying it really slow so you don't have shrinkage problems," he said.

For instance, a 62-pound dog named "Chevy" took five months to dry out.

"The customers can still pet them and look at them, whatever they want to do," he said.

Ross has freezers full of works in progress including a cat, a bird and even a pet turtle.

"As a matter of fact, we can actually make them look better a lot of times than they did when they died," he said.

Some clients drive more than 1,000 miles to the tiny town of Romance because Xtreme Taxidermy is one of the few pet preservationists in the country. And Ross is passionate about his work.

"There's definitely artwork to it," he said. "It's not something that just anybody could do."

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow