Freeze Dried Pets, Bereaved Owners Hold Onto Cherished Memories (PICTURES)

Freeze Dried Cat

First Posted: 10/02/2012 15:54 Updated: 10/02/2012 16:12

They may seem bright-eyed and bushy tailed, but these pets are in fact all dead.

Using space age technology, these moggies and pooches have been frozen to minus nine degrees (celsius) and had all the moisture vacuumed out of them.

Bereaved pet owners are paying up to £2,500 and waiting up to seven months while their dog, cat or even rabbit goes through the freeze drying process in a sealed vacuum chamber.

Growing in popularity across the world, pet freeze dryers even restore chronically ill pets to their former living glory using expert grooming techniques and old photos of the loved pet.

"It is a very emotional thing for pet owners, they don't want to bury or cremate their beloved animal and they want them to still be around," said Anthony Eddy, 63, who owns Anthony Eddy's Wildlife Studio or AEWS in Missouri.

"They want to have their pet around and the majority of our customers are old and have had their pet for a long time and the bond between them is strong.

"I do accept that some people will find it weird, but it is growing in acceptance and what we do is a fine art.

"Most of these animals are old too and have died of cancer or another debilitating illness and when we receive them they do not look their best.

"We ask the owners for pictures of them as they would like to remember the pet and using silicone and stylings we can fill out thin rib cages, legs, faces and restore a lustre to the animal."

Anyone who contacts AEWS is given strict instructions on what to do when their pet finally dies.

"We ask all our customers to put their pet in a freezer within 48 hours of its death," said Anthony.

"We then ask them to priority Fed-Ex or UPS the body to us, we have an arrangement with these companies and they know what they are transporting to us.

"We have been freeze drying pets for 20 years and take customers from 48 states and even from Canada."

Operating 14 freeze drying chambers in total including one large ten foot long one, Anthony estimates that at any one time there are 40 pets undergoing the process in his Missouri offices.

"It is a very slow process freeze drying," said Anthony.

"The chamber operates at minus nine degrees (celsius) and over the period of up to six months the frozen moisture is slowly converted to a gaseous state and then extracted.

"The larger the animal the larger the amount of moisture.

"We remove all the internal organs and fat from the insides of the pets and replace their eyes with glass.

"We check the weight every two weeks and if the weight of the animal has not decreased after a two week gap then we know there is no more moisture left.

"The animal is then freeze dried, just like the food they give to astronauts."

Using metal rods to put the animals into poses, Anthony and his family run business are keen to promote the craft in their art.

"We are very proud of this service," said Anthony.

"Unfortunately sometimes because the process takes so long the owner who is elderly dies during the vacuuming. I keep these pets and show potential customers how beautiful their pets will look like."



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Filed by Sara C Nelson  |