SLATER, MO. - Whether it is a large dog, a fat cat or even a chatty bird, the family pet can stay with their owners for eternity.
It may not be for everybody, but for those who wish to keep man's best friend at their side forever a central Missouri company has made a business out of it.
"You get attached to the darn things, and I think everybody that has a pet can identify with that," said Anthony Eddy who started freeze drying pets after a friend's request.
His company, Eddy's Wildlife Studio, does close to 120 pet preservations a year. Eddy admits it can be a difficult business.
"You have to have the right individuals working for you. It is much like bring a mortician. You not only preserve the body, but you deal with the grieving and comforting the family," he said.
However, his skill is not taxidermy - it is actually freeze drying the entire pet minus a few organs and body fat.
"The actual animal, muscle, bone, tissue, facial features and everything are still there, so you get the identity of that pet back," Eddy explained.
He realizes that some may find the process distasteful.
"It's not for everybody, but for those that wish that, we provide the service," he said.
There are just a handful of operations that do it nationally. Some say it is a little spooky while others are amazed just how real their passed-on pet looks.
"Some people just call us and thank us that we provide this service. In fact, we've had calls from Israel and Japan," Eddy said. "It's not unusual to see people weep again. That is an indication that you've done a good job."
The studio's 15 freeze dryers run up to $40,000 each and cost about $5,000 a month in electricity. Eddy says freeze drying pets is starting to become a worldwide sensation.
But freeze drying someone's pet is not a short process. Sometimes it takes between eight months to a year to freeze the animal, depending on size.
Eddy says his studio is currently back logged about two months, and the cost to freeze dry a pet starts around $850.