The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Nation/World

March 4, 2013

Taxidermist preserves man’s best friend

SLATER, Mo. — Growing up on the family farm, Anthony Eddy learned early on not to get too attached to animals, including household pets.

His devoted customers are a different story. Pet lovers across the country count on the Saline County taxidermist to faithfully preserve Brutus, Fluffy and other beloved companions for posterity. Even if it means shelling out thousands of dollars and waiting more than a year for the pets’ return.

“They’re very distraught, because their child has died. For most people, this animal is their life,” said Lessie “Les” Thurman Calvert, Eddy’s office manager. “Some are kind of eccentric. But most of them are just like you and me. They don’t want to bury or cremate them. They can’t stand the thought. ... It helps them feel better about the loss.”

The front showroom of Eddy’s Wildlife Studio in downtown Slater is a testament to pet owners’ perseverance. Lifelike dogs and cats of all sizes are scattered along the floor, from a perky-looking Brittany spaniel to a regal Persian cat, a lone iguana and the stray cockatiel or two. Departed pets of all persuasions spend up to one year in hulking, freeze-dry metal drums before they are painstakingly preserved and returned to their owners.

Eddy said his business is one of the few in the country to specialize in pet taxidermy and has a two-month waiting list.

A former high school chemistry and biology teacher, hog farmer and Air Force veteran, Eddy started out in traditional taxidermy, stuffing great horned owls and pheasants with the help of a local veterinarian. He originally used the freeze-dry technique to preserve mounted turkey heads for hunters before realizing in the mid-1990s it could also work with pets.

Eddy, 64, compares his line of work to the mortician’s trade. He’ll share broad details about the process with customers but likes to keep some mystery to the process and steer clear of the gross-out factor. He’s quick to embrace the artistry of his craft, especially when it comes to the primping and prepping required once the internal organs and body fat are removed and the carcass is fully dry. Depending on the customer’s preference, pets can be posed with a skyward gaze, an extended paw or with eyes closed, seemingly asleep.

The degree of difficulty — and the scrutiny of demanding pet owners — keep many traditional taxidermists from the domestic animal sector, said Steve Wolk, president of the National Taxidermists Association.

Eddy and Calvert estimate they receive two to three pets each week, every week. The studio charges $850 for pets under 10 pounds and $40 for each additional pound.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Documents detail another delayed GM recall for failed power steering

    DETROIT — General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims, according to government documents released ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Landslide devouring part of Wyoming town

    JACKSON, Wyo. — A slow-motion disaster continued unfolding in the Wyoming resort town of Jackson on Saturday, as a creeping landslide that split a hillside home threatened to swallow up more houses and businesses. The ground beneath the ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

    Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers. Samuel Rogers is a 20-year-old ...

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs....

    April 20, 2014

  • Hostage French journalists in Syria freed

    PARIS — Four French journalists held hostage in Syria for 10 months have been released, officials said Saturday, the latest batch of reporters to be freed in what has become the world’s deadliest conflict for the media....

    April 20, 2014

  • 13th body found in Everest avalanche

    KATMANDU, Nepal — Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides Another three guides remained ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Autopsy to ID dead boy; body cast off side of road

    WORCESTER, Mass. — All Massachusetts authorities could say for sure is that they found the lifeless body of a small boy, apparently cast off the side of a highway....

    April 20, 2014

  • Study: Half of jailed youths have injury

    NEW YORK — About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City’s jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that’s the latest in a growing body of ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Senate to debate rideshare regulations

    PHOENIX — Among the major issues left to cover at the Arizona Legislature before the session ends is how to regulate the increasingly popular ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft. The contentious debate has pitted traditional taxi ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Quake shakes Mexican capital

    ACAPULCO, Mexico — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties....

    April 19, 2014