Rural Missouri - February 2013 - (Page 8)

A LASTING TRIBUTE Slater taxidermy studio helps pet owners memorialize their loved ones using freeze-dry technology The reception area at Anthony Eddy’s Wildlife Studio is filled with freeze-dried pets waiting for their owners to pick them up. The business has offered the service since 1989. J by Jason Jenkins jjenkins@ruralmissouri.coop udy and Howard “Buddy” Wilder have owned many dogs over the years, but none has ever touched their hearts as deeply as their beloved Sally. The little schnauzer, who they rescued from an abusive situation, wasn’t perfect. Sally had cataracts. She had abdominal issues due to delivering many litters of pups. But Sally also had a heart full of love she had waited a lifetime to give someone. “From the day we brought her home, that dog was almost human,” says Judy, who lives with Buddy south of Stover along the Lake of the Ozarks’ Ivy Bend. “She knew she was finally loved, and she loved us back.” Sally would live with the Wilders for almost two years before her health problems necessitated that she be put to sleep — the toughest decision any pet owner must make. The couple just wasn’t ready to say goodbye. “I told Buddy I wanted to take her to Slater,” Judy says, wiping away tears as she relives the grief and pain of that spring day in 2005. “I wanted to go see Anthony.” For nearly 25 years, taxidermist Anthony Eddy has offered pet owners an alternative to cremation or burial for their loved ones. At his wildlife studio on Slater’s Main Street, he uses freeze-dry technology to preserve deceased cats, dogs and other pets according to their owners’ wishes. 8 “There’s only about four or five of us in the United States who are really into it very big, and we’re probably the biggest,” says Anthony, 64, who became a full-time taxidermist in the 1980s after careers in farming, teaching and the Air Force. “When the economy tightened up and our other taxidermy business slowed down, the pets continued to come in. “Now, they’re definitely the focal point for the business.” Freeze-drying is a process used in many industries to preserve perishable items. When water is removed from an item in this method, it becomes stable at room temperature without fear of decay or changes to its original form or shape. The process is commonly used to preserve food, flowers and medicines. Anthony purchased his first freeze dryer in 1986 for use in his taxidermy business. While tanning an animal’s hide and mounting it on a mannequin is the most common means of preserving deer and other large trophy game animals, this process doesn’t Judy and Howard “Buddy” Wilder of Stover opted to freeze-dry their schnauzer, Sally, foreground, in 2005. Judy says the couple has never regretted the decision. WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP work as well for other species. The freeze dryer offers a distinct advantage for taxidermy. Instead of being restricted to a few pre-made mannequins, taxidermists can position smaller animals, such as squirrels and rabbits, in an infinite number of poses — allowing them to be more creative with their work. Often freezedrying produces a superior product, such as in the case of freeze-dried turkey heads, an area in which Anthony’s business thrived. Freeze dryers are expensive, and as word spread that Anthony had the equipment, he soon was freeze-drying animals and supplying turkey heads to other taxidermists who mounted trophy wild turkeys. At one point, the business was freeze-drying 8,000 turkey heads a year. In 1989, a client asked Anthony if he could freeze-dry a pet dog that had died. He offered to try, and the experiment was a success. Word of the new service slowly spread. “When I started in 1996, if we did six pets a year, that was good,” says Lessie “Les” Thurman Calvert, who says they’ve preserved pets for clients from every state and Canada. “Now, we’re doing 100 to 125 pets a year, and it’s getting bigger and bigger all the time.” Cats and dogs are the most commonly freeze-dried pets, but Anthony’s staff uses the technique to preserve pet birds, such as cockatiels, parrots and macaws; reptiles, including snakes, alligators, iguanas and other http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2013

Rural Missouri - February 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
A lasting tribute
Preparing for the worst
Whittling wildlife
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Our history with Missouri’s future leaders
Hearth and Home
The cowboy way of life
Co-ops care
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - February 2013

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