Amongst many of the wonderful queries that pop in to my inbox on a weekly basis, by far the most common question is “Will you taxidermy my pet?”

In this blog, I am going to be telling you the reasons why I don’t accept pet taxidermy commissions.

I don’t expect that many pet owners have considered getting their beloved companion preserved until the day they cross the rainbow bridge to heaven…but the the unbearable thought of living without them when the inevitable happens, does make taxidermy a very viable option for having a pet that is eternally by your side.

While the idea of having a forever pet sounds idyllic, the majority of people that enquire about this possibility, do so the very day their pet has departed, which is understandably a very emotional time. You may even be in that very difficult situation now which has lead you to being here, in which case my sincere condolences go out to you.

Having lost pets in the past, I have an understanding of the emotions you are going through right now and they are very painful ones indeed, but I am here to assure you that taxidermy will not heal your wounds and the hole left in your heart, but time will.

The emotional bond between a pet owner and their animal is unlike any other. They know every single detail, characteristic and quirk of their pet and this is part of the reason why there is just so much pressure and responsibility involved with such a project. I predominately work with wild animals in my craft, specialising in birds, but for comparison purposes for the following example, I’m going to be using the European Stoat.

Each one is practically identical in appearance and it’s very hard to distinguish an individual from another (all the reference images on google could be an image of the same individual!), unless they have a biological mutation or genetic colour quirk. When one lands upon my workshop table, I already have an expectation of what it’s going to be like to process, what the anatomical structure should look like and how I’m going to recreate it, what eye size they require, how they move in the field, what their biology and ecology is like, (being a self confessed nature nerd!) and how I am going to portray the essence and character of their living existence, in to an eternal one.

Where, fundamentally the actual technical process would be the same as any other animal I take on, albeit with a higher degree of meticulousness, you can hopefully begin to understand how the very individual nature of pets can leave me in very uncharted territory when it comes to preserving them.

Even with a thousand photos, I have no previous experience or understanding of how this animal lived, what it’s character, essence or that ‘je ne sais quoi’ for a better term, is. It would be impossible and very naive of me to try and re-create it, (unless I lived in your house along side him/her for many years!). For this reason, it is my humble opinion that not even the best taxidermist in the world will be capable of representing your pet to the degree in which you remembered them by. This is something to take in to serious consideration when deciding on the preservation of your pet and wether is the right decision for you.

With taxidermy being such an organic process, there are situations out of my control that can go wrong, such as ‘fur slip’, which as a part of the decomposition process in which enzymes catalyse the epidermis to separate from the dermis, leaving the skin completely hairless. This irreversible occurrence is particularly prevalent, but not limited to, smaller animals and certain species, which would result in the project being a failure.

I am proud to put my absolute all in to every project I work on, I will not let anything leave my workshop without myself or my customer being happy. If I do not have the ability to make a piece of work my absolute best, especially with animals that hold so much visual emotion such as cats and dogs, I will absolutely hold my hands up and admit that.