There is a fine line between loving one’s pets and becoming obsessed. Carrying a pet’s picture in a wallet or purse, for example, is perfectly normal. Forcibly showing such pictures to strangers on airplanes is not. Sleeping in the same bed as your animal is quite natural. Indeed, cuddling up with a critter is one of the best things about pet ownership. However, having a king-sized, four-poster bed custom-made for your pet and outfitting it with pink satin sheets (think Liberace) is definitely a little spooky.
Nowhere is the delicate balance between love and obsession more evident then when a pet passes away. Clearly, animals are family members, and most pet owners desire a dignified resting place for their animal pals. This is both reasonable and healthy. Some folks, however, take the desire to enshrine their furry friends just a bit too far.
At www.foreverpets.com, for example, one finds a stunning collection of outrageous pet memorials. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to keep a brass urn shaped like a miniature fire hydrant or a giant chrome-plated doggie bone on their living room mantle.
Of course, dogs are not the only creatures who can be enshrined with the help of foreverpets. For a mere $124.95, you can purchase a solid hardwood cremation urn, replete with a custom-engraved brass plaque, topped by a small ceramic figurine of an iguana, a rabbit, a parakeet, ferret, snake or almost any other creature ever kept by man. If you’ve got a dead organism, by golly, foreverpets will burn it for you and stick it in a box with a little statuette on top.
Next, why not dash over to Summum Mummification at www.summum.org/mummification. Once purely the province of kings and queens, the ancient Egyptian religious ritual is back, and once again, it’s an option for the family pet.
Here’s how it works: The body of the recently deceased animal is flown to Summum’s facilities in Salt Lake City where it is bathed and cleansed. The organs are removed and thoroughly cleaned (no one likes dirty organs), then placed back inside the body. The remains are then immersed in a special preserving solution. Once fully saturated, the carcass is removed from the immersion basin and cleansed again. Several layers of cotton gauze are wrapped around the body, then a polyurethane membrane and layers of fiberglass are applied over the gauze. (One wonders how polyurethane and fiberglass became part of the ancient mummification ritual, but who are we to quibble?). The body is encased in either a bronze or stainless steel mummiform, and rubber resin is pumped inside. The piece is returned to the family for display in a mausoleum, a garden setting, or perhaps a rec room. The finished products are actually quite sleek and lovely, assuming one can forget that there is a beloved, albeit dead, creature underneath all that highly polished metal. Prices start at a mere $14,000 per pet.
Lastly, for those who just can’t let go, there is www.alcor.org. Yes, for only $2,465.35 per annum, the good scientists at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation will freeze your departed pet until modern science finds a cure for whatever killed the poor beast in the first place. Of course, it is difficult to imagine modern science figuring out the cure for getting run over by a car, but one never knows what the future may hold.
Here’s a novel idea. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on silliness like mummification or suspended animation, why not donate the money to a local animal shelter in the name of the pet you lost? Trust me, Spot and Sheba would have wanted it that way.