An Australian taxidermy firm has recently divided opinion by posting a video of what is proving to be a controversial piece to their Instagram. Chimera Taxidermy, based in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, recently posted the footage of a pet golden retriever that, after passing away, had been fashioned into an ornamental rug at the request of its family.
The caption on the video read: “Beautiful old golden retriever preserved as a pelt for his family.
“Finally ready to head home.”
Having been in the industry for over ten years, the firm (which now specialises in pet preservation) offers “an alternative pet memorial” on its website, “whether that be full taxidermy, skull preservation or pelt tanning.”
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, business owner Madeleine said: “Pet taxidermy has only really become more popular in the last five years or so, so it’s a very new thing to see for most people.
“Some are more of a sentimental keepsake, others are on display resting in their beds or however their owners wanted them preserved,” she said, in reference to the pelts.
She went on to say: “Most of the requests I get are for full taxidermy mounts.
“Pelt preservation is less commonly asked for, but I still do quite a few pelts.”
However, she also acknowledged that pet taxidermy is “definitely not for everyone” and that she “absolutely respects that.”
It’s not just dogs that they work with, as Chimera Taxidermy’s other recent pieces have included a European raven mounted on some driftwood, an English guinea pig and a rex guinea pig, and a one-eyed winged fox – “made from a vixen fox and rooster wings, with a mossy forest floor base.”
“I’ve been asked to preserve pet cats, dogs, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, pretty much any pet you can think of”, Madeleine added.
The golden retrieved rug has proved controversial to some social media users, with one Instagram user commenting: “Super cute, never seen pets preserved as pelts before.”
Another stated: “I’m so glad more people are doing this now.”
However, one Facebook user commented on the footage: “This is pretty gross, but so is all taxidermy.”
Others took more of an ambivalent stance, with another Facebook user choosing to comment: “Strange to me, but whatever helps people cope.”
According to NatSCA (Natural Sciences Collections Association): “Taxidermy is a fundamental technique for preserving vertebrate animal remains.
“Essentially, it’s a method of preserving elements of an animal for study or display after the animal has died.
“Many people first see examples of taxidermy whilst visiting natural history museums and marvelling at the lifelike results of top Victorian and Edwardian taxidermists like Rowland Ward or Edward Gerrard & Sons, but the technique encompasses far more than the diorama we see in traditional displays in museums and stately homes.”
Madeleine, who began working in Taxidermy when she was 18, has also talked about the challenges of working with people’s beloved pets, saying: “It’s sometimes difficult working with pets compared to other animals.
“But it’s more rewarding to be able to help people with their grief and allow them to keep a part of their pet forever.”