"As a little kid I loved stuffed animals, and what's better [than] to have your beloved cat as a stuffed animal?" she said. "I just thought for me it was the perfect solution to what to do with my most beloved friend in the whole world."
Death With Dignity
Before word spread of his freeze-drying business, McCullough was struggling to pay his bills. But then the media heard of it, and he was featured in newspapers from San Francisco to Bangkok, Thailand. Now he is a local celebrity, and has more business than he can handle. While most taxidermists work two jobs to make ends meet, McCullough is now getting offers to franchise his freeze-drying operation.
Freeze-drying is less invasive than traditional taxidermy, in which an animal's hide is skinned from its body and stretched over a plastic mold. However, many people regard it as morbid.
McCullough disagrees. "Is this less dignifying than putting them in the ground? Or cremation? … I don't think it is," he said.
Kasner said that seeing Dakary preserved the way she had looked in life was a comfort to him: "I think it — for people like me — almost puts me at peace."
Interest From Two-Legged Creatures
McCullough admits that by freeze-drying pets, a certain line has been crossed. But he believes it's just the beginning, and that one day humans might be freeze-dried too. He says he has already had at least one inquiry from a would-be customer interested in being preserved after death.
McCullough is looking to the future.
"Let's look at it as the guy that wants to be freeze-dried and buried just so he doesn't deteriorate. … I mean, they can dig you up 100 years from now and you're going to be fine."