You've Lost a Pet...
All pets and pet guardians are treated with utmost respect and kindness throughout the preservation process at Precious Creature Taxidermy. We understand that losing a pet can be a devastating loss to one's family and home. Allowing us to preserve your pet by means of traditional taxidermy, bone cleaning, or cremation may soothe the pain that comes with a pet's departure over the Rainbow Bridge. With pet preservation, you will be able to enjoy and capture the memory of your pet for a lifetime. As soon as you are interested in Precious Creature Taxidermy and Aftercare services, it is important that you give us a call, email, or text to receive a cost estimate, schedule pick up, drop off, or to discuss shipping arrangements for your pet.
Sometimes the loss of a pet can come unexpectedly and other times, we know their passing is imminent. This can be a stressful time in either case and there is no reason to make any hasty decisions regarding your pet's aftercare. Upon your pet's passing, whether it happens at your vet's office or at home, it is only important that your pet be placed in a standard freezer promptly. Your vet will know what to do in the case of your pet passing at his or her office. If at home, or if you wish to immediately bring your pet home with you, simply wrap your pet in a towel or his or her favorite blanket and seal in a plastic bag to prepare him or her. There is no need to bathe or groom your pet as this is part of the preservation process that we will take care of for you.
There are a variety of options for pet aftercare that you may or may not know about. Some pet parents may want "the works" for their pet while some only wish for a simple and concise way to honor their loved one. Any combination of these services are available to you and your pet. For example, these options include and are not limited to:
- Full, lifesize taxidermy; traditional
- Full, lifesize taxidermy; soft mount
- Coat preservation; just the soft hide is returned
- Private cremation
- Complete skeletal cleaning
- Skull cleaning
- Partial taxidermy; tail or paw preservation
- Custom jewelry
- Paw and nose print impression pieces
- And more - if you have a special idea for your precious creature's aftercare, just ask!
Pricing of pet preservation work is determined on a pet to pet basis. Pricing is determined by size and weight of pet and whether your pet is of a furred or hairless variety. All pets require a 50% deposit of their estimated cost of preservation at time of receiving unless otherwise discussed. We DO offer payment plans to suit a variety of budgets. Please email us to receive a price list for your pet's specific species and size.
Precious Creature Taxidermy is located in San Bernardino County, in the heart of Southern California. We drive to pick up pets within a reasonable radius within the region, gladly serving San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, and Orange Counties. If you are more comfortable with bringing your pet to our in-home studio in person, this is encouraged and also gives pet guardians a little extra time to say goodbye. We take pride in providing a comforting atmosphere in which to pass your loved one into our care.
Shipping Your Pet: For long distance or out-of-state pets, contact us in order to set up an appropriate delivery date in association with your chosen mail carrier. We highly recommend FedEx's and UPS's overnight to two-day services for pets that are to receive taxidermy services. If you are only interested in bone cleaning and/or cremation services, two-four day business day shipping is suitable. In this case you can use USPS's Priority Mail. ALWAYS ship pets on a Monday or Tuesday to ensure that the package doesn't get stuck somewhere over a Sunday or holiday.
To pack a pet for long distance shipping, you will need:
- an appropriately sized foam cooler/ice chest (smaller = lesser postage costs)
- a few ice packs or dry ice
- a storage type baggy to place your pet into to prevent excess moisture on or around your pet
- photos of your pet for the preservation process
- cardboard box to envelop the foam cooler and to address the package
When postage is paid, your postal service will give you a tracking number so that we will be able to see where your pet is and to ensure their timely arrival. Upon arrival, we will let you know via email, text, or phone call.
All pets under our care receive custom sculpted and cast forms that capture the exactness of your pet's subtleties. We use modern and quality methods to preserve your pet and to ensure that your pet's memory is able to last a lifetime. Did your pet have a funny way he slept? Did she have a favorite toy or treat? Do you have a heartwarming story about the relationship you shared? These are aspects we use to recreate your pet the way you remember them by highlighting what made your pet special and one of a kind. It will be important to provide plenty of pictures of your pet and preferably in the pose you wish to see in the final reworking.
FOR TAXIDERMY SERVICES: Some pets can take quite some time to be finished, as our pet work is never rushed and lots of pets are receiving the same special care as your own. For medium pets, such as small dogs, cats and large rabbits, expect a wait time of around six to twelve months for completion. For smaller pets such as rats, and chinchillas, a common turn around time is around two-three months.
FOR BONE CLEANING AND CREMATION SERVICES: Bone cleaning and cremation services take much less time to complete. A common turn around time for skull cleaning and cremation for example, will be around one to two months. Full skeletal cleaning however, is subject to longer wait times, similar to our pet taxidermy services.
We will keep you updated throughout the entire process from your pet's arrival, beginning, middle, finishing and their completion. If you wish, we may send respectful photos at your request. Some pet parents miss their babies so much that they stop by to say hello - this is fine too. We strive to make this a healing and positive experience for you in whatever way you choose to honor your Precious Creature.
In addition to any skull cleaning and/or taxidermy preservation, you may wish to have your pet's cremated remains returned to you. We proudly work with Sorrento Valley Pet Cemetery and Crematory located in San Diego, California. Options for cremation include private cremation, in which your pet is cremated alone in the chamber and all remains returned are guaranteed to be your pet's and only your pet's. The second option is for a communal cremation in which a few pets are cremated together. These remains are then spread in a beautiful scatter garden at the SVPC grounds.
Private cremations include a beautiful bamboo or cedar urn with heart lock and keys and an engraved metal nameplate with your pet's name. Within, you will find your pet's cremated remains which can easily be moved for scattering or other memorial ceremonies if you so choose.
While Waiting For Your Pet...
It is important to mourn the loss of your friend. Mourning and grief come in many different forms, some which others may not understand; this is okay and important to remember during this time as each person mourns differently. No one person can tell you how to cope with the loss of your pet. It is a sensitive thing that must be tended to with your own heart and soul. Keep in mind that the aftershocks of losing a pet can be just as devastating as losing a human family member to those affected. Here are a list of activities and actions you can take to ease the pain of loss, to honor, and to celebrate your pet.
- Paint or draw your pet: taking up a creative activity can be soothing for your overworked mind. Create a watercolor portrait of your pet or go big and paint a masterpiece on canvas of him or her to hang in your living room or bedroom.
- Light a memorial candle: Any candle will do. A nice idea is to buckle or wrap your pet's collar around a glass-enclosed candle. Light, and enjoy your pet's candlelit warmth.
- Make an ID tag charm bracelet, necklace, or keychain: Use your pet's ID tag as a lasting memento of their life. This is a great way to keep your pet close to you while you are at work or on the go. Simply hang from a chain, or string onto a colorful beaded bracelet.
- Plant a tree or another plant in your pet's honor: Spending time outdoors and planting a special tree or plant can be a therapeutic act. These can be decorated for holidays and tended to like you would have for your pet, watering and making sure your new plant gets plenty of sun and shade (depending on the species of plant of course). If you live in an apartment or are likely to move, plant your small tree in a portable pot so it can be moved with you.
- Reach out to others: Google local pet loss support groups or simply get coffee or tea with a friend who is willing to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on.
- Have a funeral or wake: Don't feel silly if you feel the need or have the desire to host a formal or informal funeral for your pet. This can be as simple or as extravagant as you choose. Pet cemeteries offer full service funerals for pets big and small. You may find that a more lax ceremony is more your cup of tea; invite friends and family for a potluck in honor of your pet. Here, stories of your loved one can be shared with all those involved. It can feel liberating to celebrate your pet's life in this way.
- Create a Memory Box: This can be a shadow box for display or a more personal and intimate chest that can be put away; especially if you find that having your pet's things out causes too much sadness. A memory box serves to keep a pet's physical things and memories safe and kept in a special place. Items that you might place in your display or chest might be a favorite toy, his or her collar, photos, etc.
- Work through grief, celebrate, and record memories of your pet with "My Pet Remembrance Journal": Author Enid Traisman leaves no stone unturned in this interactive journal and what I like to call, "mini therapist." It can be found on Amazon and is around $10.
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter, rescue, wildlife rehabilitation center, zoo, or aviary: For some people, being around other animals is the best medicine. And, in this way, you can focus your love and attention on animals in need in honor of your lost pet. Consider a foster program too; it could be comforting to have another animal in your home.
- When you feel ready, consider adopting a new pet: This part can come as soon or as distant in time as you want. Never feel like you are trying to "replace" your pet with a new one. No pet could ever be the same as your beloved friend over the Rainbow Bridge. More so, adopting a new pet in honor of a lost one can greatly ease the pain of loss by redirecting your energy into another pet in need. And, in no time, you'll have a new friend to make memories with.
Here, you can see examples of completed pet preservation and aftercare work, each pet telling a unique story all their own.