I am a great believer that family extends beyond the boundaries of blood. I know that adoptees, in-laws and Stockholm sufferers are all capable of loving me just as hard as a real relative, but I have always been distrustful of a pet's affection. Dogs and cats it seems, are faithful not because of fondness but because of dependence. If you disagree, consider how quickly a dog or cat will eat you when it runs out of other food options. The name "pet-owner" itself should denote the exact nature of the relationship, and yet there are animal lovers who insist on calling themselves the pet's mommy or daddy, confusing the whole agreement between species. Though I disagree with the bond, it also makes for some hilariously misguided grief tools once that pet dies.
Funeral homes know that mourning has roughly the same judgment-impairing effect as 12 shots of plastic-bottled vodka; anyone in the business of sending off the dead can make a fortune through rituals and ceremony. It makes sense then, with all the socially incompatible men and barren women out there who equate losing a cat to losing a child, that there's a lot of absurd money to be made through pet loss. So, with the wrong half of an audience now alienated, let's get to work.
For people who can't stand to part with the corpse of a pet but lack the freezer room to keep it, there is perpetualpet.net. The service will taxidermy your cats and dogs in the frozen position you remember them most fondly.
If I had to pick the craziest part of this freeze-dried dog, I would say it was the placement of the headphones.
Judging by the gallery, most people chose to stuff their animals in the sleeping positions, since dogs are at their sweetest when they're tired and sleeping is the only thing cats ever do. The site makes no mention of whether or not they'd be willing to stuff your pet in an attack position, which is a shame because I could imagine that would be helpful in warding off intruders and a real hit when I pretend it's eating me at parties.
Ultimately, freeze-drying your pet ensures that it will sit quietly in the corner of your apartment for eternity, something it refused to do for even five minutes while it was alive. At last, you'll never have to worry about urine soaked carpets, or shredded furniture, or incessant barking at absolutely nothing. Death and Perpetual Pet have distilled all best qualities of your animal: adorableness and the reflection of your own projected love shining back through shiny plastic eyes.
If you're concerned about the tastelessness of a freeze-dried pet, but you're also still suffering through delusions of permanence, you can always burn your cat and cram the ashes in a ball painted like its head. The painted kitty cat urn from custompeturns.com cremates your animal and then stores the remains in an urn resembling your pet's unblinking face. Each urn also features a nondescript wire tail and two pendulous balls I'm assuming are supposed to be paws to keep it from rolling off the mantle.
I like chicken! I like living!
Before you just assume that's terrifying without any background information about the company, let me assure you that it is. The faces are hand-painted based on a picture of your pet to guarantee that it looks just enough like the decapitated head of your cat sitting on the nightstand when you wake up in the morning. Also, trying to capture the life of an animal in painted eyes is something humanity hasn't mastered yet, so the stare looks more dead than the ashes inside it.
One of humanity's great achievements was the domestication of wild animals. We pulled our pets from nature, curbed their savage instincts with love and taught them tricks. As a pet owner, you worked hard to make your pet more human, and just because it died doesn't mean you're going to let nature get its filthy hands on that parrot again. Good news, you can buy an airtight, water tight pet coffin that withstands 1200 pounds of pressure. The Eternal Series Pet Casket/Vault on petsinrememberance.com will guarantee that the natural cycle never gets to use your favorite animal. The casket even comes with a pillow inside for your pet's weary head and decorative pallbearer bars on the side, to confuse the aliens sifting through the remains of our planet centuries from now into thinking your bird was pretty goddamn important.
"They wanted us to find this for a reason."
I have a hard time deciding if the most unnerving part of the petsinrememberance website is the guide to measuring your live pet for a coffin or the list of suggested animals to stuff in one of these boxes. Of course birds, cats and dogs are all on the list, but so are spider monkeys, sugar gliders and squirrels. If you need to bury your pet squirrel in a casket that's clearly designed for an infant then you have bigger problems to contend with than closure.