Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reality TV, Animal Style

Today I got caught up on some shows I had taped for later. The first is a show on Animal Planet called "American Stuffers".

American Stuffers is a reality show that takes place in a taxidermy shop. The catch? They also specialize in "Pet Preservation". Here is the info from their Animal Planet site: http://animal.discovery.com/tv/american-stuffers/
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I have to admit on first glance I was kind of horrified. The pet preservation is accomplished through a process of freeze drying. Traditional taxidermy is when the hide of the animal is treated and put over a pre-made form of the animal in question. Think styrofoam shape wearing the animals skin. You can't buy forms for pets as there is to much variety of body shapes involved. I am familiar with taxidermy because my husband co-owns a game processing shop. This means during hunting season he cuts up deer, moose and bear for hunters. Hides and heads sometimes get sent to be mounted. We also have a few trophies on our own wall. (I long for the day we have a house with a den they can go into.) I have even watched a step by step video on how taxidermy is done. So I admit I am not the average viewer for this show.
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I watched the first 2 episodes. Aside from the owner (Daniel) and his staff, (Fred and Joseph ) they also have an intern that is studying to be a veterinarian. (Dixie) I am impressed with the owners demeanor at handling the pets and their owners. He is very respectful and caring about his job. I am surprised at how much they do show of the actual process. (Which might be to graphic for some viewers considering the subject.) They also show Daniel with his family and their home life which seems very normal and sweet. His wife LaDawn is a teacher and they met as high school sweethearts. Aside from the pet preservation they also show other taxidermy projects on the program.
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I will say that I can't imagine that I would never have my pet preserved in this way. If I did I certainly wouldn't chose any other pose than curled up and asleep. Some of the poses just look to creepy for my taste. However on further consideration I suppose grief is different for everyone. If someone needs to have the pet in a more physical form for them to keep then what harm is there? I do wonder if having the pet present like that might make it harder for the owner to move on tho. And is it disrespectful to the pet do you think? To keep the shell of who they were around as a keepsake? In that same vein wouldn't keeping the ashes then also be disrespectful?
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There are dead things everywhere in homes we don't think of as weird. Deer heads, moose heads, deer leg lamps, antler chandeliers, dried starfish, sand dollars and other various sea creatures used as decorations. However we never knew those animals on a personal level so I guess that is what makes it different. (tho when I see a starfish I see a dead creature which I don't think many people do)
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I find the show engaging in a way I didn't expect and I will probably watch more. My biggest complaint is the name of the show. They seriously couldn't come up with a better name? "American Stuffers" just seems , well tacky. What would you call it?
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The other show I watched is "My cat from Hell".


Here is the website info here: http://animal.discovery.com/tv/my-cat-from-hell/
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This show is much more viewer friendly. It is a reality show about a cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy as he helps clients with aggressive cats. I LOVE this show! Not only do the cats get the help they need to keep them in their home, he explains what he is doing and why. This show is a great resource for all cat owners, not just ones with problems. The key to solving behavior problems is to know about the behavior of the species in question first. Environment is also critical to solving some issues. I watched this last season as well. I think all cat owners should watch it.
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What animal shows do you watch and recommend, or dislike, and why?

1 comment:

jen@inubakablog said...

I had no idea how taxidermy was done... thinking about 'stuffing' one of our pet dogs?! ah. no.

my aunt's first husband, who passed on, did taxidermy and she kept a lot of his work. Rabbits and such. It's just so strange to me, but to each their own, I guess.