KANSAS CITY, Mo - Tim Drottz of Kansas City was 19-years-old when he got his beloved Chihuahua named Maggie Moo.
After having her for 15 great years, she passed away and Tim could not imagine cremating Maggie Moo or burying her, so he decided on the option of freeze-drying a pet.
Maggie Moo is now forever curled up inside her doggie bed with her tongue sticking out.
Tim doesn't mind if critics think the process is strange and stands by his decision. "It's not a trophy or object," he said. "This dog has taught me so much."
Preserving a pet through freeze-drying is an option seeing more interest from pet lovers.
In the small town of Slater, Mo., sits one of the largest freeze-dry operations in the country. Anthony Eddy's Wildlife Studio has about a dozen freeze-dryers.
Over the course of several months, the freeze-dryers will slowly vacuum water from a dead animal so the pet can never decay. Unlike taxidermy, no molds are used.
"Many of our customers are repeat customers," Anthony Eddy said. "We've freeze dried as high as three to four pets for one person."
It can take take six months or longer before an animal is returned to their owner. During that time, some pet owners even send cards to their deceased pets.
Office manager Lessi Calvert takes the cards seriously and makes sure the deceased pets hear from their owner. "So when they send the card or letter.. I know this sounds silly, but I do read the cards or letter to the pet," Calvert said.
Freeze-drying a pet is not cheap. It can cost more than $800 to freeze-dry a small pet.