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Gallery: Freeze-Dried Pets

Freeze-Dried Dog

A freeze-dried preserved schnauzer.

(Image credit: Mike McCullough, Mac's Taxidermy)

A pet schnauzer preserved with a freeze-drying technique at Mac's Taxidermy in Fort Loudon, Penn.

Freeze-Dried Dalmatian

A freeze-dried Dalmatian appears to be sleeping.

(Image credit: Mike McCullough, Mac's Taxidermy)

Most taxidermist recommend a closed-eye "sleeping" pose for preserved pets.

Freeze-Dried Pet

A freeze-dried gray dog in the taxidermy shop.

(Image credit: Mike McCullough, Mac's Taxidermy)

The freeze-drying process can take up to a year for large animals.

Small Dog

A small pekingese dog freeze-dried.

(Image credit: Mike McCullough, Mac's Taxidermy)

Only a handful of taxidermy shops freeze-dry pets, so owners ship animals from across the country.

Amigo the Yorkie

A small freeze-dried yorkie in a standing pose.

(Image credit: Cathy Huntley, Freeze Dry By Cathy)

Freeze-dried by Cathy Huntley, "Amigo" the Yorkie is posed standing.

Yorkie Profile

A profile of Amigo the freeze-dried Yorkie.

(Image credit: Cathy Huntley, Freeze Dry By Cathy)

Glass eyes create a lifelike appearance. Some owners opt for custom-painted eyes to match the shade of their pet's eyes in life.

Freeze-Dried Yorkie

Amigo the freeze-dried Yorkie in profile.

(Image credit: Cathy Huntley, Freeze Dry By Cathy)

Even small animals take a long time to freeze-dry; A 10-pound cat, for example, might take about 6 months.

Yorkie Pose

Amigo the freeze-dried Yorkie in profile.

(Image credit: Cathy Huntley, Freeze Dry By Cathy)

Some owners choose freeze-drying so they can keep their pet nearby. Others want to save the animal so that it can be buried with them when they die.

Mike McCullough

Mike McCullough with bulldog Katie.

(Image credit: Mike McCullough, Mac's Taxidermy)

Mike McCullough, owner of Mac's Taxidermy, with his (living) bulldog Katie. McCullough says he has no intention of freeze-drying Katie after her death.

Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.