Taxidermy is a scientific art, generally used by museums, to preserve animal species, extinct or not, for the studies and knowledge of future generations. This custom is not new to ordinary people, who tend to “stuff” (a term no longer used) animals already found dead, or even hunters and hunters.
However, recently, this work has also been sought by teachers who have lost pets and decided to choose to keep the pet’s memory in a different way – in addition to traditional burial and cremation.
Veterinarian Egon Jose Curse explains that the mummification process seeks to preserve the phenotypic characteristics of the pet who died, giving the teacher peace of mind in being able to see him even after death, as a way to remember the moments of joy they had together. “Others seek to preserve the history of the animal, such as a hero horse, a rare caught fish, or a wild and exotic animal, for example,” he asserts.
Egon, who owns a clinic that provides the service, says there are still a few teachers who choose to preserve dogs and cats through taxidermy, with cremation being more common. However, in recent years, this demand has increased significantly. “In the United States, there is more demand for this type of service, but we believe that this demand should increase in Brazil. It is a paradigm shift,” he says.
Search for a service
According to Egon Jose, about eight to ten dogs and cats are kept annually, with an average of 20 to 30 both wild and exotic. When the animal dies, the first advice that is given is for the owner to freeze the body, if he chooses to embalm.
In the past two years, there has been a significant increase in “I think the pandemic has brought pets closer to families.”
For him, a strong emotional factor is the reason for most of these searches. “A few days ago we delivered a parrot that has been with the family for 42 years,” he says.
What does psychology have to say?
According to clinical psychologist and chemist Osmarina Vyel, what is important is the emotional connection that a person has with an animal. The feeling of loss, in which the emotional bond is often more intense than the relationship with family members. Emotional exchange with a pet is free of conflict, rejection and judgment. This passivity awakens in a person unconditional love for the pet.
What can generate more or less pain at the time of loss is the time you spend together and how each one deals with the separation of emotional bonds throughout life. “Maintaining some kind of bond after the animal is gone depends on how much each one deals with the loss. They are always people who have some kind of turmoil on the emotional side, so they can’t be turned off easily. Creating rituals and honoring the pet can be a way to break the bond,” he explains. Osmarina.
According to her, the relationship established with the pet is associated not with the state of the animal, but with the human perception of it. “A person understands that he must give his best from a human point of view, and at this point, all kinds of relationships are appropriate, because it will depend on the emotional and emotional balance of the teacher,” says the chemist.
Psychology professor Claudia Lucia Menegati points out that we live in a time when animals are increasingly seen as members of the family, what experts call “interspecies families.” Which makes a person face the same difficulties in performing the rituals of burial of children.
Some people have the same difficulty saying goodbye to their pets and under the delusion that taxidermy techniques, for example, can somehow keep them alive. This refers to the difficulty of losing, and the grief of someone so loved and dear in that environment,” explains the psychology professor.
According to Claudia, when the guardian decides to keep the pet, he somehow shows difficulty in dealing with the loss, wishing he had some symbols, somehow to maintain his existence, and takes time to realize that he can only live with memories.
Not accepting loss or grief
The alchemist explains that in cases where the animal teacher has a very strong emotional attachment to the pet and wants to keep it there – even if it is a symbol – it may be not accepting mourning over issues of the teacher’s personal and emotional life: “Working on grief is always welcome, because through it he will be able to A person is able to understand other losses in his life. The presence of a pet often hides the frustrations and disappointments in life, and when he leaves, everything appears, and this is not always connected with the pet itself. “
For a psychiatrist, psychological support can help a person explain their losses and understand that the love deposited in the deceased pet belongs to them and the feeling can be directed to another situation, starting with the healing of their wounds.
Claudia Lucia emphasizes that intense emotional attachment often requires psychological support, because we live in periods of multispecies families, which makes this loss very painful.
“Complex grief can be expected or when a person performs a small double movement of grief, the person has part of the actions and two behaviors aimed at the loss and another part of regaining and communicating with life. Loss movements are connections with the pet’s memories, looking at images and being intensely exposed to pain. Which swings in recovery-oriented movements, which are based on the development of new activities, the enjoyment of moments of joy, the ability to carry out work and leisure activities”, details.
Osmerina sees the relationship with a pet as good for health, in addition, it helps to realize that there are other types of intelligence, in addition to human intelligence. She points out that more and more people are finding emotional sanctuary through their relationship with pets, mainly because of their lightness.
The reasons and characteristics of people who adopt a pet are varied, but according to the alchemist, they are people who seek and value emotional bonds, and the goal is not necessarily to compensate or repair some human emotional loss.
“When there is attachment and humanity to your pet, it can show some kind of emotional disturbance in the relationship, and as a child, this type of relationship is used as compensation. He notes that those who have pets are generally easier to communicate with.”
Menegatti also points out that relevant research shows that people who have deeper feelings for their animals and, therefore, live more deeply in a period of mourning. “The close relationship and the difficulty of dealing with grief has nothing to do with social class, we have very humble people who have difficulties separating themselves from the animal body and saying goodbye properly, there are people who live alone and this can be an obstacle event” emotional development, which is something that happens to older people also”.