Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

Exquisite Taxidermy Art and Design

© 2013 Diamond Tooth Taxidermy
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About Beth Beverly


I am a State and Federally licensed taxidermist who graduated from the Pocono Institute of Taxidermy in 2010 with high marks. I have a deep respect for this craft and those who strive to preserve it.

It is my pleasure to work on any trophy mount, be it a shoulder, life-size, rug, or fish.

I accept custom orders for fantasy mounts, wearables, and bridal hair pieces.

Sculptural mounts and hats are available for rental provided they are in stock at time of inquiry.

Contact me describing your wish and I will be delighted to make it so.


Diamond Tooth Taxidermy Blog:



Man's best friend

I've never owned a dog, yet I feel a connection with them which compels me to stop at dog parks and slobber at the sight of the happy creatures leaping and bounding, exploding with happiness.  When a friend contacted me recently to inform  me about a friend of his whose dog had just passed, and would I be interesting in collecting the body, I jumped at the chance.  The dog, 14-year-old black and white rat terrier, died in her sleep on Saturday and I picked her up on Sunday.  It was a most unusual way to meet someone but the owner, a lovely woman with two children and a chef husband, was graceful and composed so I followed her lead.  The dog was on her deck, on ice and in a blanket.  I kept her in the bags and then loaded her into a large IKEA carrier sac for transport.  I had imagined that the specimen would be much smaller but when the weight and size of this one hit me, it became apparent I had to take a cab home.  Slouched in the back seat of a taxi, I leaned against my cargo and caught a whiff of some early decomposition odor.  Still hung over from the night before, the smell made me gag a bit and I wondered just how infuriated the driver would be if he knew what I'd brought into his car.  At moments like this it hits me, how bizarre and twisted my little world might appear from the outside.  So much of my time is spent retrieving dead things and carting them around in my messenger bag, then stashing them in my freezer.  Sometimes I wonder if there are hundreds of little ghosts drifting around the house that make my cats go bananas.  To some, I'm sure this seems sick.  However, this is my normal, and I simply forget that people might see me as a very disturbed individual until quiet times like this in which I occupy a tight space with a dead dog I've never met and a man driving  a cab who I'll most likely never meet again.



It turns out there was no room in the freezer for Pooch so I skinned her upon getting home.  The enormity of what I was about to do didn't hit me until I pulled her out of the bag.



Her collar was still on.



I started weeping and just stared at her, wondering if I could do it.  I get teary and cry a bit with almost every animal I skin, but this was different.  It was if I could feel all the love which had been poured into this creature for the last 14 years, and the profound role this four-legged little girl had had with her humans became clear.  I fondled  the paw pads a bit, imagining them padding around the wooden floor just a few days before.  I was a little bit afraid she wasn't completely dead (I always am, it's my worst fear that I'll make an initial cut and suddenly my specimen will come back to life, panicked and crazed) but the bloat in her stomach made it quite clear.  I burned some incense, said my little prayer and got to skinning.







It was an intense, emotionally wrought experience.  One interesting part was when I came across what I'm guessing is a tracking device that was implanted between the shoulder blades.  Aside from that, nothing too different from skinning a coon or a fox.  After I had the carcass completely separated, I marveled at how we're all just skins.  No one would ever recognise this naked corpse as a beloved pet.







For reference, this is a picture of the breed which I worked with.  Out of respect for the dog and her owners I chose not to take any pictures of the corpse.  I got my measurements and that's all I needed.  I hope to do her justice.



Duck, Duck.....Gosling.

A few weeks ago I got a call which I'd been expecting, regarding an unusual pet a friend of mine was keeping.  It seems that his baby goose, or gosling, had passed away quite randomly.  My friend had found the little guy while out on the water one day; he was paddling around on his own and took to his new human companions well.  So well in fact, that they brought him home.  For the next few weeks this little goose dined on gourmet and locally grown fare, enjoyed plenty of love and lived what could be considered a very charmed life.  I had expressed my desire to mount the specimen once the time had come, however it came sooner than all of us expected.  One day he just croaked.  And this is where I come in.



I'm starting to think  should explore the business of pet taxidermy.  It's an aspect of the trade many people inquire about, and an extremely divisive topic in the taxidermy world.  Most taxidermists look down upon pet-mounting; in fact the first rule in my old taxi-text book was to never, ever stuff a pet.  The main reason for this is that you can't recreate the exact creature that was known and loved by its human.  I often look at my own cats and wonder if I could ever come close to replicating the little wrinkles in the nose, the expressiveness in the eyes and exact position of the mouth.  I don't know if I could, but I am so intimately familiar with the way my two cats move that if I were succeed on any creatures if would be them.  (Sometimes though I look at the way my one younger cat lays about, and the bizarre angles he puts his neck and limbs into just screams Bad Taxidermy).  If I were to attempt this on a stranger's pet, however, it would be nearly impossible, seeing as I'd never met the pet in its living days.  Sure, a photo would help but I have another, slightly twisted idea.  Suppose you know that you'll want something creative done with your animal after it passes: contact me while it's still living and we'll arrange for several visits in which I can get to know the pet, the way it moves, etc.



I understand this all sounds very far-fetched but I'm just throwing it out there.  Also, I like the idea of incorporating fantasy into the pet-mount.  For instance, this baby goose I've been commissioned to do:



He will be embellished with some angel (white pigeon) wings and a halo, and ultimately serve as a Christmas tree topper.  Does this sound tacky?  Perhaps, but I think if executed with taste could actually be a sincere and touching tribute to a lovely creature who brought happiness to many people.  This is a genre I'd very much like to explore further with pets.



Back to the goose.  I was excited to handle the premature skin, as it was still covered in down and had yet to grow any real feathers.  The wings were very much under-formed, rather cute actually:







Upon skinning I was treated to a relatively fat-free creature.  Geese are known for their ridiculous fat content, and after working with virtually nothing but ducks for so many weeks it was a relief to just find skin.  Greasy and paper-thin, delicate skin, but I'll take that over spending hours trimming fat away any time.  The humans were curious as to what had brought on the little guy's demise, but I didn't really see anything out of the ordinary.  While cleaning out the skull and beak I noticed some food still in his mouth, so I suppose choking is a possibility, but I don't know much about goose behaviour so I really can't say.  I think the fact that he was alone when they first adopted him speaks volumes, as in there may have been a reason his parents left him behind.



 



More to come!
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