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:



VINTAGE POST: MY FIRST DOG

My orders for pet preservation always seem to come in flurries, and I'm in the midst of one right now. Since I've reached double digits in terms of the number of dogs & cats (and a couple exotic pets!) that I've worked with, I thought I would reflect back on my very first one, Elke, who not only was a delight to work with but won me several accolades over the years,
Just so you know, it never gets easier, emotionally.

 

 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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.



Hands Down

I've been in an equine hole the last two days, working on hats for two horse-centered events  while in front of my computer watching every episode in the two season cache of the show "Jockeys.  I can't quite seem to find words that can accurately express how much I love this show but I will try.



For anyone who may not have seen , the show is a reality series covering the lives of several jockeys during a thirty-day period known as the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita Park in California.







There's the couple who competes against one another:











There's the young hot-shot, Joe Talamo:











 



and the newbies, the old heads, the injured, the bitter, the hopeful,etc.  They're all in a different spot in their career which gives a perspective from a myriad of points.  In the first season there is heavy concentration on the new jockeys just trying to break their way in and get a chance to race.  Kayla Stra came all the way from Australia to see if she could cut it and I couldn't hold back my tears watching footage of her being turned down repeatedly by owners and trainers not willing to hire a no-name* jockey.  I can relate, as an independent artist, feeling completely hopeless and exasperated sometimes and wondering if it will ever all come together. These guys have to look failure and rejection in the face time and time again and they greet it with a smile.  There seems to be an unspoken rule that if you're not grinning, you'll be ostracised.  The horse racing word is riddled with superstition and from what I gather, a jockey who isn't positive for one second or who lets even an iota of doubt cross their mind will be seen as the racing equivalent to a broken mirror or a black cat.



How do they do it?  When people ask me how the taxidermy business is going, I try to emulate this good sport attitude even when things aren't so great.  It's no easy task trying to find your own way, especially when you encounter rejection.  I get really emotional thinking about how much these men and women inspire me with their fearlessness and drive.  More than that, it's almost impulsive: there is nothing else on earth they could possibly do with themselves.  They were born to ride horses.  I feel the same way about creating.  I don't know how to do anything else, at least not happily.  I know I'm not alone; there are so many of us out there just trying to make it.  It's hard not to blame one's self for not being where they had hoped they'd be in life, while overloooking the plain truth which is that there are too many factors at work in the universe to make success for one individual such a simple and clear-cut path. My favorite jockey, Aaron Gryder, sums up the feeling pretty well in this clip:











So we motor on, focusing on the future, hoping for that break.



And when that break comes, people respond, but they probably have no idea how many hundreds of hours were spent putting in nonpaying/underpaid work, being exploited/used and feeling terrified/uncertain of what's to come.  These jockeys risk their lives every time they get on the track, sometimes only to clear $17/race.  We all notice the ones who place, the ones who are in the money, but for each of those there are many more who walk away virtually empty-handed.











The second season is even better, exploring more controversial issues like performance enhancing drugs for horses and conflict between riders.  The whole series gears up toward the biggest race of all, the Kentucky Derby.  As someone who went to the derby and left still feeling puzzled over how the betting works and what exactly odds even are, I wish I'd seen this show before the trip.  There are one-on-ones with a professional better named Jimmy Hats who breaks down the betting system for the viewer, and a slew of nuances are covered like how greatly starting gate position affects the odds for each horse.



The only thing lacking in the series was good music. I'm not sure if it was too difficult to obtain the rights to use certain songs but the songs which were used are just awful, in my opinion.  Of course, this is coming from a gal who has Ke$ha and Nikelback in her current workout rotation...so take that with a huge grain of salt.



I just wish there was a season three.











 



*no-name by their own local standards, or course.



 



P.S: I was definitely a horse in a past life.
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