5 Extreme Ways Hollywood Preserves Dead Pets

Courtesy of Life Gem
If dogs are man's best friend and diamonds a girl's best friend, a custom diamond made from a pet's ashes might soothe a bereaved owner of either gender.

Make Fido's memory last forever by turning his ashes into a diamond, consulting the best taxidermist in town, or the ultimate solution: Cryogenic deep freeze.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

• Bury your beloved among the greats at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park (5068 N. Old Scandia Lane, Calabasas), final home to more than 40,000 animals, including Humphrey Bogart's dog Boots. Jerry Lewis and Jacqueline Smith have buried their pets at Pet Haven Cemetery (18300 S. Figueroa St., Gardena), though owner Mike Detlefsen notes that many clients opt for cremation: "Eighty percent take the ashes, 10 percent choose burial and another 10 do multiple pets in the family plot."

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Celebrate your pet by enlisting an L.A.-based portrait artist who can work off of photos. Aimee Hoover has painted ex-daytime host Bonnie Hunt's dog Charlie; Christopher Galligan's portrait of Anthony Hopkins' cat Blueberry hangs on the Oscar-winning actor's bedroom wall; and Joan Rivers adores Angelo Divine's painting of her dog Spike.

Non-squeamish preservationists might opt for taxidermy. You don't have to be Marilyn Manson to be an enthusiast: Amanda Seyfried considers her purchased horse "like art." Bischoff's Taxidermy & Animal FX, around since 1922, caters to the industry (The Lone Ranger, Pirates of the Caribbean and New Girl) as well as individual clients for pets ranging from cats and dogs to fish and reptiles. Service prices depend on the animal.

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Turn ashes into jewelry. If dogs are a man's greatest companion and diamonds a girl's best friend, a custom diamond made from a pet's ashes might soothe a bereaved owner. It takes six months for Guardian Aftercare Diamond Memorial to convert a teaspoon of ashes into a gem (the remaining ashes go home). The Sun Valley company services just two to three clients a year with prices starting at $3,000. Clients select the carat, cut, clarity and color of the diamond.

Freeze the pet. Fame makes Hollywood denizens believe they'll live forever, and now their pets just might be able to, too, with cryogenics. The Cryonics Institute, based out of Michigan, performs the cryogenic preservations of pets for lifetime and yearly members, with fees starting at $28,000. Prices for members fluctuate based on the size of the animal. Cats and small dogs start at $5,800; a small bird at $1,800. Clients wishing for a cheaper option may pay $98 for the Institute to preserve the pet's DNA.

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Go all Orphan Black on BusterPet cloning services -- not yet prohibited in the U.S., though California is working on a bill to ban it -- had been offered by BioArts International, a biotech company formerly based in San Francisco, and Genetic Savings & Clone, which used to call Sausalito headquarters. But the companies shut down in 2009 and 2006, respectively. Reasons cited by Genetic Savings CEO Lou Hawthorne included an overly niche market.