Written by Ian Ord
A new reality show called American Stuffers premiered earlier this year which focuses on Daniel Ross and his family, who live in the town of Romance, Arkansas. Daniel runs a taxidermy business, which alone might give people pause (the movie Psycho wasn’t very good press for taxidermists). But this is “Xtreme Taxidermy” and the one thing separating Daniel’s business from other taxidermists is: he stuffs pets. Yeah, when Fluffy gets to the end of his life, you can bury him or you can cremate him and have his ashes sitting on your fireplace mantle. Or: you could have Fluffy himself sitting on your fireplace mantle, whole. And stuffed. They call it pet preservation. We call it: weird.
Take the Harley-ridin “Teach” who came to pick up his dog (named “Turd”). To Teach, Turd is like his kid. But as intern Dixie suggests, how many people would stuff their kids? Says Daniel:
“Teach has waited a long time to see turd. I’m just prayin’ that he likes what I’ve done.”
Hey, no laughing back there.
American Stuffers derives its drama from the tearful scenes of owners being reunited with their deceased pets after they are stuffed. Some of the drama also comes Daniel’s wife LaDawn, who gets upset when Daniel and his employees start using her kitchen for their taxidermy preperation. In one scene, LaDawn yells at Daniel for baking hog skulls in the kitchen oven:
“You keep your dead animals and all their parts outta my kitchen!”
Another episode of American Stuffers sees a grieving woman bringing in her pet racoon to get stuffed. She tells stories about the raccon sleeping in the bed with her and hubby.
Other scenes focus on intern/veternarian-in-training Dixie and how she’s obviously not cut out for the animal-stuffing business. In one bit, she asks one of Daniel’s kids if he’s ever read The Jungle :
No Dixie. Have I not told you I don’t read?
Like most reality shows, American Stuffers is fascinating in that trainwreck sort of way. Recommended, but anyone disturbed by watching dead dogs, dead dogs being stuffed, and crying bikers strapping their stuffed dog on the back of their Harley should stay away from it.
American Stuffers premiered on Animal Planet January through February of 2012.