A FAMILY who had their beloved pet golden retriever's pelt preserved have hit back at their critics – and denied that they turned their pooch into a rug.
The unorthodox memento went viral last month after the video of the dog pelt was shared online.
Chimera Taxidermy, a company based in Melbourne, Australia, shared the original clip of the golden retriever and said its family had asked for the pet's fur to be preserved.
Maddy, 29, who owns the business, explained that the pelt was "tanned and turned to leather so the fur won't fall out," and should remain in a good condition for many years to come.
But the footage of the pelt spread out on the floor led many viewers to assume it was going to be used as a rug by its old owners, sparking wildly varying responses online.
On Friday, Maddy responded to the furor with a follow-up post on her TikTok.
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She explained that the pelts are kept stored away or are displayed, but definitely not used as rugs to walk on.
"I didn't make a living room rug out of this golden retriever. I create alternative pet memorials for those that want to keep a physical reminder of their pet," she said.
"Some people choose only part of the pelt, some people choose the entire pelt.
"The pets I preserve are not floor rugs. They are stored alongside ashes, photos, artwork, collars, and whatever other mementos the owner has kept… It's the same concept as storing an urn on the shelf."
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In the clip, she showed one of her previous preserved pelts in pride of place on a shelf, alongside animal skulls.
A number of followers responded positively once she explained why she did it.
One wrote: "While I don’t know if I could have gone with this option, I also wonder what it would be like to feel my pup's fur in tough moments missing them!"
"At first I thought it was kind of strange, but little by little I realized that it's a beautiful tribute to an animal that seemed to be so kind and precious to its family," a second said.
The pets I preserve are not floor rugs
"A beautiful way to remember the good times that this family will keep to this day. An exceptionally amazing job!"
While a third joked: "Idk, I think my tabby cat would make a beautiful little rug."
Maddy hasn't let the outcry over the golden retriever pelt distract her from her work.
On Monday, she shared a video of her latest design, the preserved pelt of an orange tabby cat, complete with collar.
Maddie started in taxidermy when she was just 18, moving into exclusively working with family pets three years ago.
She earlier admitted that what she does for a living is "definitely not for everyone," telling Yahoo News: "It's sometimes difficult working with pets compared to other animals."
However, she added: "It's more rewarding to be able to help people with their grief and allow them to keep a part of their pet forever.
"Pet taxidermy has only really become more popular in the last five years or so, so it's a very new thing to see for most people.
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"Some are more of a sentimental keepsake, others are on display resting in their beds or however their owners wanted them preserved."
She says full pet mounts are her most popular requests, and has been asked to preserve "pretty much any pet you can think of," including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, and goats.
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