PetStraps is here to ease the grief of a lost loved one. This revolutionary new concept re-purposes retired pets for eternal life on your wrist. Petting his PetStraps watch strap with a familiar fondness and with a tear running down his face, the company's founder tells us how he started the company after the unfortunate loss of his best rodent friend.
"I thought he was sleeping, but after he didn't respond to me shaking his cage, I knew something was wrong." Three years and eight months just wasn't enough time with Yellow Belly, my gerbil. I had wanted our love to last forever, I didn't know what to do. I called up a taxidermist nearby and brought the body to him. Unfortunately, I hadn't preserved Yellow Belly properly and only the gerbil pelt could be saved. "I used to spend hours brushing his golden orange fur." With eyes full of tears, the PetStraps founder happened to have glanced down at the watch on his wrist. "What was I going to do with a tiny gerbil pelt?" I thought about asking the taxidermist to tan the pelt so I could use it as some type of little pouch for my watch. Then it dawned on me, could this be a watch strap? The taxidermist was hesitant at first. The idea seemed macabre to him. I then proceeded to remind him exactly what it was he did for a living and he sobered up. He said to give him a week, and then come back. I'd have to supply the buckle parts though."
The PetStraps founder explains how after looking at buckles and strap parts he realized that this might be a good business opportunity. People lose beloved pets all the time and aside from a hard stuffed pooch or a bronze bust of your cat - how can you really enjoy your pet after their passing? On your wrist it seemed. That or an expensive commissioned piece of art work. The founder explains his disappointment after spending thousands of dollars on a custom oil painting of Yellow Belly in a general's uniform riding a pony. "It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the result just wasn't regal enough." That was not how I wanted to remember the little guy. He was always less silly than that. Instead, I wanted to attach him to my high-end wrist watch.
"Yellow Belly was the first project, and soon after, more came". I needed to get the word out about PetStraps and get the business going. To promote my business, I spent a lot of time at local veterinary offices. "I would look for people who were crying and assume they had just lost a friend like Yellow Belly." With him on my wrist, I felt like I could do anything. The challenging situation happened after a large man with a beard showed up crying after the vet walked him into the waiting room, patting him on the back. He just sat down like he didn't know where to go so I started to talk with him about my watch. The topic seemed strange to this recently pet-bereaved gentelman but he was probably happy to get his mind off of what had just happened. I learned that his roommate Yappers had died after they had spent more than thirty years together. I didn't realize it until later, but Yappers was a parrot. That was a challenge because I never thought of PetStraps as being made out of anything other than fur. Yappers was the first feathered strap and since then we have made PetStraps with everything from turtle leather to fish scales."
PetStraps uses the highest quality parts and processes to ensure that your beloved PetStrap satisfies you completely. Most straps have an Italian leather or rubber liner on which the dead pet parts are glued. Everything is hand-made and each customer gets a personal guarantee that their passed-on pet gets treated with respect and dignity as they are transformed into wrist wear.
To protect animals, PetStraps has adopted a special policy of requiring owners to submit pictures of them with their pets (while they were still alive). We didn't want people poaching animals just to get a strap made. There was a customer who said they lived in suburban Kansas who wanted a PetStrap made. When I found out the pet was an African elephant I figured there might be a problem. Especially, since it was being shipped from Africa. What really raised a flag was the request to have us engrave a buckle out of "fresh ivory. I just had a bad feeling about that one and we ended up having to ship the elephant back to sub-Saharan Africa. UPS really didn't like us that day."
Each PetStraps strap comes with a well-documented photo album showing pictures of how each individual animal body becomes a useful watch accessory. These albums are titled "Journey into the Afterlife" and begin with the owner's picture of themselves with their pet. "Since this is not an inexpensive memorial, we want people to be fully involved with the process," says the PetStraps founder. It doesn't surprise him when these special albums routinely bring customers to tears and often a loss of appetite. "Healing is healthy," he adds as he nods his head up and down.
How can you enjoy a PetStraps watch strap? The process is fun and easy. If you anticipate the passing of a family member (non-human preferably), PetStraps will arrange for a courier to be on notice 24 hours a day in your area. You'll be given a special number to call after the final moments to arrange for immediate pick up. If the passing is unexpected, you can ship the pet to PetStraps overnight in a foam cooler with ice packs. PetStraps highly recommends placing a notice on the side of the cooler indicating that the "contents do not include human organs." That will certainly prevent delays in delivery. After a few weeks (depending on the strap and pet), you'll get a package in the mail that you'll love more than the new animal you purchased to replace the old one. "Strap Everlasting" is their motto.
Happy April Fools' day 2012.