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Filmmaker captures unique ways people honor beloved pets

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016, file photo, Bangladeshi policemen stand guard outside a morgue at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital during the autopsy on the bodies of suspected Islamic militants who were killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Police in Bangladesh, on Saturday, say they have killed three suspected militants, including one of two alleged masterminds of a major attack on a cafe last month that left 20 people dead. Top counterterrorism official Monirul Islam said police raided a two-story house in Narayanganj district near Dhaka and killed the suspects early Saturday. (AP Photo, File)

Saying goodbye to a pet can be a very difficult thing. Amy Finkel’s new documentary film “Furever” takes a look at some of the more unique ways people are remembering and preserving their pets.

Finkel tells It’s Raining Cats and Dogs host Shawn Stewart she was inspired to delve into the subject after reading an article that talked about a pet owner’s decision to freeze dry the remains.

“I thought it was just really interesting, so I called the taxidermist who was offering this service for the devastated clientele and said, ‘Would you mind, I’m a documentary filmmaker, I’d love to come and film you.'”

The taxidermist welcomed her into his office and allowed her to request interviews from some of the people bringing in their pets. After spending 10 days in the office, she had enough material to get further funding for the project.

The film profiles pet owners who’ve chosen to freeze dry, mummify and even turn their pets into diamonds.

“I encountered one person who had made a diamond with the hair of her still living dog and the ashes of her dead dog so that she could have a diamond made out of both of them together,” says Finkel. “You give them the carbon source, ashes or hair, and they put 800,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on this carbon source and it creates a diamond, a man-made diamond.”

Many of the services, Finkel explains, cost thousands of dollars. One woman profiled in the film admits to spending more memorializing her Golden Retriever Tucker than she spent on him in life.

“I realize that so much of this is about me and not about Tucker, but I’m OK with that,” says the woman in the trailer.

While some of the things people do in the name of remembering their pets seem crazy to others, Finkel says you really can’t blame them.

“They’re all doing it out of love,” says Finkel. “You can’t fault someone for loving their pet too much.”

“Furever” will be playing at the Seattle International Film Festival. Showtimes include May 18 at 6 p.m. at SIFF Cinema Uptown, May 19 at 11 a.m. at Harvard Exit, and June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater.

Listen to Amy Finkel’s full interview on It’s Raining Cats and Dogs. Listen to KIRO Radio every Sunday at 1 p.m. for more pet stories, or listen anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

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