Stuffed Jack Russell Terrier helps man find lockdown love

This Morning guest tells Holly and Phil about his stuffed dog

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Mitch Byer, from Oregon, USA, lost his beloved Jack Russell Terrier, named Phoebe, in 2013 but instead of having his pet buried or cremated, his mum contacted a taxidermist. The now 31-year-old decided to set up an online dating profile during lockdown and included photos of him and Phoebe.

A match for Mitch soon caught the eye of his now girlfriend, Jamie, who fell for his entertaining personality and wasn’t unphased by the preserved dog.

Speaking about their unusual love story, the couple shared their experience and people’s reactions on ITV’s This Morning with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

Jamie – who has a Husky called Nanook – said: “At first I wasn’t sure if it was a dead dog or an alive dog. She was cute either way!

“Once I realised that she was stuffed I thought it was hilarious. It made Mitch stand out!

“In lockdown you had to be selective with who you were going to spend your time with, and Mitch made the cut.”

Philip jokingly asked: “You’re being selective who you pick, so you pick the guy who’s with the stuffed dead dog?”

Mitch did admit that when people hear about Phoebe, it can be a controversial response.

He said: “I had so many mixed reactions. Some people thought it was cruel, most people did think it was pretty hysterical but it’s always a mixed bag of reactions, especially on social dating when you advertise a taxidermy dog with you.”

The American also revealed when he first saw Phoebe for the first time after being stuffed, he burst into laughter seeing her perched on top of the kitchen table.

Jamie told the ITV presenters that Nanook the Husky has been successfully introduced to Phoebe which was a success.

Holly then asked Jamie if she has considered having Nanook preserved via taxidermy when the time comes.

She admitted she’d considered it, but was still 50/50 on the matter, adding: “My mum always joked about stuffing our childhood dog. So to see it happen makes it possibly a reality. Hopefully I have some years to decide!”

Despite being dead for eight years, Phoebe has also found fame on Instagram when Mitch set up an account in 2017 named @mydeaddogandme.

Over 18,000 followers see posts of the duo visit several locations and events across the country, from beach holidays to family get togethers.

The stuffed terrier shot to fame when a photo of Mitch’s car went viral showed Phoebe in the passenger seat of his car.

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A sign read: ‘Don’t worry, the dog is already dead. She’s taxidermied. Please don’t break my window.’

Follow Phoebe and Mitch’s adventures @mydeaddogandme.

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