Virtual pets laid to rest Gimmicks: A mortician's daughter is in business to bury all those virtual pets that have emitted their final beep.

March 09, 1998|By Los Angeles Times

First there was the virtual pet, the battery-powered toy that did all the things a real pet does, but in the palm of your hand. Then came fighting virtual pets. And more recently, virtual lovers, which players woo with virtual flowers, chocolates and diamonds in hopes of getting an "I do" to a virtual marriage.

What's left? The virtual death industry, of course.

Earline Reeves of Palmdale, Calif., the daughter of a mortician, has opened what might well be the world's first virtual pet funeral home, selling caskets and tombstones for deceased digital pets.

Through her Internet site (http: //www.petcomputer.com/mortuary.htm), she offers 5-inch-long caskets lined with puffy white satin for $10.95 and tiny headstones customized with the electronic animal's name for $8.95. Both come with a funeral booklet that urges survivors not to dwell on their toy's demise but to "get on with your life."

There's also a fill-in-the-blanks eulogy that says, in part: "We know (blank) has gone on to a better virtual place where there is no hunger, no boredom and no maintenance required. There is no reason to 'beep' " -- the noise the electronic pets make when they are in need.

The idea seems to have struck a nerve with more than the virtual set, though. Reeves reports that many of the callers to her toll-free number -- 888-777-4944 -- wonder if the caskets would work for their real late animals, including a dead mouse named Pedro and a 10-pound poodle.

Where customers bury their digitally deceased is not clear. But those who want their pets to spend eternity with their own kind have at least one option. The first cemetery for the toys has opened in Hungary.

Pub Date: 3/09/98

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