Back in May, followers of Harold Camping were preparing for the coming rapture. For some, that preparation included someone to look after their pets.
At the time, animal lover Bart Centre, the creator of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, had 259 clients whose pets he promised to look after in the event that they were raptured in the next 10 years. Those clients paid $135 for the first pet and $20 for each additional pet.
Clearly, the rapture didn't happen as predicted on May 21. Centre tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that, with the exception of a few demands for refunds, there wasn't a lot of fallout from the religious event, or nonevent, rather.
"I had to disappoint them and let them know we don't do refunds," Centre says.
There might not have been much fallout to Centre's business from the rapture not happening, but there was some fallout, in the form of complaints, when NPR first told Centre's story. Many criticized him and said that he was taking advantage of people, but Centre says that's not the case.
"I do not advertise my business. My business is advertised by the media and by word of mouth," Centre says. "I don't threaten people with the rapture coming; I outright tell them I do not believe in the rapture."
Centre says that does not negate the possibility that they could be right and he could be wrong, so he's offering a service to people who love their pets and believe the rapture is going to happen.
"I'm not in a position to say to them, 'It's not going to happen and you're foolish,'" he says. "If this is what they believe, then I will give them peace of mind."
Centre says business has been a little slow and he's added only a few clients since May. But he expects that around October 2012, close to when the Mayan calendar ends and what many people believe signifies the coming rapture, business might just pick up again.
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