Tuesday Topics #42 - A Cabana Clone?

logo from the tv show that says the title of the show, i cloned my petA couple nights ago, I was so warm and toasty on the couch, snuggled in blankets, with our cat Angie sleeping on my lap and Cabana laying next to me. Not wanting to get up, I mindlessly flipped through the channels on the TV and came across a show on TLC called "I Cloned My Pet". It followed the stories of 3 people who had lost their beloved dogs and were in such mourning that they almost couldn't go on with their lives. For a $50,000 price tag, a company in South Korea could create exact duplicates of their dogs. I sat enraptured through the end of the program, waiting to see if they indeed got identical dogs to the ones they had lost.

The answer was yes! Of course, the delivered dogs were still puppies, so it's hard to know if their temperaments would be exact matches through adulthood. But even down to one white toe on one of the dogs, they physically matched their originals, and each person was extremely pleased with the results.

photo of yellow lab puppy lancelot, then another photo of the cloned version in the arms of his ownersOut of curiosity, I decided to look up the Korean cloning company's website, Sooam.com. Those Koreans are a crafty bunch. ;) The information on their site absolutely boggled my mind. It's amazing what they are capable of doing, although in my opinion, supremely controversial. Above is a photo of yellow lab Lancelot, the first commercially cloned dog in the US, produced by Sooam. In the video on their site, it says this Florida couple paid $155,000 for the clone, making the current $50,000 seem like a bargain.

Would I ever clone Cabana? Heck no, I'm much too much of a cheapskate to shell out that kind of money. Plus, Guide Dogs didn't deem Cabana breeder-worthy or even guide dog-worthy, for that matter. Sure, Cabana is a fabulous dog, and I adore her, but I don't know whether the world really needs more Cabanas. She's one-in-a-million, and I think we should just keep it that way. But that does raise an interesting question about working dogs. There were a number of examples of cloned dogs on the Sooam website, many of which were excellent working dogs. I wonder if service dog organizations should change from breeding to cloning--it seems like it would raise their success rate, right?

Would you clone your pet? What if cloning only cost $1,000, rather than $50,000? Would that make a difference in your response? Do you think it would be amazing...or a bit creepy, to have a beloved pet come back to life as a clone?

Raiser Erin  – (January 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM)  

Never would I clone one of my pets. Like you said, they're one in a million and deserve to stay that way. Might have a "the second", but that in itself is a big might. I also don't think it's a healthy way to deal with loss. Death is a part of life and we should all learn to deal with it no matter how painful it may be.

Martha G  – (January 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM)  

I don't have that kind of money so it would never be a choice for me. Even if I did have money to spend any way I wanted to, I never have felt I could replace a beloved pet with a clone. Environment has an influence on a pet's life and I would have to say that even with cloned genes, you can't clone the deceased pet's life experience.

kecks  – (January 21, 2012 at 4:47 AM)  

One thing, behaviour and character and personality always is a product of one individual's interaction with her genes and her environment. you can never exaclty replicate that once its over so you never ever can get an exact 'copy' of your beloved lost companion. just impossible.

Besides - cloning means there are a lot of pups who suffer and die during this process. it's not like "clone cells in glass tube", "get cells in bitch" "bitch delivers your dog". much more complicated, many dead not successfull attempts in between.

Third point: Cloned animals usually tend to get ill very early and die soon.

Cloning like "copy yourself/your animal/your husband/whoever" is a myth, stuff science fiction tales are made of. the real process is nearly nothing like that.

Brittany  – (January 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM)  

I would love to clone Hobbs! Just to see how a different start to life would affect his overall personality. Also, I would have loved to start him in agility when he was a baby.

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