We love our pets. But how far would you go to love them indefinitely? One British couple loved their boxer dog Dylan so much that two weeks after his death, they contacted a company to have him cloned. Now, one surrogate puppy birth and $100,000 (£67,000) later, Dylan lives again in a new, adorably tiny and only a little bit scientifically unsettling puppy.
Laura Jacques, 29, and Richard Remde, 43, contacted Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, a Korean company that offers commercial dog cloning, after Dylan passed away in June after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Sooam, the only lab of its kind, came to Jacques' attention after seeing a documentary about a competition the company ran for one UK dog owner to clone their pup.
A little more than a month after impregnating a surrogate dog with an egg containing Dylan's DNA and BAM! Out pops (via cesarian section) little Chance, a perfect clone of his genetic predecessor. And OMG is he adorable.
“After they got him out I still couldn’t quite believe it had happened," Jacques told The Guardian. "But once he started making noises I knew it was real. Even as a puppy of just a few minutes old I can’t believe how much he looks like Dylan. All the colourings and patterns on his body are in exactly the same places as Dylan had them.”
But Chance, named after the character from Disney's devastatingly harrowing tale of friendship "Homeward Bound," won't grow up alone. Another puppy from another cloned egg in another surrogate is expected to be born Dec. 29. Jaques and Remde will name it Shadow.
Despite the access to commercial cloning, the act remains controversial. A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) told The Guardian, “There are serious ethical and welfare concerns relating to the application of cloning technology to animals. Cloning animals requires procedures that cause pain and distress, with extremely high failure and mortality rates. There is also a body of evidence that cloned animals frequently suffer physical ailments such as tumours, pneumonia and abnormal growth patterns.”
Jacques and Remde had to freeze the remains of their beloved Dylan and try twice to extract cells to fly to Korea for the procedure. They're also planning to adopt the surrogate puppy mothers, bringing the whole crew back home to create a scientific canine "Brady Bunch."