For $50,000 You Can Clone Your Beloved Dog

June 19, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Story

For a long time, the subject of cloning was restricted to science fiction novels. Ever since Dolly the sheep, the first successfully cloned mammal, was born in 1996 clones have been slowly getting closer to our every day life. Now over twenty some years later, a company is offering commercial cloning services — promising to clone owners’ beloved pets for a fee.

According to the company ViaGen Pets, veterinarians provide a cloning process that a dog owner can be confident is safe, and the pet’s DNA is not altered in any way. In other words, one can expect their pet’s genetic twin to live a normal, healthy and happy life just like any other pet. Using a donor egg, a pet’s previously frozen cell (which comes from a skin sample) can produce an embryo which is then implanted into a surrogate female animal.

“Long-term storage of cells can also ensure access to future cell-based therapy options that don’t yet exist. A simple biopsy from your pet, performed by your veterinarian, is all that is required to get started.”

After a normal pregnancy, an identical genetic twin is born. The entire process takes about six-to-seven months. “It’s not science fiction,” states Melain Rodriguez, a manager at the company. The Chicago Tribune reports the company has been doing this for more than 15 years and has successfully cloned cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and of course dogs and cats.

Cloning is a costly process; for a dog the price is $50,000. A cat is only $25,000, but even with these prices the company reports it has a waiting list, and it doesn’t include professional breeders.  The American Kennel Club does not recognize cloned dogs. Most of the clients are just regular people who love or loved their pets so much, they are willing to pay anything to keep them, and a cloned version being so similar with the same genetic makeup is wonderful.

Viagen Pets promise the cloned version will act just like a “normal dog.”

Amy Vangemert chose to duplicate her beloved toy poodle Buhner, 13, when the thought of him passing away made her cry every day. The 55-year old mother-of-four contacted ViaGen in 2017. The company agreed to carry out the procedure and successfully presented Amy with three identical puppies six months later.

‘It’s the best decision I’ve ever made,’ said Amy, who owns a construction company with her husband John. ‘They are my joy in life. It was worth every penny. ‘I couldn’t be happier. It’s the best decision I have ever made. I would clone over and over again.’

Although genetically identical to Buhner, Amy says the pups all have their own personalities.

“Buhner had a lazy eye and both puppies have the same lazy eye. They are basically identical triplets. But there are personality differences. Ditto is more like Buhner, a little lazier and a frantic licker. But BJ has a lot more energy and doesn’t lick at all. If you are cloning to replicate, you should never do it. If you are cloning to have a little piece of the one you love go on in life then I think it is perfect.”

But not everyone is on-board with the idea and Amy has faced some harsh criticism for cloning her dog.

She said: “I have had some serious backlash from people. A couple of acquaintances said I was wrong and it was inhumane, and there were so many dogs out there that need to be adopted. But that’s like telling a mother that she shouldn’t have her own child when there are children out there who need parents. I already have a rescue dog. I am not a crazy dog lady; I just wanted a piece of Buhner to live on. "

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