Pet Loss Has One Woman Turn to Cloning

by sittercityspeaks on August 7, 2008

We’ve written about some, uh, interesting grief management tactic from pet owners who have just lost a pet. First there was the couple who turned their dog into a sweater, then there was the cat owner who turned her black cat into a black ring. And now? Rather than go with inanimate memorabilia, one woman is opting for a very LIVE alternative: cloning.

When Bernann McKinney’s Pit Bull passed away from cancer two years ago, she was so devastated that she knew she only had one option. She needed to bring her beloved Booger back to life.

McKinney sold her house to raise the $50,000 needed to clone her deceased dog, who had once saved her from being mauled by a Bull Mastiff three times her size. Scientists at the bio tech firm RNL Bio, turned skin cells taken from Booger before he died two years ago into embryos carried by two surrogate dogs for two months until giving birth to five puppies last week.

Now, McKinney has her wish and the world has its first-ever cloning of a pet dog for a paying customer.

But does she also have more than she bargained for?

The technology, the same as that used to create Dolly the Sheep, brings with it high risk of miscarriage and still birth — and for those creatures that do survive, ill health and premature death.

Penny Hawkins, senior scientist from the UK-based RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), said, “Cloning dogs as pets is abhorrent to the RSPCA. I can’t believe that any true dog lover would condone causing suffering to dogs and wasting their lives for such a trivial and selfish purpose, particularly when animal shelters worldwide have thousands of dogs who need loving homes.”

She continued, “In any case, a cloned animal is never going to be an exact copy of the original pet. There is much more to an animal than its DNA and cloned dogs will inevitably have different life experiences, resulting in animals with different personalities.’

Says McKinney, “I had to make sacrifices and I dream of the day, some day when everyone can afford to clone their pet because losing a pet is a terrible, terrible loss to anyone.”

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About Gina Coleman

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.
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