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Archive for January 28th, 2009

A Lab from the lab: Florida couple gets clone

A Boca Raton couple took delivery of their clone this week — a yellow Lab created in South Korea from the frozen DNA of their family dog Sir Lancelot.

Ed and Nina Otto named the new pup, born in Seoul ten weeks ago, Lancelot Encore.

The Ottos became the second American family, not counting those connected to the business, to receive a clone of their dog. You can find out more in our other cloning posts.

The Ottos paid $155,000 for the cloning, submitting a winning bid during an online auction conducted by a California biotech company, BioArts International. It’s one of two companies that began offering dog cloning to customers last year.

The original Lancelot died of cancer, at age 11, on New Year’s Eve, 2007. The Ottos had cryogenically banked DNA samples from Lancelot five years ago, hoping that some day they’d be able to clone him.

“The only sad thing about dogs is that they have such a short life, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could live your life with the same dog,” said Nina Otto, who reportedly sold part of her jewelry collection to finance the cloning.

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Another Dog’s Death

For days the good old bitch had been dying, her back
pinched down to the spine and arched to ease the pain,
her kidneys dry, her muzzle white. At last
I took a shovel into the woods and dug her grave

in preparation for the certain. She came along,
which I had not expected. Still, the children gone,
such expeditions were rare, and the dog,
spayed early, knew no nonhuman word for love.

She made her stiff legs trot and let her bent tail wag.
We found a spot we liked, where the pines met the
field.
The sun warmed her fur as she dozed and I dug;
I carved her a safe place while she protected me.

I measured her length with the shovel’s long handle;
she perked in amusement, and sniffed the heaped-up
earth.
Back down at the house, she seemed friskier,
but gagged, eating. We called the vet a few days later.

They were old friends. She held up a paw, and he
injected a violet fluid. She swooned on the lawn;
we watched her breathing quickly slow and cease.
In a wheelbarrow up to the hole, her warm fur shone.

The poem above, Another Dog’s Death, (from Collected Poems, 1953-1993) is one of two John Updike wrote about the death of his dogs.

Updike, a prolific, Pulitzer-prize winning author and poet, died yesterday at 76 of lung cancer.