But I just can’t.
Part two of the program, which aired Monday on TLC, followed two potential dog cloning customers and recounted the experiences of a Florida couple who were among the first to get their dog cloned.
All in all, it was, like the first installment, another quasi-documentary that avoided the harsh realities of dog cloning — at least when it comes to all the dogs used in the process of cloning just one.
Instead, reality show style, it reconfirmed how wacky people can get, especially when it comes to their pets, and the lengths they will go to get what they think, or at least let themselves believe, is a live version of their dead dog.
In reality, it’s not, though the show kind of glosses over that, and more, repeatedly referring to cloned dogs as resurrections of the original, and describing their first meetings with their owners as “reunions.”
Given that, the second installment, like the first, was high on melodrama, low on context and served little purpose other than building interest in a service that, while still on the fringes, continues to draw customers.
My opinion — formed in the process of writing a book about the subject — is that pet cloning is almost always best avoided.
It, for starters, is mostly a selfish pursuit. Clients seeking to clone dogs are mostly delusional, at least when it comes to what they expect — the exact same dog, in terms of looks, behavior and personality. Only the first of those can really be achieved, and often only with repeated tries. But beyond that, cloning dogs, at least as practiced in South Korea, raises a host of animal welfare concerns, ranging from the intrusive procedures involved, the number of dogs it takes, both to serve as egg donors and surrogates, and the fact that many of the dogs used in the process have been farm dogs, raised in South Korea for their meat.
Amid all the melodrama in “I Cloned My Pet 2,” there was little discussion of any of that. But amid all the silly moments, there were a few telling ones, some of them even believable.
“Yes, it is the same dog,”” Nina Otto insists in the show. “Yes, it is the same personality. Yes, we got more than we ever bargained for, and we were thrilled to death.”
Nina and her husband Edgar, the grandson of a NASCAR co-founder, had their dog Lancelot cloned three years ago as the highest bidders in an online cloning auction sponsored by an American biotech company. Lancelot Encore was born in a Korean laboratory and delivered by the American company, which has since moved away from dog cloning.
While happy with the dog, Edgar Otto came close in an interview on the show to admitting that their belief Lancelot Encore is the same dog may be a delusion: “Maybe we’ve set ourselves up wanting it to be the same dog, and it probably is not the same dog. Just leave us alone in our beliefs; we’ll be happier.”
The Ottos in 2009 bid $155,000 for the cloning — one of five winning bids in the auction – leading to the dog’s creation at South Korea’s Sooam Institute, the only facility in the world now cloning dogs.
Our favorite part of the show came when a Los Angeles woman named Myra, still grieving the death three years ago of her basenji, Kabuki, debated whether or not to proceed with cloning him.
Her boyfriend thinks it’s a bad choice. She wants it more than anything. Seeking guidance, she contacts a medium who gets in touch with the spirit of Kabuki, a dog whose ashes now rest in a decorated cardboard box in Myra’s bedroom.
It was — if you believe in that kind of stuff – the first time a dead dog was asked his opinion on whether he should be cloned. And he said no.
According to the medium, Kabuki advised Myra to, more or less, get on with her life.
The show’s third main character was Dr. George Semel, a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, whose Chihuahua was killed by a Rottweiler last year while on a walk.
While struggling to come up with money for the cloning, he eventually works out a payment plan with the Korean lab and receives three copies of his Chihuahua.
Along the way, he holds a “cloning party,” selling his skin cream to raise money, and has a song recorded about cloning his dog. It does not become the viral hit he hoped for:
(Photo: Nina Otto and Lancelot Encore / TLC)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, auction, basenji, beverly hills, chihuahua, clients, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, cloning book, cloning song, copies, customers, dark side, dog cloning, dog inc., dogs, duplicates, edgar otto, egg donors, farm dogs, genetic, genetics, george semel, i cloned my pet, installment, john woestendiek, kabuki, laboratory, lancelot encore, meat dogs, myra, nina otto, online, part two, pets, plastic surgeon, resurrection, reunion, second, sooam, south korea, surrogates, television, tlc, video
“I Cloned My Pet” lives again.
And, no — unlike the dogs the show is about – it’s not a repeat.
It was back in January that TLC aired a special broadcast about people who have gotten their dogs cloned — a “documentary” that amounted to little more than an advertisement for the dog cloning industry.
Now the production company that made it has put together a second installment, featuring three new pet owners seeking to resurrect dogs that have died, and TLC will air it tonight at 10 p.m.
If it’s anything like the first, expect another soap opera/infomercial hybrid, with three more highly passionate dog owners, some possibly bordering on bonkers, willing to go to whatever lengths are necessary to bring back a cloned version of their departed dog.
And expect virtually no discussion of any of the disturbing ethical and animal welfare issues surrounding the process.
(You can find those, and the real story behind dog cloning, in my book, “DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”)
The first installment of “I Cloned My Pet” focused on three customers of dog cloning — a service that began being marketed before dog cloning was even achieved (in 2005) and, for a while, was being marketed by three different companies. It’s now provided by only one laboratory in South Korea.
In the first show, viewers saw Danielle Tarantola receive a clone of her beloved dog Trouble; Peter Austin Onruang finally got a clone of his dog Wolfie; and Sheryl Carpenter of Albuquerque got to meet the clone of her mastiff mix, Blue Frankenstein, even though she was serving a 10-year prison term for gun running by the time the dog arrived.
In tonight’s episode, we meet George Semel, a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon seeking a clone of his rescued Chihuahua, killed last year when attacked by a Rottweiler; another Los Angeles resident, identified only as Myra, who’s still struggling with the loss of her dog Kabuki and wrapped up in other emotional turmoil as well; and Edgar and Nina Otto from Boca Raton, who won an online cloning auction with their bid of $155,000 and got a copy of their golden retriever, Lancelot.
If it’s like the first one, the new show will put a premium on creating drama while conveniently overlooking cloning’s dark side. Things like:
- The number of dogs used in the cloning process — both as egg donors and surrogate mothers, all of which are sliced open in the process.
- That those dogs — both in the research stages and in commercial cloning — often come from South Korean dog farms, where they are being raised for meat. The dogs responsible for making a clone of your dog possible could end up on dinner plates.
- What happens to the surplus clones that are often produced, because the process doesn’t work everytime and is done repeatedly to ensure a healthy lookalike.
Expect it to perpetuate the myth most customers seem to believe — that a clone of their deceased dog is the same dog, resurrected. While clones are genetic copies, that doesn’t assure they will have the same personality or behave as the original did.
We’re hoping the second installment of “I Cloned My Pet” doesn’t behave as the original did, but that’s doubtful, because the makers of bad television are a lot like cloners — they like to stick with the formula, churning out the same thing over and over again.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, blue frankenstein, book, clients, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, commercial cloning, concerns, copying, customers, danielle tarantola, dark side, death, documentary, dog cloning, dog inc., dogs, edgar otto, eternal, eternity, ethics, genetics, george semel, issues, john woestendiek, laboratory, lancelot, life, media, myra, nina otto, peter onruang, pets, science, sheryl carpenter, south korea, television, tlc, trouble, wolfie
According to a company news release Friday, no illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond products are affected.
The product was distributed to customers in 12 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
Consumers who purchased bags of the recalled food should stop using it and discard it, the company said. Consumers can obtain a refund by contacting Diamond Pet.
Pets with salmonella may have decreased appetite fever and abdominal pain.
People who handle the pet food can become infected with salmonella.
The recalled products are 6-, 20- and 40-pound bags of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice, with a “best before” date of Jan. 3 or Jan. 4, 2013, and the following production codes:
Posted by jwoestendiek April 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, consumers, contamination, customers, diamond, diamond naturals, distributed, dog food, dogs, dry, florida, formula, georgia, health, kentucky, lamb and rice, lamb meal & rice, lamb meal and rice, list, maryland, michigan, naturals, new york, north carolina, ohio, pennsylvania, pet food, pets, production codes, recall, safety, salmonella, South Carolina and Virginia, voluntary, warning
Pet Airways — viewed as salvation for those who hoped to avoid their dogs traveling, luggage-like, in cargo holds — has hit some turbulence.
Created in 2009 by a California real estate developer, the airline in recent months has canceled flights, leaving dogs and cats stranded and their owners inconvenienced and angry, the New York Times reported Saturday.
“Dog and cat owners are angry about canceled flights. Travel sites are abuzz with complaints, including customers who claim they have not received refunds for paid-for flights. And the company is burning through cash at a rapid rate.”
Alysa Binder, the co-founder of Pet Airways, acknowledged in an e-mail to theTimes that the airline has had some problems procuring planes from contractors and needed to cancel “some flights during the holidays and into the new year.”
“We are a very new company that is pioneering, just as FedEx pioneered the overnight packaging business,” Binder told the Times. “We have ups and downs, but we are keeping our eyes on the long-term goal of providing a safe and comfortable transportation option for the pets.”
The company, which says it has flown more than 7,000 cats and dogs, is still taking reservations, according to its website.
Pet Airways offers service to nine cities. Flights run from about $100 to more than $1,000 each way, and roughly 40 pets can sit in crates in the main cabin (the airline carries pets only), monitored during the trip by a pet attendant.
The airline was a welcome alternative to the major airlines, some of which ban pets in the cabin entirely. Most typically store animals in the plane’s cargo hold, where temperatures can vary wildly and have contributed to deaths. According to the Department of Transportation, 122 dogs died in cargo holds on U.S. airlines between May 2005 and July 2010.
Records indicate Pet Airways had no flights between Dec. 16 and Jan. 16, and it is unclear if it has had any flights since then, according to the Times.
“We are working toward being in the air as soon as we can be assured that the planes are ready for our use,” Binder said.
In a recent regulatory report, the company said it did “not currently have sufficient cash on hand to meet our financing needs … Our auditors have raised substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, airlines, alysa binder, angry, animals, canceled, cargo holds, cats, complaints, customers, dog friendly, dogs, financial, flights, new york times, news, pet airways, pets, problems, reservations, stranded, travel, traveling with dogs, traveling with pets
Scourge-wise, it may not be up there with drunk driving, but drunk puppy buying is percieved as a serious enough problem to lead at least two Manhattan pet stores to ban the sales of canines to the inebriated.
“I feel like they always come in drunk,” Fernanda Moritz, the manager of Le Petite Puppy, explained to the website DNA Info.
The shop, surrounded by bars, has implemented a policy prohibiting people who appear to have been drinking heavily from buying animals. or even holding them.
Moritz said many of her would-be customers stop in after happy hour around 6 p.m.
“They come from there and say ‘let’s stop by to see the puppies,’” said Moritz.
Another pet store in the neighborhood, Citipups, has instituted a similar ban.
Moritz recalled selling a Chihuahua once to a woman she thought might have been drunk. The dog was returned the next day, near death. Since then, she said, they’ve been on the lookout for intoxicated customers.
Leandro Jacoby, the 28-year-old manager of nearby Citipups, say he has come up with a way to determine whether a puppy buyer is serious, or acting on drunken impulse.
“We have to tell them to come back the next day and most of the time they never come back,” Jacoby said.
“Most of the time it happens around holidays — St. Patrick’s Day or Gay Pride,” he added.
Even though turning down drunken customers might seem bad for business, Moritz and Jacoby both say they’d prefer to lose the sale.
“We make sure they can take care of the dog. We make sure they go to a good home,” Jacoby said.
There are those — including many readers of this website — who’d question whether shops should be selling puppies at all, due to the puppy mill connections often involved. West Hollywood and South Lake Tahoe in California have both banned the sale of dogs and cats in stores, as has Albuquerque, N.M.
Between 2 million and 4 million dogs are born in U.S. puppy mills every year, according to the Humane Society of the United States, many of which end up in pet stores and being sold through the Internet and newspaper classified ads.
MSNBC had an in-depth story last year about cities banning the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores — in which one of the same New York shops is mentioned.
(Video: New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, ban, bars, buying, citipups, customers, dog, drunk, drunken, fernanda moritz, holding, le petite puppy, manhattan, new york, pet stores, pets, prohibit, puppy, puppy mills, sales
Breed: Pit bull
Encountered: In a parking lot in Cave Creek, Arizona, where her owner sells cowboy hats at a roadside stand.
Backstory: Everyday, Michael Chazan, of Phoenix, sets up his tables on a dusty parking lot and hawks hats from Guatemala. At first, he would bring his daughter’s dog with him — partly for company, partly because, he’s found, dogs can help bring in business.
When she moved away, he debated whether he should bring along his dog, Sarah, who he’s had since she was a pup. While amazingly and unwaveringly friendly, she is a pit bull, and while he knows she’s a sweetheart, some customers, he feared, might shy away.
He gave it a try anyway, and Sarah proved to be as good for business as she is at being a friend.
I had no choice but to go over and say hello. And now — though I’m not the cowboy hat type — I’m wearing a cowboy hat.
Michael says Sarah is good at luring in customers, and while he sometimes tells customers that his dog will eat them if they don’t buy the hat they tried on, one look at Sarah’s smiling face lets them know, if they didn’t already, that it’s a joke.
He, as is usually his way with assertive females, all but ignored her.
I, on the other hand was smitten – and not just because we both have big heads. It was her sweet disposition that hooked me, reeled me in and sealed the sale, with a big sloppy lick.
(To see all of our Roadside Encounters, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, attracting, breeds, business, cowboy, customers, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, encounter, hats, misperceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, roadside stand, sales, salesman, sarah, stereotypes, travel, travels with ace, vendor
Cody, the chocolate Labrador we showed you a video of last week — the one who jumps up and greets customers at the drive-through window of a Florida gas station — has been declared a health hazard and ordered to leave the premises.
The dog was featured last month in a St. Petersburg Times story, along with a heartwarming video of Cody in action that has been seen widely on the Internet.
Apparently state officials didn’t find it as heartwarming as everybody else.
Inspectors — from the health department according to some reports, agriculture department according to others — stopped by Karim Mansour’s BP station and convenience store in Clearwater and issued a warning. Unless the dog was removed, all of Mansour’s food products would be declared unfit for consumption, the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday.
That most everything Mansour sells at his shop in Clearwater is packaged — bottled sodas, candy bars, chips and the like — didn’t matter to the Grinch-like bureacrats, who apparently feared the wholesome goodness of the store’s Slim Jims, Twinkies and Marlboros might be tainted by a deadly pet hair.
Mansour, who adopted 6-year-old Cody three years ago, accepted the warning and plans to start leaving his dog at home.
Most readers, judging from the comments the Times has received on the story, see the state’s crackdown on Mansour as a ridiculous case of overkill.
We couldn’t agree more. Once again, it appears, bureaucracy has prevailed, accomplishing its mission of making the world a safer, far more boring, smile-free place.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, bp, bureaucrats, chocolate, clearwater, cody, convenience store, customers, drive-through, florida, gas station, greeter, greets, health, karim mansour, lab, labrador, remove, state, warning
Bucking global fashion, the Australian suburb of Mosman, outside Sydney, is working to make restaurants with outdoor dining less dog friendly.
The town’s council has drafted a new policy, requiring cafe owners to set aside areas where dogs can be chained up like bicycles while their owners eat — in effect ruining the dining with dog experience, not to mention raising new questions about the safety and humaneness of leaving dogs tied.
Tying them up, the council reasons, will keep dogs far enough away from food to comply with law — and keep dog-loving restaurant patrons from taking their business elsewhere.
”It could be on the street, it might be at a bus seat or it might be a street pole,” said Anthony Fitzpatrick, the council’s manager of governance.
At The Avenue Cafe, Barbara Standen told the Sydney Morning Herald she could not understand why well-behaved dogs should not be allowed to sit at her feet while she has a coffee. ”In Europe they go into food shops and dress shops.”
(Photo: Barbara Standen outside The Avenue Cafe with her dog Molly and her friend’s labrador, Annie. By SAHLAN HAYES/Sydney Morning Herald)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: australia, cafes, customers, dining, dining with dogs, dog friendly, dog unfriendly, dogs, law, mosman, outdoor, restaurants, rules, suburb, sydney