30 January 2009

Animals Predict Super Bowl Winner

Bo knows football, and the Tampa Police Department dog picked the Pittsburgh Steelers today to win the Super Bowl. Sunshine, a Labrador Retriever with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, selected the Arizona Cardinals' helmet.

A four-legged football expert was called in to break the tie. Bosco, a 3-year-old German Shepherd from Tampa Police, stared down the two helmets placed in front of him downtown at Lykes Gaslight Park. After a bit of confusion, he settled on the Steelers.

It's not clear what impact, if any, the dogs' selections might have on the athletes. The Steelers are favored over the Cardinals by 7 points in Sunday's game in Tampa.

Sea life was split Tuesday on who will win the big game, as manatee Buffett picked the Pittsburgh Steelers by a nose and Shelley the sea turtle decided those same Steelers would get shelled. The creatures made their picks at Mote Marine Laboratory Aquarium in Sarasota.

Bo usually sniffs out narcotics for Tampa Police. His handler, James Bryant, said he doesn't know why the rescued Springer Spaniel sniffed out Pittsburgh's black and gold helmet today. "I'm a Bucs fan," Bryant said. "I guess he likes the Steelers."

Last year marked the first time an ATF dog tried picking a Super Bowl champion. That dog chose the New York Giants, which went on to win the game in a dramatic upset.

This year, Sunshine, who is trained in explosives detection, made it clear that he believed the Cardinals possessed a superior offense. "We're saying that the dogs are responding to the explosive offense of the Cardinals," ATF spokesman Carlos Baixauli said. Fellow ATF spokesman Bill Filides was unsure whether Sunshine was picking the Cardinals to win or simply to beat the spread. "The dogs haven't made any comment on that," he said.

[Source: Tampa Bay Online]

29 January 2009

South Florida Couple Gets First Commercially Cloned Dog

Six years ago, a Boca Raton family froze their dog Lancelot's DNA. Monday they picked up their new pooch that just happens to have all their former dog's genes.

"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, Lancy's owner. Turns out you can... sort of.

"It truthfully is amazing to me that this process has come to be and that I am getting, if not my dog, certainly the essence of Lancelot and it looks so much like him that, well... He's a clone, so he should look like him," said Otto. "Lancy was the first dog, commercially that they did clone because his DNA was frozen and very viable."

Bioarts International CEO Lou Hawthorne, a cloning and stem cell research guru, brought little Lancy to Miami International Airport from Korea. The adorable Lancy is cute as a button, but a clone is a walking controversy. "People think that cloning dogs is a stepping stone to cloning people. Dogs are actually harder to clone than people," said Hawthorne.

The 3-month old puppy is reportedly a clone of a canine the Otto family just couldn't live without, their yellow 11-year-old Labrador Sir Lancelot, who died last year on New Year's Eve. "Lancelot was very human and he... He just... We used to call him our prince charming, " said Otto.

The price of royalty is steep. For what it cost to buy a modest home or fancy car, the Ottos cloned the dog they say was worth so much more. "It cost over 150-thousand dollars, so it was a lot of money. So, as I said before I did sell something that was precious to me to get something that was even more precious to me," said Otto.

Nina Otto sold some big time jewelry to finance what she describes as the future. "Yes, it's expensive now, but as we know with everything, once it becomes college knowledge, it loses its value and it will become less expensive, " said Otto.

Sitting on 12 acres in Boca Raton, the Ottos have 9 dogs, 4 birds, 10 cats, 6 sheep and now little Lancy. The bright ray of life will fit in just fine, but in a dim economic climate why would someone spend six figures on a dog. "It was last may. I probably, at this point and time I would've said, you know, we really shouldn't do it, it's just economically not a good idea, but it was done, so thank god and thank god... The money is gone and he's here and that's what's more important to me," said Otto.

[Source: msnbc]

28 January 2009

Katherine Heigl Teams Up with Pup My Ride

Katherine Heigl is seen by millions every week portraying Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but Access Hollywood got a look at a lesser-seen side of the actress when we visited her as she worked to help give some dogs loving homes.

Heigl and her mother, Nancy, teamed up with Pup My Ride, an animal rescue program from the Best Friends Animal Society, to rescue a host of beautiful, healthy dogs from shelter life.

“Over 600 dogs have been saved and adopted,” Heigl told Access Hollywood. “Up in Utah and Arizona and some of these states around California, they have waiting lists for small dogs, people wanting to adopt and here we have an overwhelming number in the shelters,” Heigl said.

As a result, Best Friends drives the dogs, which would otherwise be put down, to new, out-of-state homes. “Today is the transport day,” Heigl smiled during Access’ visit. “I think [the dogs] are either excited or terrified. I’m not sure.”

But, before getting in the van, the eager little pups had some doggie business to attend to. “We make them go to the bathroom,” Heigl noted. “It’s a 12-hour [drive]. There’s no pulling over.”

Animal lover Heigl, a serial doggie-adopter, hinted she was tempted by the animals’ little faces on moving day. When asked how many dogs she’s taken home over the years, Heigl revealed she has six.

“I think my husband’s ready to kill me,” Heigl said of her husband of one year, Josh Kelley. “But you know what? The last one was his idea.” Kelley was compelled to take the sixth one on when he and Heigl found a puppy in a trashcan in Mexico.

“Someone had literally thrown him out, and he was probably at the time, three or four weeks old,” she said. “He was just this teeny tiny, fit-in-the-palm-of-my-hand, and Josh said, ‘I think we should take this one home,’ and I said, ‘OK! I’m dying for a puppy.’ But now I cam blame him for it too. I’ll be like, ‘This puppy was your idea, you get up with him at 7!’”

Neither Heigl or her mom, Nancy, were afraid to get their hands dirty when Access visited the women as they helped pack up the pups. “I don’t have to go into work until late,” Heigl said, referring to her day job playing Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy. “I’m gonna have to shower though, before I go back to my scrubs.”

[Source: msnbc]

26 January 2009

Puppy Bowl Sunday

If you need an alternative to the Super Bowl this Sunday, Feb. 1, or just want to get pumped up for the big game, look no further than Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl V.”

“Puppy Bowl V” features two teams of puppies who will mimic the plays usually reserved for the NFL as they take over Animal Planet Stadium and compete for the coveted title of MVP, or Most Valuable Puppy. Commentator Harry Kalas, a renowned sportscaster, will be on hand to make sure viewers don’t miss any of the action. Highlights from previous Puppy Bowls also will be featured.

The festivities will begin with Pepper the Parrot performing his own version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Viewers also won’t want to miss the “Kitten Halftime Show,” which will feature a variety of kittens doing what they do best: playing!

The participating puppies were recruited from regional shelters, which include the Pawfect Match Rescue in Holly Springs, N.C., and the SPCA of Anne Arundel County in Annapolis, Md. All of the dogs are adoptable. Viewers who are interested in adopting one of the puppies can visit Petfinder.com for more information.

Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl V” will air on Feb. 1, 2009, at 3 p.m. EST/PST.

[Source: Dogchannel.com]

22 January 2009

PetSmart Recalls Dog Biscuits Amid Salmonella Outbreak

The salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 450 people in the U.S. and Canada is now affecting pets as well.

PetSmart has announced a voluntary recall of seven Grreat Choice-brand dog biscuits that contain peanut paste from the Georgia plant deemed the source of the outbreak by the FDA.

"While some of these products have been tested and no traces of salmonella were found, we have recalled these products as a precautionary measure," according to a release posted on PetSmart's website yesterday.

PetSmart spokesman Bruce Richardson, reached for comment today, said that no salmonella had been detected since the original statement was posted and that no additional products are affected by the recall. The seven items affected:

[Source: Los Angeles Times]

21 January 2009

Labs Fetch Top Dog

The lovable Lab is once again the most popular purebred dog in the U.S., the American Kennel Club announced this morning. For the 18th consecutive year, the Labrador retriever bested all other breeds in registration numbers by a wide margin.

Registration statistics for 2008 also show that the bulldog, which snagged a top-10 position last year for the first time in more than seven decades, increased in popularity, moving up two slots in the standings into number 8.

The other breeds on this year's top 10 include, in descending order: Yorkshire terrier, German shepherd, golden retriever, beagle, boxer, dachshund, poodle and shih tzu.

The AKC also released the most popular breeds in the 50 largest U.S. cities, a list that demonstrates an affection in some cities for breeds that don't make the national top-10 list.

The athletic vizsla leapt onto the year's top 10 for Chicago, just as in 2007 and 2003. The miniature pinscher made the top 10 in San Diego and Sacramento. The great dane was 10th in St. Louis, the Bullmastiff 10th in Indianapolis and the Siberian husky 9th in Long Beach.

[Source: USA Today]

20 January 2009

Pennsylvania Boy Offers Puppy to Obama Family

During their trip to witness the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, two Fayette County, Pennsylvania commissioners will deliver a letter that could potentially change the life of the new president and the first family.

The inauguration of Obama as the 44th president will take place today, and commissioners Vincent A. Vicites and Vincent Zapotosky left Monday to head to Washington, D.C.

In their possession will be a letter from Zachary William Shiley to Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of Barack and Michelle Obama. Shiley, a fourth-grade student at Wharton Elementary School in Farmington, is offering a 6-week-old female labradoodle puppy to the first family.

The puppy, born Nov. 26, was the only offspring that survived the litter of 11-year-old Hillary, a chocolate Labrador and 1-year-old Bullet, a black labradoodle.

Zachary Shiley said the family has been calling the dog Vegas because his mother was in Las Vegas, Nev., when Hillary became pregnant. It also was her idea to offer it to the Obamas, he said. Shiley describes the puppy as a little shy but "very smart and friendly." Shiley added that Vegas is full of energy as well as a blessing.

"We want her to have a good home, and what could be better than the White House... A dream come true," Shiley wrote in his letter to Malia Obama. "I almost forgot, the puppy is free," Shiley wrote. Included with the letter are two photographs of the puppy with an American flag and Shiley with the puppy. Vicites said while he knows it is a long shot that the Obamas would end up with the Fayette County puppy, the puppy has to come from somewhere.

[Source: HeraldStandard.com]

19 January 2009

Yellow Lab Puppies Dognapped in Kentucky

A Kentucky-version of Cruella DeVille is suspected of swiping a litter of puppies and their mom - only this time they're 10 Yellow Labs instead of 101 Dalmations. And instead of turning them into coats, as the dastardly Disney character wanted to do, the owner of the purloined pooches suspects the thief plans to mate the pups with poodles to create Labradoodles.

"That's the kind of designer dog (President-elect) Obama is looking to get for his daughters," said Jeanne Lane of Gravel Switch, Ky. "I'm just sick with worry about the dogs."

Lane is the owner of Penn's Store, which claims to be the oldest country store in the country. She said the momma dog, Dixie, and the daddy dog, Boston, appeared on her doorstep one day last September and "we adopted them."

"We tried to find their owners and had no luck," Lane said. "So we took them in and built them a little shed behind the store. The customers loved them because they were so loving to everyone who came in." Dixie had her litter two weeks ago "and they were just the cutest, fattest little puppies," Lane said.

Then, last Wednesday, they vanished. Lane said she went to feed the dogs and noticed Boston's dog collar had been torn off and he was "looking so sad."

"Then I realized Dixie and the puppies were gone," she said. "I was heartbroken. But I knew they couldn't have gotten out by themselves and I knew they wouldn't have wandered off on their own." Lane said she called the sheriff and while she waited recalled recently receiving a call from a "pushy" woman who claimed to run a dog rescue operation in central Kentucky.

"She was telling me I let the Labs run loose and wasn't taking care of them," said Lane. "I told her I was taking good care of Dixie and Boston, but she kept insisting she could do a better job." Lane said she has shared her suspicions with the law. Boyle County Deputy Sheriff Derek Robbins is hot on the trail of that woman - and the missing Labs.

"I'm keeping Boston beside me all the time, because I don't want to lose him too," Lane said. "I really feel like I have a Cruella DeVille situation on my hands."

[Source: Daily News]

16 January 2009

Hotel for Dogs. See the Movie. Help a Dog.

PEDIGREE(R) Food for Dogs is rolling out the yellow carpet today to announce its partnership with the upcoming film "Hotel for Dogs," from DreamWorks Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies scheduled to be released today by Paramount Pictures. With the film's release, the brand is encouraging everyone to: "See the movie. Help a dog."

The movie, based on the Lois Duncan book of the same name, is a family comedy adventure centered on two resourceful kids who transform an abandoned hotel into a magical dog-paradise for the dog they're asked to give up -- and eventually for all of his stray canine companions.

Because of the PEDIGREE(R) Brand's outstanding advocacy for homeless dogs through its annual PEDIGREE(R) Adoption Drive, a national awareness and fundraising campaign that began in 2005, and their shared belief that all dogs deserve a loving home, DreamWorks Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures partnered with the brand to help shine a spotlight on the cause of dog adoption.

Through no fault of their own, more than four million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescues each year and nearly half of those canines never find a place to call home, a trend that the PEDIGREE(R) Brand and "Hotel for Dogs" together hope to help reverse by rallying dog lovers nationwide.

Further, in the spirit of the PEDIGREE(R) Adoption Drive, the movie will act as a fundraising effort for homeless animals and as a result yields the motto: "See the movie. Help a dog." For every ticket purchased to "Hotel for Dogs," the PEDIGREE(R) brand will make a donation to help shelter dogs, up to $250,000.

Donations from the PEDIGREE(R) Brand will go to The PEDIGREE Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides funding to 501(c)(3) status animal shelters and breed rescues. Created by the brand in late 2007, by the end of 2008 the foundation will have distributed more than one million dollars to more than 500 shelters and breed rescue organizations nationwide.

Hitting theaters on January 16, 2009, "Hotel for Dogs," stars Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon and Don Cheadle in a smart, funny comedy adventure that shows how far love and imagination can take you.

[Source: PR Newswire]

15 January 2009

Mickey Rourke's New PETA Poster

US actor Mickey Rourke appears with his Chihuahua, Jaws, in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' new spay and neuter ad campaign.

"Have the cojones to fix your dog," Rourke, pictured holding Jaws in his arms, says in the print ad. "When dogs get knocked up, puppies get put down because there aren't enough homes for them."

"I became a little more aware of how many dogs are abandoned or put to sleep each week -- it's staggering," People.com quoted "The Wrestler" star as saying in a video posted on PETA's Web site.

Rourke famously thanked all of his dogs -- "the ones that are here and the ones that aren't here anymore" -- when he took the stage to accept his Golden Globe for best actor Sunday night.

"Sometimes when a man is alone, that's all you've got is your dog," he noted. "They meant the world to me."

[Source: Market Watch]

14 January 2009

UK Dog Owners Who Dress Up Pets Could Face Prosecution

The RSPCA is threatening legal action against dog owners who 'over-dress' their pets. Officials claim that putting on items such as boots, all-in-one trousers and hoodies, could be harmful to dogs and lead to prosecution for owners if they feel an animal's welfare is at risk.

Canine couture is big business and the increasing trend among owners to dress their pets fashionably has even led to top designers including Vivienne Westwood and Ben de Lisi creating dog outfits. The luxury Harrods store in London also has an annual fashion show called Pet-a-Porter where canines take to a 'dog-walk' and parade in a variety of daring outfits.

Experts said there are a few occasions where dog clothing is acceptable, such as with small dogs and short-haired varieties.

Jess Bland, professional dog walker and pet sitter from My Pet Friend, said: 'Dog clothing certainly serves its purpose when it's cold and wet, but it has to fit properly. Although dogs would survive in the wild, they're generally used to being indoors. There is a case that they need coats in the winter, especially shorter-haired dogs and smaller dogs.'

However, Lynn Williams, founder of dog charity Happy Dogs said: 'To see a little dog dressed up in boots, I think, is a little over the top. You can buy anything fashion-wise for your dog. I have an extreme love of the dog, but I don't like to see them dressed up as little human beings. I don't think they like it either. It's unnatural.'

Dorset RSPCA spokeswoman Jo Barr said: 'Dog owners should be aware that under the Animal Welfare Act that came into force in April 2007 they have a duty of care to ensure that all of their pets' needs are met. One of those needs is to express normal behaviour and it could mean that with restrictive clothing they are not able to do that properly. We're concerned that any pet should be viewed as a fashion accessory. Taking on an animal is a long-term commitment. It's quite humiliating and sends out the wrong message about pet care. We've seen trends in recent years brought about by the rise in celebrities with "handbag dogs". This usually leads to people taking on pets because they are "fashionable" and sadly that means many are neglected.'

What are your thoughts on this? We would never let our pups be unhappy or humiliated!

[Source: Daily Mail]

Hotel for Dogs in Theaters Friday

If you know any kids who were traumatized by “Marley & Me,” the cure might be a stay at “Hotel for Dogs,” a movie that balances adorable dogs of all breeds and sizes with clever set design.

Oh yeah, there are some people in it, and they’re perfectly OK. But it’s not their movie.

Orphans Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) have been bounced around from foster home to foster home, but they’ve always managed to keep their always-hungry dog Friday on the sly. One day when Friday is on the run from animal control — I’m frankly surprised that the Dog-Catcher Anti-Defamation League isn’t already picketing this movie — he ducks into an abandoned hotel where he finds two other dogs hiding out in its crumbling splendor.

Andi and Bruce eventually find him, and even though Andi warns Bruce not to name the other two dogs, lest they become attached, soon the siblings are also taking care of Lenny and Georgia. (For adults who enjoy this sort of thing, “Hotel for Dogs” includes throw-away references to not only “Of Mice and Men” but also “Suddenly, Last Summer” and even Jean Vigo’s “Zero for Conduct.”)

With the help of pet-store employees Dave (Johnny Simmons) and Heather (Kyla Pratt), as well as neighborhood kid Mark (Troy Gentile), the kids create their own surrogate family by not only taking in every stray they can find but also by turning the hotel into a canine paradise. Bruce’s proclivity for Rube Goldberg–esque devices allows him to create machines to handle all the dogs’ feeding and hygiene needs. (He even creates a simulator ride involving car doors, a fan and travel footage.)

The film also stars Don Cheadle (as Andi and Bruce’s compassionate social worker) and Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon as the duo’s moronic metal-head foster parents, but the real stars of “Hotel for Dogs” are the art department (with bonus points to propmaker bosses Marc Tantin and Marcel Worch for creating Bruce’s dizzying inventions), the army of animal trainers and dog wranglers, and the special effects artists who no doubt made all of the above look much slicker on the big screen.

The kids are all charming — I’ve enjoyed Roberts and Gentile more in other movies — but the script (adapted from the novel by Lois Duncan) gives all the personality to the four-legged actors and to the hotel itself — the building is a sprawling, old-school masterpiece of grand stairways, long banquet tables and velvet banquettes. Even the pee-and-poop solutions that Bruce devises fit in with the hotel’s grandeur.

If you’re the sort of person who checks out CuteOverload.com for pictures of puppy baskets, sleeping kitties and frolicking pandas, this is definitely the movie for you.

[Source: MSNBC]

13 January 2009

Mickey Rourke Thanks His Dogs at Golden Globes

Mickey Rourke won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama at the Golden Globes this evening for his lead role in The Wrestler.

Rourke thanked his agent, director, producers, co-stars, etc. and then he told the audience he'd like to thank his dogs--both the ones that are still with him now, and those that had passed on.

"Sometimes when a man's alone, all you got is your dog, and they mean the world to me", the star said.

[Source: Examiner.com]

Dog Trust's Top 5 Favorite Breeds

12 January 2009

Obama Dog Watch: Finalists in the Hunt for a Dog

The Obama family is nearing a decision on the breed for the first dog.

Before President-elect Barack Obama began his interview on the ABC program “This Week,” which was broadcast Sunday, his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, asked the host, George Stephanopoulos, to slip in this question: “What kind of a dog are we getting, and when are we getting it?”

When asked, Mr. Obama laughed “They seem to have narrowed it down to a Labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound,” he said, adding that the next step is to canvass shelters.

“We’re closing in on it,” he said. “This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary,” a reference to the recent withdrawal by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico as his original selection for that post.

Both breeds — a Labradoodle at top, a Portuguese water dog below — were chosen to reduce Malia’s allergy to dogs and have big Democratic backers. Senator Edward M. Kennedy owns two Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash, which often flank him as he walks the halls of the Capitol. Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has a Labradoodle (part Labrador retriever, part poodle) named Brother.

Fulfilling his promise to get a dog is just one of the personal decisions that Mr. Obama and his family face as they settle into Washington.

Mr. Obama said the family planned to visit a number of churches to see “what’s comfortable.” Every president since James Madison has attended St. John’s, the Federal-style Episcopal church across Lafayette Square from the White House. But several predominantly black churches are eager to lure the Obamas, like Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, where Bill Clinton twice attended inaugural prayer services.

One family matter that appears to be going well is the Obama girls’ transition to their new school, Sidwell Friends.

“They seemed to thrive,” Mr. Obama said in the interview of their first week at the private school. “I’m trying to figure out why it is that they don’t seem to be fazed by anything.

“People think — you know, folks think I’m cool. They are a lot cooler than I am. They just don’t seem to be intimidated.”

[Source: The New York Times]

08 January 2009

Four-Legged Mets Fan Can't Wait for Opening Day

Jackie the wily pooch is one New Yorker who just couldn't wait until opening day to see the Mets' new stadium.

The stray dog was spotted sniffing around Citi Field for several days before animal control officers were sent Wednesday to rescue her. She led them on a run through the stadium, which is still under construction. New York City Animal Care and Control spokesman Mike Pastore said, "She was around home plate, ran up the first base line and ducked into the stands."

Rescuers nicknamed the 40-pound shepherd mix Jackie. Pastore said she was jumpy and shaking when they caught her, but was able to pet her once she calmed down.

Jackie was taken to the agency's Manhattan shelter. She could be adopted as early as Saturday.

[Source: Newsday.com]

07 January 2009

'Marley & Me' Author's Puppy Treated for Hip Dysplasia

“Marley & Me” author John Grogan’s new Labrador Retriever Woodson – one of several puppies to portray a young Marley in the film adaptation – is being treated for severe hip dysplasia, Grogan writes in USA Today.

“We noticed that our pup seemed unable to do the things Lab puppies do so effortlessly – leap onto furniture or hop into the back seat of the car,” Grogan says.

A veterinarian delivered the bad news. “Both rear hips were so malformed, the balls and sockets did not connect,” Grogan says. “With each puppy step, bone was scraping bone.”

Grogan called the now 1-year-old dog’s breeder – “not to complain, just to inform,” Grogan says – who offered to exchange the dog for a new puppy. “My wife and I thought about it overnight before realizing there was really nothing to consider,” Grogan says. “Woodson was part of our family now.”

Woodson is now on a special diet and a “regimen of cartilage builders and medicines” and sees an orthopedic specialist at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, Grogan says. “Surgery might be in his future, but for now he’s comfortable and enjoys his life as a pampered house pooch. Woodson will never go hunting or hiking or even on long walks, and that’s OK,” Grogan says. “Some dogs are put on this Earth just to love you.”

[Source: DogChannel.com]

06 January 2009

Pet Owners Willing to Sacrifice for Fido

Despite a tough economy, pet owners are willing to sacrifice many luxuries to provide for the needs of their canine companions, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Kennel Club.

The survey of more 1,000 people on akc.org found that more than 96 percent of respondents with a taste for gourmet coffee would give up their latte habit to save money for their dog’s expenses. Ninety-seven percent also said they would forgo massages or spa treatments to afford a vet bill, and nearly 79 percent would cancel a teeth whitening appointment so that Fido could have his annual teeth cleaning.

The only item that seems to compete with people’s love for their pooches is Internet access, with more than 70 percent of respondents indicating they would not be able to abstain from their Web addiction.

Not at all surprising, if you ask me. How else are people going to read dog clothes horse?!

[Source: Kansascity.com]

05 January 2009

Pets Everlasting

The most difficult thing about the cloned puppies is not telling them apart, but explaining why they don’t look exactly alike. This was the problem Lou Hawthorne faced on a recent afternoon hike with Mira and MissyToo, two dogs whose embryos were created from the preserved, recycled and repurposed nuclear DNA of the original Missy, a border collie-husky mix who died in 2002.

To be sure, they have a very strong resemblance to each other and to Missy. It’s just that sometimes, as soon as people hear that the dogs are clones, the questions start coming:

“Why is one dog’s fur curlier?”

“Why aren’t the dogs the same size?”

“Why is one of them darker?”

“Why does this one have a floppy ear?”

Mr. Hawthorne, who is 48, is highly invested in the notion of likeness. With clones, after all, what good does similar do? It is Mr. Hawthorne’s biotech company, BioArts, which is based here in the Bay Area but has arrangements with a laboratory in South Korea, that performed the actual cloning.

To read more about this unique pair, visit NYTimes.com