I Cloned My Dog
George Semel & Alexander Michael
Alexander Michael originally obtained Bob, the Chihuahua, when he was about three weeks old, outside of a grocery store. He didn’t have time to look after him so gave him to his good friend George Semel. Unfortunately one day during a walk, Bob was attacked by a Rottweiler and died at the age of two and a half years of age. Needles to say, George was very distraught over the incident.
George mentions that he has tissue that is cryo-preserved already from another dog since 2005, but he couldn't afford to clone that dog at that time. He says it was also in advance of the proper techniques to clone a dog. The tissue for this dog is still on hold.
The cloning techniques are far more advanced now, so George was able to clone Bob. The process allowed them to clone 10 million cells from Bob's tissue. The cloning was successful, and there are triplets of Bob still in Korea with their surrogate mother, where the cloning took place. George did get to see the puppies after they were born on December 28th, and states that the puppies all look genetically identical to Bob.
George tells us that he has been sworn to secrecy about the amount he paid for the cloning, but stated that, "It is an expensive proposition." There was never really a signed agreement for the cloning, and the Koreans surprised George with the triplets. They are now demanding a larger payment than was expected. George and his friend Alex are trying to raise the remainder of the money. They have created a song, The Clone Song, and are selling it for $.99 a download to offset the cost of the process.
George has not been able to test the DNA of these puppies to see if they are true clones of Bob, he is just taking the Koreans word for it. However, he will be able to check their DNA against the original Bob's DNA when he brings the puppies back to the United States.
When asked why George didn't adopt one of the many homeless dogs waiting for homes, he stated that, "I was saving a saved animal that didn't get to be fully saved." He states that he originally made a commitment to a saved animal.
When asked what dog cloning can lead to, with regard to female dogs that are kept in cages to be surrogates for these clones (much like puppy mills), George states that the technique is currently being used in people and this is no different. For example, he states, a woman will carry a baby for another woman who can't have children and be paid for her services. But the difference is that these female dogs didn't ask for this kind of life!
George hasn't made arrangements to pick up the puppies yet, but hopes to have them with him soon. He states, "I did it for the dog. I didn't really do it for myself… I did what I thought was the right thing for the puppy, meeting my obligation to him..."
George doesn't feel he is playing 'God," but feels that someone has to be adventurous enough to examine what the boundaries are and to push those boundaries. George hopes that one day humans will also be cloned, as he feels there is a place for that as well.
We received many calls during the interview. Some were for cloning, while others were against. What do you think? Would you clone your dog?
You can see and hear this interview on May 7th on TLC (THE Learning Channel) as part of the series "I Cloned My Pet." TLC will follow a number of individuals who benefit from dog cloning — and the scientists who are helping to make their dreams come true. They will be telling the stories of why they wanted to clone their pet and you will see them living with their cloned animal.
Elayne Boosler, Tails Of Joy
Elayne Boosler has been a touring standup comedian since 1973. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. right around the time the Dodgers were leaving, her first memories are of grown men crying. Not understanding, she felt responsible, and decided to go into comedy!
But that's not all. Elayne has been an avid animal rescuer for 16 years. In 2001, she formed her own non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organization, Tails of Joy. They support the smallest, neediest rescues across the country, who don't get any funding. They also advocate for animal welfare laws, getting circuses to stop using elephants, etc.
She encourages everyone to give to their local shelter, who need it the most. She feels that three ladies rescuing cats in Idaho do a lot more and get more bang for the buck than the larger organizations. If you don't know who to give to, go to her website, Tailsof Joy.net where you can find many small, local organizations, who do the hands on, back breaking dirty work.
She says, "Don't give to the big guys who have pensions and infrastructures and vacations and retirement..!" If you give to small shelters, the money goes to the animals directly to save them, while these big organizations only use about 2 cents from every dollar of your donation for the animals.
When Elayne is on tour, the proceeds from 100% of all her after-show merchandise is donated to several rescue organizations in each city in which she is appearing. The rescues also appear in show advertising, enjoy a free night of comedy, distribute their literature and get to meet the community. Many of these organizations continue to receive periodic donations from Tails of Joy.
The Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani
Lifecycle of Fleas
Joey never tires of talking about fleas, because so many people have questions about these nasty little creatures!
Fleas have 4 life stages. They start off with the egg and then turn into larvae. The larvae looks like little worms, which are blind. They can live off of a pet and they will eat anything that’s organic, such as food droppings or even fecal matter. After a few days, they pupate, which means they cocoon. The last stage is when they turn into an adult flea.
Fleas can live anywhere from 2 weeks up until a couple of months or so of age, depending upon the conditions. If the conditions are right; the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees, they have host blood to live on; they can live up to two months.
Even if a flea only lives for two weeks, it can lay up to 500 hundred eggs. The eggs don't need to live on a pet to survive. They can live anywhere, like your carpet! Fleas are smart. They lay their eggs in batches, spreading them around to make sure that at least some of them will survive. When the eggs start to hatch, they wait for a vibration, which tells them something is around. They will then come out and attach themselves to the animal that is nearby.
Fleas also know when an animal is pregnant and gives birth. When a birth happens, the fleas know that there are now more hosts available
People think that just giving your pet a flea bath will take care of the entire problem. Not true! You need to take care of everything. This includes their bedding, a thorough vacuuming of the house and cleaning your car if they ride in it and even your yard.If you don't take control of the situation, think about it. If a flea can lay 500 eggs in two weeks, think about what 500 fleas can do after two weeks. And then another 500 hundred after that, and so forth!
Not Your Usual Auction Impulse Buy
At an auction, it's not unusual for a buyer to walk in intending to purchase a painting, only to fall in love with a sculpture instead. But what Peter Vitulli ended up with was a horse of a different color. On Valentine's Day, the Long Island, N.Y., businessman went to a car auction planning to pick up an old set of wheels and walked out with a 5-year old thoroughbred mare named Sheza Heartbreaker. "It was a different kind of horsepower that was being auctioned off," Vitulli told the New York Post. When auctioneer Richard Maltz announced to the 150 prospective car buyers that he had a horse for sale, they laughed. "It was definitely out of the ordinary," Maltz told the New York Post. But Vitulli, who has owned and raced horses in the past, saw the horse's potential right away. He outbid three other men to buy Heartbreaker for $16,000 and now he hopes she'll lead him to the winner's circle.
Should Groomers Be Licensed?
State Sen. Juan Vargas, a Democrat from California, has proposed that all groomers be licensed. If adopted, California would become the first state in the nation to require vocational licenses for pet groomers. In addition to requiring that groomers pass a state-issued exam and pay a license fee of up to $350, the legislation calls for statewide standards governing everything from lighting to recordkeeping. Violating the law would be a crime punishable by fines of up to $2,000 and a year in jail. Supporters say the proposed regulations would hold groomers accountable and protect pets.
If You Fly With Your Pets, Look Out!
On March 3, United Airlines and its subsidiaries changed the way they transport pets. Although the airline's fees for transporting animals are in line with what other carriers charge, the change could end up costing pet owners thousands of dollars. The change in policy means pets will now be transported as cargo rather than checked luggage. In certain countries, like Japan, it is required by law to pay a third party to ship cargo. And that's where the real cost lies. While the one-way fee for transporting your pet on United from Japan to the United States is about $300 for a 10 to 50 pound pet, per United's website, the additional fee means the consumer will pay an additional $1,440 to $3,869, according to Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the U.S. military. The additional shipping cost has the greatest impact on military pet owners who live overseas. Shipping pets as cargo, rather than checked luggage, will lead to a better experience for pets, company spokeswoman Mary Ryan said, adding that pets will now have a dedicated staff and temperature-controlled vans instead of the inhospitable baggage compartment. The change is an adoption of an existing Continental Airlines program called PetSafe. United and Continental merged into one airline, called United, in October 2010.
Wal-Mart Horse A Victim of Rumspringa Fever
You can lead a horse to Wal-Mart (then leave him there)! "Horse, 9, seeks loving home. Previous experience includes providing economical transportation for Amish owner. Will work for hay." That might be the resume for a horse that Humane Society officials have nicknamed Wally, because he turned up tied to the buggy rail outside a Wal-Mart in Middlefield, Ohio. It seems that back in November, an Amish teenager steered Wally to the store, unhooked him from his buggy, tethered him to the rail and never came back. Kindly Wal-Mart staff looked after the standard bred steed until police came for him. Now, the local Humane Society is putting Wally up for adoption. During "Rumspringa," some Amish teens engage in very un-Amish behavior before choosing whether to remain in their community, including driving motorized vehicles. Could Wally's owner have come down with a bout of Rumspringa fever? Or was it just a case of putting the mart before the horse?
Who's Your Daddy?
It’s a storyline tailor-made for Jerry Springer, Maury Povich or even an episode of "The Bachelor." Except this "Who’s Your Daddy" mystery involves an unlikely quintet of five very hairy, four-legged suitors. It all began, when Flora, a 29-year-old female chimp at the Chimp Haven National Chimpanzee Sanctuary just south of Shreveport, La., unexpectedly gave birth to a healthy female chimp. Chimp Haven, a community for chimpanzees who have retired from medical research, the entertainment industry, or are no longer wanted as pets, requires that all males who go there to live out their golden years have vasectomies so that the community remains a retirement community, according to their website. Evidently, however, there was some monkeying around. "We do not know who the father is," Chimp Haven president Dr. Linda Brent says in a statement posted on the website. "We will be conducting DNA analysis as quickly as possible so that we can determine the father of the newborn and address his failed vasectomy." Staff at the Haven say they’ve narrowed the search down to five possibilities. In addition to solving the "Who’s Your Daddy" mystery, Chimp Haven is also in search of a way to support the new, still unnamed addition because it costs about $12,000 per year to maintain and house a chimp, and chimps can live for as long as 50 years.
Cemetery Welcomes Man's Best Friend
Families have been known to skirt cemetery rules in trying to reunite Fido or Patches with their owners, slipping a tiny tub of ashes into a casket or sprinkling their remains at a grave site when no one's looking. But come spring, animal lovers won't have to be so sneaky anymore at Standing Rock Cemetery. The public cemetery, operated by trustees on behalf of Kent and Franklin Township, Ohio, will allow burial of animal remains in a newly designated section of the cemetery. People may also be buried with the ashes of their pet in the area bordering the pet section. "I don't think people loved their pets less 50 years ago, but they take it a little more serious these days," trustee John Sapp said. "With our society moving in that direction, we thought it would be quite popular." It is rare to find a traditional cemetery that welcomes man's best friend.
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