Turns out money can buy you love, and it's unconditional love to boot!
There's nothing like the relationship between a human and her dog. People are great and all, but there's something different about having a constant companion who loves you no matter what you do. The only bad thing? A dog's life isn't nearly long enough — most live to be between 7 and 12 years old. If only there was a way to keep them around forever.
Well, you might not be able to extend your furry buddy's lifetime that long, but it is possible to create a lookalike. Louisiana veterinarian Dr. Phillip Dupont and his wife Paula created two dogs — Ken and Henry — using DNA from their now-deceased pup Melvin, according to NPR. And it only cost them a cool $100,000.
The Duponts didn't want to live a life without Melvin — who was likely part Catahoula and part Doberman — so when his health started to decline, they sent some of his skin cells to a lab in South Korea with the hope they would never have to say goodbye to their beloved family pet.
Located in Seoul, Sooam Biotect developed the technology to clone dogs and has made replicas of 600 canines to date. But behind those 600 cloned dogs are likely a lot more; the first cloned Melvin puppy died from distemper. Ken and Henry were the result of the Duponts' second cloning attempt.
Even though cloning is a (pricey) option, would you actually do it? The cloned dogs are similar, but they're not exactly the same. In the case of Ken and Henry, they have some physical differences from the original Melvin, and their personalities aren't totally alike. So if you're expecting to have a 100-percent identical dog to the one you're cloning, that probably won't be the case.
Aside from grieving pet owners with deep pockets, cloning canines is being considered for other purposes, too. Some dogs have been created for police agencies that need more pups with bomb-sniffing skills.
There's still a lot of controversy around cloning. Would you really want to replicate your best friend for a second lifetime when it's not really your best friend? Or is cherishing their memories and falling in love with a new pup a better option? The decision's all yours, but if you do want to go the cloning route, you better start saving your pennies now.