Diane von Furstenberg & Barry Diller cloned their beloved Jack Russell terrier

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I’ve had animals all my life. I’ve had dogs and cats that I’ve adored and wished I could have again. I sort of wish my current dog was immortal too, because he’s so good-natured and he’s more like a roommate than a dog. But I don’t think I would ever clone one of my beloved animals. I just don’t think that’s the point of loving animals – each animal has their personality, their own quirks, their own spark. Why try to recreate that by cloning a deceased pet? But Diane Von Furstenberg and her husband Barry Diller do not feel the same way. They had a much beloved Jack Russell terrier named Shannon. Shannon passed away at some point recently, and DVF and Diller cloned Shannon.

Media billionaire Barry Diller has cloned his beloved Jack Russell terrier, Shannon, into two new pups. Sources say Diller, the chairman of IAC, became so attached to Shannon that he got the pampered pooch’s DNA cloned by a specialist company, which created a pair of puppies who are almost exact replicas.

Shannon was no ordinary terrier: One year, she disturbed his annual pre-Oscars picnic with designer Diane von Furstenberg by finding her way onto the Spanish-tile roof of the couple’s hacienda. Shannon proceeded to run back and forth perilously close to the edge, in view of worried guests including Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins and Diana Ross, forcing Diller to head up to the roof deck to lure her down. The Post also reported that Shannon slept in a grand, custom-made, neoclassical doghouse when she was not making the scene at LA Oscar parties.

Cloning dogs costs up to $100,000, and is done by a Korean firm that implants DNA into a dog egg. A rep for Diller confirmed the cloning but didn’t comment further.

[From Page Six]

Again, I understand how you could love a pet that much. I understand the desire, the thought, the inclination to clone a beloved pet. But again, why? If Diller and DVF loved Shannon so much, they likely would have been just as happy with non-cloned Jack Russell puppies. Or, you know, go to a shelter and pick out a couple of sweet-tempered rescue dogs who would love forever homes.

Here’s a photo of Shannon:

DVF1

Photos courtesy of WENN, Instagram.

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69 Responses to “Diane von Furstenberg & Barry Diller cloned their beloved Jack Russell terrier”

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  1. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    The problem with cloning animals or anything that isn’t an inanimate object (because really if cloning were not entirely genetic it’d be ideal for non-living objects) is it makes absolutely no sense. Though that hasn’t stopped people with money before.

    There is no way of cloning the the aspects of personality that made you fall in love with your dog. Sometimes ironically we can’t even get a perfect clone so this mirror image you’re expecting to have run into your arms could look totally different. Then the health issues of taking aging cells and expecting them to function as a template for a new living creature?

    So yeah, interesting science stuff aside this is purely a money grab from those who don’t know better.

    • CatFoodJunkie says:

      Exactly! It’s nature vs. nurture. DNA doesn’t absorb the life lessons and experiences that form a personality.

    • Katenotkatie says:

      My family’s beloved Jack Russell passed last year and it was very hard for everyone, but yeah I don’t think a cloned Molly would be the same. Photos and video and memories are enough.

  2. Narak says:

    Frankenwienie! It’s the reincarnation of Ribsy!

  3. Mimz says:

    This is the kind of sh*t that scares me about this world.

    • Snowflake says:

      Me too! Cause if we can clone pets, how long will it be before we start cloning humans?really freaks me out

      • Tifygodess24 says:

        Well there have been rumors out there for a while that they have cloned humans , but it just depends on what you read and believe. That’s what is scary to me. Major money in this world gets you whatever you want. I’m sure there are things going on behind closed doors that would terrify us all.

      • Bread and Circuses says:

        But nature already clones humans. They’re called “twins” and “triplets”, etc.

        It’s actually not creepy at all; a clone is just an identical twin born years later. And there would be as much difference between the clone and the original person as there is between identical twins, i.e. they’ll have similarities, but they won’t be the same person, and they won’t quite look the same.

      • Aurelia says:

        It’s so cute that people think scientists haven’t already cloned homo sapiens.

      • pinetree13 says:

        Thanks Bread and Circuses…that’s what I was going to say!

        I’ll go one step further, a cloned human would actually be even LESS similar than identical twins are. Because a clone would be carried by a different womb and thus receive different food, different pre-natal exposures, different birth, etc. Whereas identical twins would be in the same womb receiving the same food, and be carried for the exact same length of time.

        Therefore even at the exact moment of birth a clone is already more different than an identical twin would be. The “clone” would completely be their own person.

      • Snowflake says:

        Well, that puts a different spin on it. Hmmmm

  4. dr mantis toboggan says:

    If I had the money, I would have done it in a heartbeat. Love and grief do not respond to reason

    • Anne tommy says:

      If you want a pet to live longer than you do, get a tortoise or a parrot. Don’t get a cat or a dog if you can’t face it dying before you do. And none of this BS – which you didn’t say dr m t but others certainly do – that losing a pet is like losing a child. Inaccurate and insulting. It isn’t.

      • Tash says:

        People comparing animals to children makes my blood boil…and this comes from a childless woman who has no interest of having any in the near future.

      • Phellange says:

        @Tash: animals ARE indeed like children and people being ignorant about the love people have for their children or their animal children make -my- blood boil…to use your phrasing.

        when you never raised an animal from beginning to end you can’t participate in a conversation about animals being like children at all.

        and in a way a dog or a cat stays a child for it’s whole life. depending on you making the right choices for them and taking good care of them while human children…stay your child of course but will make choices of their own someday.

      • Tifygodess24 says:

        Well ladies (tash and Anne) some animal lovers might see it completely different and disagree with you. And it may also be insulting to them how you view it, just like you say it is to you. Love has no limits and we all view things differently.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I would never say that losing a pet is like losing a child, but your lack of compassion for the pain it does cause makes it pretty obvious that you have no idea how much you can love your dog or cat. Don’t tell people how to grieve, or what animal to buy, or how to describe their grief. It’s really none of your business.

      • Tash says:

        @Phellange – are you assuming I never had a pet? I did…and I am now. I never raised a child though.
        @Tifgodess – And I respect their opinions.

      • paranomalgirl says:

        Some people DO view their pets as children. And there is nothing wrong with that. If it makes your blood boil, that’s YOUR issue.

      • JenYfromTheBlok says:

        Losing a pet is similar to losing a child, but not quite the same. We anticipate the lifespan of a pet, while we don’t with our children per se, that’s the stress factor that makes a difference. I must say that as a single mother from birth to ten years later (present) I have never left my child in a kennel nor leashed in front of the grocery store. I love my pets, of course, but the required level of human care far surpass the care required of our canine “children”.

      • Tash says:

        @paranormalgirl – it’s just my opinion…everyone has one. And one of the reasons why we come here is to voice those opinions. I didn’t single out anyone here and attack them because of theirs.

      • Anne tommy says:

        Anyone who has ever had a pet understands how difficult it is to lose them, and I still remember very fondly pets I had decades ago. And I have been upset when my daughter’s pet gerbils, hamsters and rats have died (pet rats are very appealing once you get to know them). But you go into pet ownership with your eyes open – a dog or cat living beyond 15 is relatively unusual – and you keep a sense of perspective and proportion. Treating pets like quasi children does neither party any favours. And we comment all the time on this site on things that are really none of our business and I don’t expect that will stop any time soon.

    • Tash says:

      Yeah, I’m sure Shannon is happy to see them again.

    • missmerry says:

      I truly believe money makes all the difference in situations/decisions like this.

      for us poor folk, even having a dog that was from the same breeder (like a distant relative of your deceased pet) would suffice, if not just adopting another dog or cat of the same breed.

  5. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    I had a beloved kitty that died in 2008- he was more like a human in a cat body than a cat. I was so heartbroken when he died that I wished that I had the means to clone him. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t because 1) there is no guarantee the personality would be the same, and 2) I read Pet Sematary.
    *nervous laugh, followed by slight shudder*

    • HK9 says:

      So I’m not the only one who can’t get Pet Sematary out of their head!!

      • GingerCrunch says:

        Such a classic that 30 years later the thought of it can still make me shudder.

      • Lady D says:

        Mr. King, in an interview, stated he half wrote Pet Sematary and then threw it in a desk drawer because it scared him too badly. It was a couple of years later while cleaning out his desk, his wife saw and read the manuscript and urged him to finish it.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I actually lost my cat this January (he went into kidney failure) and I was devastated. I’d had him for nearly 15 years and the idea of him no longer being there was just incomprehensible. Even with that grief, though, I never would have cloned him. Now that it’s been about 2 months, I still feel the same. I loved him, I had many wonderful years with him, and now I’ve had to say goodbye.

      That said, Pet Semetary wasn’t actually cloning, lol. They resurrected the freaking animal, no wonder it turned evil. Man, Stephen King’s stuff is so twisted. :P

      • Phellange says:

        LadyMTL I am very sorry for your loss. i know how it feels and I understand your pain fully.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        LadyMTL, we lost our ginger tom this summer and I miss him so much. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It really hurts.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Lady MTL, I feel your grief, and hope you feel lightness soon. Mine was always by my side- from sick while pregnant & growling at people who approached the house, to laying on my shoulder every night, purring and comforting me through unrelated grief, to tolerating three toddlers’ groping with infinite patience and love. It took me a good two years to feel some sense of lessened pain. I still to this day tear up when I think of him.
        Grief can be palpable, be it the loss of a human or otherwise.

        I know that cloning does not equal burial in a … ?damned? place. My parallel thought was that bringing something back after it leaves you in no way guarantees the very same being returns. Imagine your loved pet cloned and coming back vicious… or just an asshole. Either way, it is not what you lost, ya know?

      • Magnoliarose says:

        Sorry for your loss. I lost 3 kitty babies last year. I cry even now about them. My dog kept me going and my children. We all cried and had ceremonies but I still can’t look at old photos yet. We have a 9 month old jokester cat we adopted and she has helped bring joy to all of us including our 8 pound dog who thinks the 12 pound cat is her baby.

  6. Crumpet says:

    Aw. God bless.

  7. littlemissnaughty says:

    I don’t understand why anyone would do this. Life and death go together, deal with it. I know that sounds harsh but come one, this is insane.

    • Crumpet says:

      Just because you can do something…

      Seriously though, I hardly think cloning a pet qualifies as insanity.

  8. SusanneToo says:

    I certainly understand the impulse-I’d give just about anything to have my Bebe and Bo back, but I’d never be able to go through with it. There are so many wonderful dogs just waiting for rescue, for a home. That’s where I go.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s how I feel too. I understand the impulse, but wouldn’t.
      That $100K could help so many shelters and rescues, or other causes too.

      • Polkasox says:

        Exactly. How many animals would this money benefit?? Hundreds. I love my dog & will be devastated when he dies, but I wouldn’t clone him. My husband & I have said many times how he is the dog we will compare all of our other dogs to, he’s just that sweet and well-behaved. But a clone wouldn’t guarantee he would have the same personality. Plus the genes used to clone would inevitably lead to the same health problems that killed the animal – I have a golden, they are extremely prone to cancer, so his clone would be too.

  9. Tash says:

    This is what happens when people have more money than they need and not enough sense.

  10. Nancy says:

    This is God’s way of saying you have too much money.

  11. AlmondJoy says:

    My heart goes out to them for the loss of their beloved dog. Cloning freaks me out though and I don’t think it should be done.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I’m with you. When we lost our Westie, I had to put my face in my pillow and scream for about ten minutes. It hurt so much. And our sweet cat died this summer. I keep dreaming about him. But cloning seems disrespectful to the circle of life or something. It creeps me out.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        😣 so painful. I’m very sorry for your loss as well. I love the name Westie. What was your cat’s name?

        Our thinking is the same on the matter. Cloning just doesn’t feel right.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        His name was Morrison. We adopted him and that was already his name. He used to put his “arms” around your neck and lay his head on your shoulder. So sweet.

      • Susie M. says:

        @GNAT I know what you mean. I lost my 14 yr old dog last summer. The grief was suffocating for the first week and it took about two full weeks before I could get through the day without crying. It’s been 8 months and although it’s a little easier, I still miss him so much it hurts. I will admit there were times I wished we could have cloned him, as he was a near perfect dog, the kind that comes around once in a lifetime.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        GNAT – so sorry about the loss of your Westie and cat. I still cry over my animals who died years ago. A broken heart still beats, but I will always miss them and look forward to the day when I can see them again at the Rainbow Bridge.

        And Morrison is an *excellent* name. (I may be a tad biased since it is my maiden name IRL.)

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Love the name, GNAT 😘 Would you like to adopt another?

  12. Melody says:

    I’d get judgy, but I read the same books over and over because I’m risk averse – what if I invest the time in a new book and it is the next Gone Girl? (Shudder)

  13. Brittney B. says:

    “Or, you know, go to a shelter and pick out a couple of sweet-tempered rescue dogs who would love forever homes.”

    This exactly. I can empathize with loving your pet so deeply that your grief seems unbearable without a carbon copy. But even a clone isn’t *really* your original pet (not to mention… there’s no way to replicate the conditioning that influenced your pet’s unique personality). And once you move past that pain, you can turn it into something awesome: saving another life.

    All my pets are rescues, and getting to know their personalities has brought me so much joy and fulfillment. I love the fact that we found each other, and I dread the day I lose any of them… but the best way to honor their legacy will be to give another animal a chance.

    Not to mention all the lives that could be saved with the money this costs… or the welfare of the dogs who are impregnated and forced to give birth for this purpose. UGH UGH UGH. I constantly dream of what I could do for animals if I had enough money; this would not be it.

    • Suzy from Ontario says:

      I agree Brittney B. There’s so many wonderful dogs needing homes, even particular breeds have rescues. They could have gone to a Jack Russell rescue and adopted one or two that desperately need a good home. I mean, at least go and see, give them a chance… see if you fall in love with one, before doing this. It just feels wrong to me, and such a waste of money that could help so many others who are in need.

      We have 5 cats and 2 dogs. Like you Brittany, I love seeing their personalities come out and knowing that they have a good and loving home, especially after an abusive and scary start in life for some. Give an animal a chance!

    • PunkyMomma says:

      Me, too. All of my pets have been rescue and boy, what I wouldn’t give to have my last cat, Morpheus, back. But cloning him would be blasphemous — his personality was unique and that can’t be cloned. My heart goes out to anyone who loses a fur friend, and maybe they acted out of grief — it’s their money. But I think I would have donated that cash to a rescue shelter, waited a while and then look into another rescue — but that’s just me.

  14. DeeDee says:

    Anyone who has loved an animal knows the heartbreak of losing one. I always say that my dog was my greatest joy and sorrow wrapped up into one. Cloning isn’t the answer for all of the reasons everyone has mentioned.

  15. thaisajs says:

    Genuinely curious about this (although I would never do it). Do they name one of the puppies Shannon? Even though they’re clones, they don’t really act like the original Shannon, do they? Do the dogs just look like her or do they share her personality?

    • Snowflake says:

      I was wondering that too.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      You can’t clone personality, but if the dog was raised from birth by them and doesn’t have any hidden neurological disorders the. It should be pretty even tempered and happy go lucky.

  16. A says:

    I lost my baby cat after 13 yrs together and it does hurt like a b!tch. That was two years ago. But I would never have her cloned. She is just gone.

  17. me says:

    I just saw a show about this last night. Very interesting but also very disturbing. Next, we’ll be cloning humans. Could you imagine giving birth to your own clone??? It’s almost possible. I don’t like any of this.

  18. Amelie says:

    Gosh I miss my bichon frisé Milou a lot. He had to be put to sleep in the summer of 2014. No one from the family was there to hold him (my mom had just dropped him offat the vet clinic for a blood transfusion and when they called to say there was no hope my mom just didn’t have it in her to drive back, she had bawled her eyes out dropping him off). He was 15 so he lived a nice long life. Still have his collar and a pillow with a picture of him on it my mom gave me for Christmas this past year.

    But I would not want him cloned!! He was a one of a kind dog.

  19. Julie Smith says:

    Uuummm…. that’s not a Jack Russell. We’ve owned JRTs for years and know several breeders. There are differing “types” within the breed–Parson Jacks, English Jacks, Jacks with smooth-, broken- and wire-haired coats–but no purebred JRT has large pointed ears like a rat terrier. Just saying :-)

    • JudyK says:

      Agree. I responded below before reading what you said.

    • pinetree13 says:

      That was my reaction too. That’s no Jack Russell.

      LOL you just reminded me of a very funny memory. When my beloved dog was in puppy school there was a couple there with a chihuahua looking dog. I said “that is such a cute chihuahua!” instead of looking pleased they both glared at me and said “he’s a Jack Russell terrier” and I said “oh sorry, he’s a jack russell mix?” and again, they both glared at me and said “no, just Jack Russell”.
      You should have seen their faces when the very NEXT week a new person joined the class who , by pure coincidence, had an ACTUAL Jack Russell Terrier and I said “what a cute little jack russell” and the owner goes “thanks!” Seriously, you should have seen their faces. I didn’t say anything to them but you could tell by their shock that they were just realizing that they were WRONG about their dog (which seriously looked full-blooded chihuahua to me but whatever!!!!)

      Thanks for bringing back that memory, makes me smile.

  20. JudyK says:

    That’s a Jack Russell??? He has the biggest ears I’ve ever seen. I just lost my 12-year-old Jack Russell three weeks ago, and it is still haunting me. I reach down from my tv chair and pretend I’m petting him.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Oh, JudyK, I’m sorry. I hope you feel some lightness beginning soon. We so anthropomorphize them they become a true family member.

  21. Aurelia says:

    Clones are totally defective. They have lowered I.Q, agression and accelerated aging. Basically the internal organs pack up and the animal doesn’t make it out of the juvenile stage. Good luck with wasting 100K.

    Remember Dolly the sheep the first large scale mamal to be cloned. It was a joint effort by the world leading Agricultural College Massey University here in New Zealand, in a city called Palmerston North which is 45 mins away from me. Along with a well regarded English University. What they didn’t tell the world was Dolly and here subsequent clone issue were riddled with issues. I certainly would not clone a dead pet. Those clone companies selling hope in a test tube are revolting.

    • pinetree13 says:

      I’ve read they’ve come a long way since Dolly and today’s clones aren’t riddled with the same issues that yesterdays were.

      That said, I don’t think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. A new puppy is probably still a lot healthier than a cloned one and you can’t replace your fur baby.

  22. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    On a barely tangentially related note, did anyone read the story of a Dr. Valenti, a Mayo Clinic trained cardiologist, who has cultured edible meat in a lab? Memphis Meats is the name of the company. Harvestable in 9-21 days, I think, chicken beef or pork- imagine the ripple effect this will have culturally and economically. Crazy stuff.
    (apologies for the thread contamination)