Famous 9/11 rescue dog gets cloned – five times over

Commercial Dog Cloning Service Duplicates Five Puppies from 9/11 Hero Dog
Search and rescue dogs are all too often the unsung heroes of natural disasters, man-made disasters and warfare. Dogs are serving with honor and distinction with our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and every major police force in America as a canine unit. So it comes as no shock that there were many amazing search and rescue dogs working at Ground Zero after the World Trade Center attack on September 11th. One of these dogs (and his owner, James Symington) was Canadian – a German shepherd named Trakr (which I suppose is pronounced “tracker”). Symington volunteered to work with Trakr in the wake of the attacks, and Trakr ended up finding the last survivor in the rubble.

Trakr passed away in April, but Symington had already entered and won an essay contest. The prize was … a dog cloning. Symington just took possession of five German shepherd puppies that are exact clones of Trakr. Symington plans to train the puppies to be search and rescue dogs like Trakr:

James Symington is about to find out whether you can clone heroism.

The retired Canadian police officer – who took part in the rescue operation after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City – is scheduled to take possession Wednesday of five puppies cloned using DNA from his beloved late German shepherd Trakr, the rescue dog credited with finding the last survivor in the smoking rubble of Ground Zero.

Symington, who won the opportunity to have Trakr cloned in an essay contest last year, first met his new pups in an emotional encounter on June 14.

“They’re identical – down to the smallest detail,” Symington said in a statement released by BioArts International, the California company that arranged the intricate cloning procedure. “Few dogs are born with exceptional abilities – Trakr was one of those dogs.” Symington said that if the puppies have the same abilities as Trakr, he intends to put them to work as search and rescue dogs.

Trakr died in April at the age of 16. The actual cloning using his DNA took place at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea and was led by Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk, who produced the world’s first canine clone in 2005. The goal was to create one clone, CBS News reported, but five genetically identical puppies resulted from surrogate pregnancies. The first of the pups was born on Dec. 8 of last year and the last arrived April 4.

[From People]

I have mixed feelings about this. I think, in general, whatever people want to do with their money and their time, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, who really cares? It’s not as if Symington spent his life’s savings having his dog cloned – it was a service provided to him because he won a contest. But for me, as an animal lover, the joy of loving a pet is seeing their individual personality and how it grows and develops. I realize that Trakr might have had some really special, amazing qualities, but so would other German shepherds. Still, I’m happy for this guy, and he’s going to have his hands full with five identical puppies. Good luck with that, seriously.

Commercial Dog Cloning Service Duplicates Five Puppies from 9/11 Hero Dog

Commercial Dog Cloning Service Duplicates Five Puppies from 9/11 Hero Dog

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21 Responses to “Famous 9/11 rescue dog gets cloned – five times over”

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  1. Kayleigh says:

    I know people have mixed feeling about cloning, but come on! How can you not think that’s one of the cutest things I’ll see today. :D At least they aren’t cloning war dogs or something. O_O

    Although I don’t understand why they would make five puppies.

    Also whether or not these puppies will act exactly like Trakr, it is questionable and depends on your views of psychological development theories.

  2. ash says:

    I’m a sucker for the pups.

  3. I Choose Me says:

    Those pups are adorable. That is all.

  4. My two favorite things combined: German Shepherds and puppies. If I have any mixed feelings, they’re buried between me oggling and ooing and awwwing over these puppies. :o )

  5. cara says:

    Cloning = bad, very bad idea.

    And Kayleigh, be warned….if they are doing this for the general pop, it’s been going on in secret for a very long time. Actually, the SS was working on this and when we won the war, we brought those doc’s over here to work for us. THIS is a very, VERY bad thing. Get over the “cuteness”.

  6. rbsesq says:

    Kayleigh, I haven’t looked into it, but I bet the mortality rate in cloning is very high, so it’s like implanting several fertilized eggs with in vitro and hoping at least one takes.

  7. Frenchie says:

    I think it’s wrong anyway. It starts there, and finish somewhere else.
    Reproduction has a goal : evolution ; and therefore selection of the new combinations of genes that are th most adapted to a changing environment.
    I remember the dolly clone. I think it is already dead because they took a mammal cell, and every cell in our body has a determined time to live. Hopefully (or not…) they will have better chosen this time.
    By the way Asian cultures always amazed me with their respect toward individual lifes

  8. Annie says:

    By the way Asian cultures always amazed me with their respect toward individual lifes

    Insulting blanket statement much?

    Besides, the people who’ve requested it, from what I can gather, aren’t just Asian.

    Try not to make ignorant statements like that again. Ok? Ok.

    Also. I can understand the desire to have your pet cloned. It’s the same as wanting to clone yourself and continue on. It’s that notion of immortality. It’s why we have myths like the fountain of youth and becoming demi-gods.

  9. geronimo says:

    @Frenchie – like you, I have very mixed feelings about it. Dolly was euthanised age 6 because of premature onset of arthritis and lung disease, amid reports of high risk of premature ageing in clones.

    Annie – Ignorant?? How the hell was Frenchie ignorant?? I think maybe it’s your reading comprehension skills that are at fault here. Your remark to her is rude and offensive. Just a reminder also, not everyone’s first language is English. :roll:

  10. MomInNH says:

    I’ve had some pretty amazing pets, but I don’t know that I would ever be comfortable cloning them. It’s not really “them” any more, is it? Do the cloned animals have the same mannerisms? The same behaviors, intelligence or personality?

    I have to admit I don’t know a whole lot about cloning. I do remember when Dolly the sheep was cloned, and did some reading about it at the time. But haven’t really looked into it since then.

  11. fizXgirl314 says:

    this is just the natural progression of science… just accept it and you’ll be fine…

    and i think that statement about asians IS kind of ignorant… i mean, how did you even come to that conclusion?

    these puppies are soooo cuuuute!!!!

  12. Ana says:

    I didn’t think Frenchie’s statement was offensive. The Asian culture does give individual lives high respect. Other cultures do too as well…

  13. Orangejulius says:

    From what I understand, the personality is not identical. If you knew what was happening in other fields like this, you wouldn’t be able to sleep. I watched a special about how they are –this close to being able to produce human beings that are so far advanced than we are now in intelligence that it would be like comparing us to chimpanzees.

    I don’t necessarily think cloning is wrong, but it does open a doorway into some really scary scenarios. How you could possibly regulate this I don’t know. Imagine N. Korea or a few others getting hold of this and developing a super race. Que horror flick music!!!

    Sorry to rain on everyone’s cute puppy parade. Always the little ray of sunshine, here.

  14. fizXgirl314 says:


  15. Annie says:

    The Asian culture does give individual lives high respect.

    I took her response to be sarcastic, implying that they don’t give individual lives high respect. If she meant what you think Ana, then I rescind my prior statement.

    Just a reminder also, not everyone’s first language is English.

    I’m very well aware of that, considering most of my family’s first language is not English. But continue to pretend like you know me, it’s fun to watch.

  16. Ellie says:

    I love puppies, but I’m not sure about how I feel about cloning. I hope they all stay healthy.

  17. Yae says:

    I see cloning everytime I look at Pat Robertson’s (CBN University) son.
    Just when we thought the wicked man would go away and die of old age………
    And his son thinks JUST like he does, ready to keep up that empire.
    Look at his son one day. Spitting image. Beyond spitting image.
    If he’s not cloned, he should at least be a warning to us all.

  18. Ana says:

    It’s very difficult to tell what people mean. I can understand how you could misunderstand what Frenchie was trying to say. For all I know I could be the one who read it incorrectly. :)

    Now let’s all kiss and make up!

  19. BlueSkies says:

    There are too many animals being euthanized in shelters because there is not enough homes for them. This is irresponsible but I understand why someone would do it.

  20. Marshall says:

    Leann and I have two German shepherds and they’re bot wonderful dogs. They could have been service dogs, but did not make the cut. So instead they are our loving pets. The guide dog facility they came from breeds out undesirable characteristics and thus promote the good ones. The other way to virtually garauntee those desirable qualities or skills I suppose is to make a genetic copy of that dog. Be it for the intent to use those dogs as service dogs wether it be for guide, drug, police, search, etc….right on! But before to long I imagine it will be quite public technology and for the right price you could clone your own dog to replace the companionship from your last dog. That’s when it gets weird. Besides, with the dog overpopulation that’s the last thing the animal loving community wants because let’s face it… We just can’t afopt as many dogs as we would “really” like to have. So for service dogs that will be given the proper training I day it’s okay and will be an interesting story to follow with these 5 shepherds, but when it comes to cloning your dearly departed dogs I say not nevcessary. Have you seen total recall? Re-pet…creepy.

  21. BlueSkies says:

    Who is Leann?