Carys Weldon Blog

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Korea's cloned drug sniffing dogs

In today's headlines, I saw an article about Korea cloning some drug sniffing dogs. They took a working labrador retriever, cloned it, made a litter of seven pups, and put them into training. One was dropped from the program due to injury. The other six, after 16 months of training, are now working at the job they were literally born to do. The guy in charge of the project was the assistant to the man who got in trouble for falsifying test scores or something back in the Snuppy Afghan Hound clone deal. I bring this news to you this morning because I know you probably couldn't have gone another minute without knowing the most important fact about this whole situation...all six dogs are named Toppy.

I don't know about you, but little things like an animal's name, drive me crazy when I see a story about an animal. A horse is stuck in the river. Locals try desperately for 17 hours to rescue it, but it is swept downstream. What's the horse's name? Who owns this poor horse? How did it get in the river in the first place? The info never surfaced. The horse was finally dragged with ropes and a chopper up the rocky cliff side because, for some crazy reason, it was easier to do that than fly it across the river to the flat side of the bank.

I watched a show recently where a town's elephant in India got caught in a mudbog. The whole town turned out to see if their lucky charm was going to live or die, to cheer it along, many getting into the mud, climbing into the chest high mud and going under the elephant--which is very tricky since the elephant was tired and slipping and falling down a lot--but the brave men of the village fought on...what WAS that elephant's name? I dunno. Something like Moombahtoe.

The real story in both the horse and elephant stories were the heroes that risked their lives to save one animal. As a horse lover, I was certainly stricken over the equine story. Somebody HAD to save it. The upshot of that tale was the owner was charged with neglect. It over-rode the story of the heroes who worked so hard to save the animal. As much as I wanted the horse saved, I was actually ill at the end of it. More because I realized the value those locals had put on the horse. I mean, entire search and rescue and firemen teams were on the job to save it, costing the taxpayers a ton of overtime money... and I wondered... are people at risk because this who team of rescuers are out playing hero at the river? I was afraid to go and read the town's fire marshall report to see if there were any fires that day.

The elephant? My mother has a huge elephant collection. (The non-eating types.) So, I've learned something you probably already knew... elephant statues with their trunks up are symbols of good luck. You can imagine what a real elephant, tired enough to give up, could do to a whole town of believers that their luck was completely tied to the health and safety of this animal in the mud.

You'd think, if their entire town's luck depended on the creature's safety and health that someone would've been watching it better in the first place so it couldn't get in the mud bog. Therefore, thinking... it's their own fault, could have given some folks a bit of pleasure at watching the dummies who let their god-bles-sed being to stroll without supervision when it had such a ditch close by.

Anyhow, I had to give kudo's to the scrawny little men in their village who literally took their lives at risk to carry ropes under the elephant and mud, so they could try to pull it out. And more to the itty bitty man who cimbed on the thing's back, despite the slipperyness and the all-over threat of being rolled over on. I hope you're getting the full image. The mud was so slippery and deep, a person could easily go under, get sucked deeper, and never come out again. We're not talking two inches of it.

Interesting enough, the heroes that were interviewed after the elephant was saved said they took comfort, when they held their breath and went under the mud and elephant, because they could feel the elephant, cold as she was. They took strength from her presence, and her trust that they would save her. I thought it was simple and sweet, their trust between the creature and the men working to get her to safety. The simplicity of the women and children watching pensively on the side banks, praising the men and elephant, and praying...

You just don't see a village come together like that very often. It was a little like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, after he'd done his dirty deed and it looked like all was lost, and they pulled together to sing and dance anyway. And then, voila!, Christmas returned.

I felt like I had been slipping and crawling through the mud by the time they got that packaderm onto dryer ground. Ditto with the horse in the freezing river.

But, as much an animal lover as I am, I've begun to question the way we people do things. As you know, I have a 3-4 lb yorkie named Pixie. We also have Mojo back, who is the 4 lb yorkie we bought for our third daughter on her 16th birthday instead of a car. They don't like each other much. I believe that'll change after they get a little you know what. But...these silly little dogs are like kids to me.

I have them on my lap or at my feet pretty much 24/7. The only time I get a break from them is when I have to go to the dr. or something and leave them home alone. And sometimes I send them over to my OTHER daughter's house, so they can hang with Pixie's half brother, Tonka. He's about the same size, too. We are ridiculous pet owners. Pixie has a hot pink and black polka dot dress with rhinestones on it. They all have sweaters and hoodies, matching harnesses and leashes.

I've rushed Mojo to the vet at 10 pm because he jumped off the couch and acted like he'd broken his back leg. As it turns out, it is a normal knee cap displacement thing yorkies sometimes have, and it was back in place in seconds, but because I was still worried, I had to have him checked out. Only cost me $125 for the vet to try not to laugh in my face and suggest I buy him some stairs to get up and down from the couch and bed. My husband, who paid the bill, frowned the whole time.

As much as he loves the dog, he comes from the old school farm where you shoot a dog in the head if he outlives his usefulness, breaks a leg, goes blind...or anything like that. But he's a tender heart, and the bottom line is... he was okay with me running Mojo to the vet if he really needed something. But when it turned out to be a knee issue... well, let's just say he wasn't happy about the cash cost of finding out the news, and I got a lecture on taking a moment to breathe before committing to an hour round trip drive and couple hundred bucks. You know, weigh the cost of a replacement dog versus what this COULD cost us at the vet.

But...if it was a kid, you wouldn't hesitate to get it to the doctor, I say in my defense, cuddling my baby, turned away from DADDY or grandpa or whatever I want to call him at the moment (Maybe Mr. Meany.)

So, what do you think? Shouldn't pet owners be sensible? But shouldn't they be willing to do the vet thing if needed?

Do you think the horse owner should've been charged with neglect?

And here I am thinking about the waste of expense to save the one mustang, worrying about how much it cost the town. I worry about the people who may have been endangered because the rescue teams were at the river.

The elephant? I fully understand. Primitive India town, folks living in huts, no electricity, and it was their god-creature. The luck of the tribe was in the balance as far as they were concerned.

And here I circle back to the original thing that got me started. Cloned critters. How long before people like me have the option of having our favorite pets cloned? Not long if you live in the right country.

I wonder, would you rather have a natural descendent of your favorite pet, or a clone of it? Oh, and by the way, the cloned labradors are all named Toppy. Guess the Koreans have a sense of humor. At first, I thought they were lazy. Just come up with one name, make it easy on themselves because the dogs are identical. But then I, they're just funny people.

But people pushing the limits on every civilized level. We should keep an eye on them. I say, the best way to do it is probably go to eat at Korean restaurants regularly. We may find a conspiracy.

More on conspiracies later. ;)

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Posted by CarysWeldonblog :: 5:35 AM :: 0 Comments:

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