The long journey to clone my 2 beloved dogs began about a decade ago.
It was the year 2000 and my life was terrible. At 30 years old, I was poor and broke. I had driven a taxi for a couple of years and had for been working as a cable guy for almost a year. Years earlier my life was sweet. I had lots of money, a nice apartment, and was married to the most amazing girl that I loved with all my heart. Suffice it to say, I spent all my money and I separated from my wife. It was at that very moment my 2 wonderful dogs Wolfie and Bubble cared for my broken heart. Until this day, I have no idea how I would have made it through those horrible times without them.
A life Changing Moment
One day I was crawling in the dark under a customer's home somewhere in the Valley. I had a flash light in one hand and I was pulling cable in another. I was completely miserable. Dirt was on my hands and face and dust was in my mouth. Then, right there in the dark underneath some strangers house, something happened to me. I had a life changing moment.
I stopped what I was doing and there in the dark I spoke aloud and asked myself;
"What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm pulling cable under a house"
"Why are you pulling cable?"
"Because I'm a cable guy"
"Your 30 years old and this is it? This is your life? You're meant to be so much more than that. You were born to be a leader. What the hell are you doing? THIS IS NOT YOU!"
Then came the question of a lifetime..." Are you happy?" and the answer to that question changed my life forever. I made it a rule to ask myself this question every hour and every time I did the answer was the same. No.
The Next Morning...
Are you happy? No. Why? Because I have to wake up at 5 am to go to work and leave Wolfie and Bubble at home.
6:00 am....Are you happy? No. Why? Because I'm stuck in traffic on my way to work as a cable guy.
Then later... Are you happy? No. Why? Because I am at work and I miss Wolfie and Bubble terribly.
But at 6:00pm my answer was different.
Are you happy? YES! Why? Because I am on my way home to see Wolfie and Bubble!
This was how I realized what my priority in life was. It was happiness and my happiness was tied into my two dogs whom I considered my children.
A Crazy Idea
I had wanted to be a police officer and was applying at different departments around Los Angeles. But there was a problem. I was very attached to my dogs and if I was a cop it would mean long hours at work while they were home alone waiting for me.
My dogs were a huge part of my happiness and I wanted to always be around them. But what to do? What can I do to be with them and have a job at the same time? What about 10 years from now? They'll be very old or would already have passed away. What about then?
Well I had a crazy idea. I would start a company so that I can be the boss. As the boss, I can bring my doggies to work. I would start a company whose sole purpose was to make enough money so that I can pay to have them cloned when the time came.
I did a lot of research and found that although dog cloning was not yet available at the time, Scientist predicted that the technology would be available in about 10 years and would cost about 20 Million dollars.
I remember sitting there for a moment thinking.
"Hmmm. ......10 years and 20 million dollars and I am a cable guy."
My 10 Year Plan
I came up with a simple 10 year plan. I would start my own company and save money. Work hard, save, and live humbly. I did not know how to use a computer or know what it was I would do. I knew that I had a brain, two hand and two legs and can read and write. That and determination fueled by love was all I needed to get started. I knew that if there are other humans in this world that can reach success then I can too.
I bought a computer and went to the bookstore. I read and read. I have not stopped reading since. Today I feel I have walked a million miles. I am so very tired, but have finally reached my goal.
10 Year Mission
It was a 10 year mission. At the end of which I had hope to one day say," I am successful" I am successful at completing my mission to clone Wolfie and Bubble
But was not easy. In 10 years I have changed my life completely. I have traveled to different countries meeting manufactures and suppliers. Developed new products and implemented new ideas. Started 5 businesses and failed at one. I feel I have ran the whole entire time without stopping to take a breath and all along by my side were my best friends Wolfie and Bubble.
I named my company after my dog Wolfie. I promised myself that I would run Wolfie's company with honesty and integrity and would always treat customers fairly. I set my goals to make 20 Million dollars.
I never did make that amount but fortunately as the years passed and the cost of dog cloning came down, I had enough to pay for the cloning.
Bubble passed away in 2007. Wolfie died in my arms in February 2009. I know of no words that can express the pain my heart felt when Wolfie left me alone in this world. I buried my heart in a tiny grave and made Johnny Walker my best friend.
Sooam Biotech Research Foundation
In July of 2011, I found a dog cloning company in Korea.
Sooam Biotech Research Foundation run by the top cloning Scientist and father of Dog Cloning. Professor Hwang Woo-suk.
Professor Hwang was the first Scientist to successfully clone a dog. In fact he was the one who cloned Snuppy the World's first cloned dog that I had met back in May 2009. The reason I had never heard of Sooam before was because they were strictly a research company and did not advertise or offer dog cloning services until just recently.
My Experience with Sooam has been amazing. I finally found a company that actually cared about their customer. My experience with Sooam was completely opposite of my experience with RNL Bio.
Wow! What A Huge Difference!
From my very first contact with Sooam I was treated with care and compassion. The people there really understand the pain and suffering a pet owner goes through. All my emails and questions were answered promptly and thoroughly. From Beginning to End, Sooam was with me every step of the way. For the first time in 2 years I was no longer alone. Sooam was with me.
In November of 2011, I was invited by Sooam to visit their facility in Korea and to witness firsthand the entire cloning process and the birth of my Wolfie Clones. I had the esteem honor to meet Professor Hwang and the other Scientists and technicians at Sooam.
I also had the esteem honor to meet Professor Taeyoung Shin who cloned the World's first Cat and the World's first Deer. Professor Shin was my main contact from the start . He was there to greet me at the airport and made sure my stay was comfortable and entertaining. Professor Shin was with me every step of the way and at the end of my trip it was his kind smiling face that was the last thing I saw of Korea as I boarded my plane.
Surprise from Professor Hwang!
Professor Hwang and his staff welcomed me with open arms. It was as though I had been away on a long trip and had finally come back home. My first time meeting with Professor Hwang was very heartfelt and warm. I sat with him for a moment and showed him photos of Wolfie and Bubble. His eyes looked carefully at images of my two dogs. Then he looked up at me and told me that the Wolfie clones should not grow up alone. He was going to clone Bubble for free!
There is a moment in a man's life that defines the person he was and is about to become. The moment Professor Hwang told me he was going to clone Bubble, I suddenly found myself underneath a house in the dark asking myself if I was happy. 10 hard years flashed in a moment and I was back looking at him in disbelief.
Are you happy? Yes! Why?
Because I am successful.
Sooam Sucessfully Clone my Dogs in just 3 months!
2 healthy Wolfie Clones were born December 23rd, 2011 just 3 months from the time they received Wolfie's Cells. I am still in disbelief. I have waited for so long. I have been disappointed time and time again. I have been so use to waiting that even until now I'll take out my phone and stare at the images of the clones just to make sure I didn't dream it all. I'll have another chance to love them all over again.
Humane treatment of surrogate mothers
One of my concerns regarding cloning was the treatment of the surrogate mother of the dog clones. Sooam allowed me complete access to their entire process. I was able to film and take as many photos as I wanted. I can assure you that all animals under their care are treated humanely. The surrogates are never used more than twice for cloning purposes. They are tended to 24 hours a day around the clock. Once they have finished with the cloning process the surrogates are then sent to live the remainder of their lives at another location. It is expensive to care for these animals, Hence the $100,000 cost of cloning. A huge portion of the funds will go to after care of the surrogates.
Of course Sooam knows that there will be questions about what happens to Surrogates after cloning. As Sooam begins to offer dog cloning services to the world they intend to keep their doors wide open.