Cloning Man's Best Friend: How Far Would You Go to Keep Fido?

According to Hawthorne, his company has had a 25 percent success rate with the process. In fact, Missy has three clones, including Mira.

All three puppies were carried by different surrogate mothers — in this case "large yellow dogs" that Hawthorne said are indigenous to Korea, where the actual cloning took place.

To Clone or Not to Clone

While some may be thrilled at the idea of cloning their favorite four-legged friend, critics contend this process could make the jump to human cloning much easier to imagine because many see dogs as friends and even part of the family.

Also, Center for Genetics and Society ethicist Marcy Darnovsky is concerned about BioArts' work with disgraced Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-Suk, which she believes raises serious questions.

Woo-Suk, a South Korean scientist and professor, gained international attention in 2004 when he said his research team successfully cloned a human embryo and produced stem cells from it.

A year later, however, he resigned in disgrace when an investigation said he used unacceptable practices to acquire the eggs from human donors and then faked two landmark pieces of research in the matter.

Beyond the Woo-Suk connection, Darnovsky has another problem with the dog-cloning program.

"I think the key concern with the cloned dog is that we are not seeing all the puppies that didn't make it," she said.

Hawthorne said the puppies that don't make it never get beyond the very early stages. He added that all the dogs used to produce clones are cared for.

Even if dissent in the scientific community exists, for some owners, the idea of having a piece of their favorite furry pet is enough to make them want to participate.

When Los Angeles writer, director and musician Liam Lynch's cat Frankie Forcefield was run over by a car and killed, he put it in the refrigerator, called Hawthorne's company and had his cat cloned. Lynch said his new replica cat, Finnegan, helped him get over the grief of Frankie's death.

He said Finnegan is an exact copy. Not only does Finnegan look like Frankie, his mannerisms and quirks are exactly the same, Lynch said.

Lynch even made a podcast about his decision to have his cat cloned.

"Seeing those eyes again," said Lynch. "It was very strange and you have a lot of weird emotions that are you don't have names for the emotions. It's kind of like, 'I know we've just met but it's so great to see you again.'"

For more information on BioArts International click here and click here for information on the Best Friends Again program.

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