They knew Marley was the perfect dog. So when it came time to say goodbye to their beloved Labrador, Alicia and David Tschirhart did what they had to do to keep a part of Marley alive — they cloned him.
Ziggy’s resemblance to Marley, the California couple say, is uncanny.
“They have the same personality, they play the same, they favor the same toys,” Alicia told KGTV of the new animal in their lives.
While cloning your pet seems like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie, it’s actually been done more often than you’d think.
In 2018, actress and singer Barbara Streisand revealed that two of her dogs were clones of a previous dog. In South Korea, a sniffer dog that was known for his “legendary” nose was cloned to produce seven other sniffer dogs. And in 2009, five puppies were cloned from Trakr, a hero dog that is credited with finding the last survivor beneath the rubble of the 9/11 attacks in New York.
The cloning process for Marley was done through ViaGen Pets, they said. The company lists the price at a steep $50,000. The Tschirharts, who live in Escondido, told KGTV that it was a small price to pay.
After all, Marley may have saved Alicia’s life. It was the least they could do.
When Alicia was about four months pregnant, the couple, dog in tow, went out on a hike. Alicia reached down to grab a walking stick, but Marley darted out and started clawing at the ground in the area where she was reaching.
“I just saw this really big stick and so I was focused on grabbing that,” Alicia said. “I didn’t even see the snake until Marley started clawing.”
What was hiding off the trail was a venomous rattlesnake. Marley chased it away, the couple said. He later was diagnosed with cancer and died about five years ago, according to KUSI.
Now, the couple say their children will have more than just a memory of Marley to grow up with.
“I just couldn’t think of any better way to do that. To have, you know, their years growing up to have Ziggy around,” David said.