German Shepherd “Trakr” Died 2 Months Ago, But Lineage Will Live On Thanks To 5 Genetically Identical Puppies.
A dog made famous for its heroics in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks has succesfully been cloned by BioArts, a California-based company.
Trakr, a German Sheppard rescue dog from Nova Scotia, helped rescue victims at Ground Zero eight years ago. The dog actually pulled the last remaining survivor from the rubble itself, and his owner, James Symington, believes that was merely one example of Trakr’s abilities.
“His heroic work at Ground Zero was just a culmination of his amazing career,” Symington said.
But in 2008, as Trakr aged, he became ravaged by multiple diseases. Symington then saw an advertisement for a contest sponspored by BioArts and decided to submit Trakr’s story to the company. The contest’s prize: cloning one lucky dog free of charge to its owner.
CEO Louis Hawthorne believes Trakr’s past accomplishments made him the winner.
“We expected that the winner would be an exceptional pet,” Hawthorne said. “Maybe he would have rescued Timmy from a well. But we didn’t think it would be anything of the historical significance that Trakr played. That blew us away.”
BioArts originally intended to make one clone of the German Sheppard, but then decided to re-think the process.
“At some point in the process we woke up and said, ‘hey, wait a second. Why stop at one? Let’s make a whole set,'” Hawthorne said.
Scientists extracted DNA from Trakr and inserted it into the cells of surrogates. This meant that, Sunday, Symington came face to face with five genetically identical puppies.
“It was worth the wait,” Symington said.
He added that the meeting was bittersweet, as Trakr passed away two months ago. But Symington is happy the dog’s memory can live on in the five pups, also known as Trustt, Solace, Valor, Prodigy and Deja-Vu.
“Trakr was so much a part of my life, and, you know, he was more than just my partner,” Symington said. “He was my best friend and my lifelong companion. Seeing and having his legacy live on in these puppies is a tremendous gift.”