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Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man's Best Friend Hardcover – December 30, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Investigative reporter Woestendiek weaves together bizarrely interesting tales of rich pet owners, Korean and American scientists, ethics, and a petting zoo full of loved animals (including dogs, cats, and a Brahman bull). As readers follow the journeys of pet owners who sought to replace their companion animals with a new but genetically identical generation, they will meet a former beauty queen and kidnapping suspect who defied court custody orders and took her children around the world in order to keep them, and a pair of Korean scientists who finally succeeded in producing the first cloned dogs alongside serious allegations of scientific fraud. Woestendiek turns complex genetics into an interesting study for the layperson in a book that provides scientific background, technology update, and shock value all in one. From explaining the X-inactivation that foiled the results of the first cloned cat to relaying the story of Booger, a stray dog that learned to provide service to his injured mistress, Woestendiek educates as he entertains. Though this effort will particularly interest readers on both sides of the cloning issue, Woestendiek's conversational prose, added to the sometimes astonishing circumstances he uncovered, will entertain a wide audience. (Dec. 30)
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"Here is John Woestendiek at his best, sniffing along a trail to find a fascinating story you never heard of, and writing it in a way you'll never forget."
-Steve Lopez, author of The Soloist

"In Dog, Inc. John Woestendiek deliciously skewers the unholy combination of consumer culture, emotional indulgence, and scientific chicanery that lie at the heart of the cloning movement, and yet somehow, in the process, he reminds us why we love our pets so much to begin with."
-Jim Gorant, author of The Lost Dogs

"It's a shame we can't clone more John Woestendieks! Dog, Inc. is one of the best books I've read in a very long time."
-Kinky Friedman, author of Kinky Friedman's Guide to Texas Etiquette

"John Woestendiek's outstanding look at dog cloning explores what goes down when science, personal loss, and financial opportunism collide."

"The inside story behind the costly quest to clone dogs reveals at least as much about human nature as it does about copying man's best friend."
-Alan Boyle, MSNBC.com

"Dog, Inc. explores the curious history of pet cloning, from its roots in a 1928 experiment in which a German biologist replicated a salamander, to the present, when scientists are only too willing to help doting dog-owners reanimate their canine companions."
-Mother Jones --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; First Edition, First Printing edition (December 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583333916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583333914
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter John Woestendiek is the author of "DOG, INC," a non-fiction book about the cloning of dogs, and produces the popular dog website "ohmidog!"

He's a 35-year veteran of newspapers, most recently the Baltimore Sun, which he left in 2008 to research and write "DOG, INC. The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man's Best Friend" (Penguin- Avery, 2011), a book that looks at the new, strange and questionable practice of cloning dogs for profit, and asks the question, with man's best friend being cloned, can the cloning of man be far behind?

Woestendiek began his newspaper career at the Arizona Daily Star, and also has worked at the Lexington Herald-Leader, Charlotte Observer, and Philadelphia Inquirer, where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his reporting on prisons, which included a series of articles that helped overturn the murder conviction of an innocent 18-year-old man sentenced to life in prison.

In addition to writing about prisons and mental institutions, Woestendiek reported on troubled, poor and otherwise at risk children, served as a national correspondent covering the western states, as roaming national columnist and as a humor columnist.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 2003. He is a former Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and served as the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2007.

Woestendiek, 57, and his shelter dog, Ace, moved out of their house in
Baltimore in 2010 and began a one-year journey across America, which included retracing the path John Steinbeck took for his book, Travels With Charley. Their adventures are recorded in the blog "Travels with Ace" and the subject of what he hopes to be his next book.

With their travels, mostly, complete, John and Ace have settled for the time being in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the town of his birth.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Not just another dog book at all! Dog, Inc is a book about science, big business and commerce, merchandising and salesmanship, morality and ethics, as well as the love we have for our dogs. This book proves that truth is stranger than (science) fiction. Once you pick it up you'll have a hard time putting it down. And when you do put it down, you'll find yourself returning time and again to the issues it raises.

John Woestendiek, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, does an amazing job of explaining the ins and outs of closing man's best friend. Woestendiek gives us the scientific facts and history of cloning dogs (and other mammals) in easy to understand language. Along the way he gives us a healthy dose of the very human story. From the woman who hoped to clone the pit bull who she believed saved her life and eventually purchased what would be the first commercially produced dog clones, to a billionaire who decides to make a profit from cloning his family dog, to the scientists who made dog cloning a reality.

Each step along the way there are fascinating stories to be told, and told they are by Woestendiek with the same charm, good humor and keen observation that readers of his popular blogs ohmidog! And Travels with Ace have come to expect. It's obvious that this guy does his homework, personally grapples with the issues, can maintain objectivity, enjoys true human stories, and loves dogs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Journalist John Woestendiek's Dog, Inc. traces the short history of dog cloning. Snuppy, the first "success, " is not even six years old, after all. Woestendiek chronicles the dreams, heartbreaks, successes and many, many failures along the road to Snuppy's birth and those of the clones who have followed. He describes the eccentric personalities and recounts the surprise of the first cloned cat, who looked (and behaved) nothing like the donor cat.
But the bigger story, what it takes to clone dogs, is what really makes this an important book: The hundreds of egg-donor dogs and surrogate mother dogs needed for each "success." The invasive processes they endure -- and their miserable lives in Korea's dog farms and laboratories. The thousands of deformed and miscarried embryos and dead puppies. The 319 donors, 214 surrogates and astonishing 3656 implanted embryos that produced the first 16 cloned dogs and cats. The sad reality of the "extra" clones who, like Snuppy himself, have spent their entire lives in laboratory cages. Woestendiek draws a bleak picture of life for dogs in Korea, mentioning the hundreds of restaurants that offer dog meat on the menu and adding that the dog farms that exist to feed (literally) the demand are also a source of cheap egg donor and surrogate mother dogs.
While Dog, Inc. gets off track sometimes, the writing is engaging and captures the full range of human foibles. It's narrative journalism at its best. The story, though, is horrifying. How can anyone who loves dogs -- or even anyone who loves his or her own dog beyond all reason -- stomach the process of cloning dogs?
Woestendiek effectively debunks the usual rationale -- that they're going to get their beloved dog back. Cloning is reproduction, not resurrection.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Woestendiek has written an engrossing book about the various efforts to clone dogs. He tells the stories of the "source" dogs and their owners, the scientists, the businesses, the science, and the legal conflicts, making them all engaging, interesting, and entertaining. He also presents tons of evidence, both factual and anecdotal, both pro and con, on the issue of cloning, and does so objectively. Even after reading the book, I couldn't say for sure what his personal opinion is on the matter.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves dogs or science or is simply curious about what's been going on since Dolly, the famous cloned sheep, was born.
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Format: Hardcover
This is not a book I would have picked up under ordinary circumstances because the hi-tech science angle would have put me off. While there is plenty of science included for those who want a history of cloning (along with all the scientists and scientific competition and business-science intrigue you could want), Dog Inc. also goes beyond that to include matters of the heart. It shows how the extraordinary relationships between pets and people who don't want to let them go actually drove science in this case. The story unfolds over many years while referencing cultural touch points from an early appearance by Lassie to the post 9/11 rescue workers to the cast and crew of "This American Life." Dog Inc. turns out to be a gripping international saga featuring an astonishing cast of characters and pets (including a bull) with a finish so fast it almost reads like a thriller.
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