Thursday, February 10, 2011
I've heard it called an earworm when a song gets stuck in your head. So, if a book get stuck in your head, would it be a brain worm? Whatever its called, my mind has been hashing and re-hashing John Woestendiek's new book.
Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man's Best Friend 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.
As the author says:
"Like most good dog stories, the saga of dog cloning probably reveals more about humans than canines - our innate need for power, fame, money, and love; our thirst of instant, or at least speedy, gratification; our uniquely human refusal to accept the finality of death, and our overwhelming desire to control the world in which we live. And, like most good dog stories, it likely contains some lessons for those who navigate on two legs, the kind of wordless tutelage dogs have been offering for centuries - if only we'd listen. With the cloning of dog, man may have crossed the final barrier to cloning humans. ..."
I'm a dog lover. I've often jokingly said I'd like to clone Lucy, my "heart dog." I won't be saying that anymore. It's no joke and it is no longer the stuff of science fiction. If you've got about $100,000 to spare, you can clone your beloved dog if you want to. I'll pass. When the time comes, I'll head for the nearest animal shelter.
You can find Dog, Inc. at Amazon and other book sellers.