San Diego Family Clone Late Dog Who Saved Pregnant Owner So Kids Can Meet Him

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 24 Feb 2020 19:14

A family from San Diego have cloned their late dog, who saved his pregnant owner while he was alive, so the child he saved could meet him.


Marley the Labrador retriever wasn’t only extremely cute, but also extremely brave.

Adopted by his owners David and Alicia Tschirhart when he was a puppy, Marley grew an extremely strong bond with the pair over the 12 years he was alive.

Family clone dogFamily clone dogABS News 10

When Marley was coming to the end of his life in 2014, he saved a then-pregnant Alicia from a situation that could have been ‘disastrous’ for both Alicia and her unborn baby.


Taking Marley on a walk, the married couple became aware of Marley’s heroic ways when the Labrador retriever saved Alicia from being bitten by a snake.

Speaking to People, David, from San Diego, recalled the moment Marley saved Alicia.

He said: 

I had Marley on a leash. All of the sudden Marley darted out in front of me and started clawing the ground where Alicia was reaching out her hand.

Confused as to what Marley was clawing at, Alicia and David looked down to find a rattlesnake coiled up just inches away from where Alicia was reaching out her hand to find a stick for Marley.

California Family Clone Late Dog Who Saved Pregnant Owner So Kids Can Meet HimCalifornia Family Clone Late Dog Who Saved Pregnant Owner So Kids Can Meet HimABS News 10

David added:

We were in shock. Neither of us had seen the snake at first.

We were on a hill, with no people around, far from home, and Alicia was pregnant — it could’ve been disastrous.


Thanks to Marley’s heroic actions, Alicia went on to give birth to a healthy baby girl named Madeleine, who’s now five years old.

Sadly, soon after Madeleine was born Marley was diagnosed with cancer and passed away, meaning the young girl never properly got to meet the dog who potentially saved her life.

With this in mind, David and Alicia decided to have Marley’s cells preserved with genetic preservation and cloning firm Viagen Pets, so they could later clone their beloved four-legged friend.

After welcoming a second daughter, Colette, now three, David and Alicia felt it was the right time to bring a dog back into their lives.

family clone dogfamily clone dogABC News 10

Marley’s clone, Ziggy, joined the Tschirhart family in December 2019, and he’s already reminding the married couple of their late companion.

David said:

Being able to bring Marley’s presence back to the kids that he saved is very special for us, and I know the kids are excited about all of that. We have told them the stories about what happened with Marley before.

I wanted to see the joy they feel, that is something I didn’t get to experience with Marley.

As cute as Ziggy is, he’s got some big boots to fill!

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, ABC News 10, California, Clone, Cloned dog, Dog, family, Heroic pet, people, Pets, San Diego


  1. People.com

    Late Dog that Saved Pregnant Owner from Deadly Accident Cloned to Meet the Children He Saved