I was lucky enough to spend a little over 11 years with my girl, Lola. I found Lola on as she and her mom had been rescued from a high kill shelter in the San Jose, CA area. Lola’s mom was definitely a Min Pin, but when I saw Lola, I knew she was something special. She had the same red coloring as her mom, but weighing in at about 2lbs at 8 weeks she was a ball of wrinkles -Shar Pei wrinkles. Her uniqueness was not lost on me, and since Lola was the only surviving puppy of her litter, I knew she was a one of a kind but both myself and the rescue really had no idea how big she would get or how she would look as an adult.

Lola as a puppy was so fun, and if I could turn back time and do it all over again, I would in a heart beat. She was so little and would travel in the hood of my sweatshirt or wrapped to me in a sweater like a human baby. She was ornery and spunky, but slept curled up on my neck every night and has always been the best snuggler. By the time Lola was full grown, she was about 7.5lbs and while some of her wrinkles stretched out, she always had that wrinkly Shar Pei head. Many people called her the ‘forever puppy’ and new vets always asked if she was having an allergic reaction because that puffy, wrinkly face was just so unique for her size.

While Lola’s big spirit was packed into a cute little body, her energy and playfulness never wavered. Up until her passing, Lola loved playing fetch, keeping the ball away from her Labrador sisters, and keeping me and her dad on our toes. Lola was very vocal, reminding everyone that although she was small, she was in charge!

Lola meant the world to me. She was my partner in crime, my love bug and my soul mate, but I knew her time was always limited. I had always joked about having Lola cloned because of her uniqueness, but it wasn’t until the last year of her life that started doing serious research into it and realized that genetic preservation was a possibility. About a year before Lola’s death, she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and the reality of her short time with me became more and more real. Even though Lola’s death was sudden and unexpected, I am so glad I had started the research.

Because of the sudden and unexpected passing of Lola, I was with her at an emergency vet hospital. I remember everything being a blur, but I asked the tech about genetic preservation and said it wasn’t an option they provided. I went home and later that morning I decided to look online and try to find ViaGen. Hoping and praying that it wasn’t too late, I called ViaGen and they walked me through what needed to be done to get Lola’s samples to them and helped me find a Vet office that would assist. After getting Lola moved to another Vet office, ViaGen and the Vet took over the coordination of everything. They were so kind and wonderful, and as soon as Lola’s samples arrived, I was called by a tech to confirm that they would start the cell extraction process.

As I’m writing this, it’s been just two weeks since Lola’s passing and today I received confirmation from ViaGen that enough cells were extracted to successfully preserve Lola’s genetics. To be honest, I’ve questioned whether I would ever really want to clone Lola or not, but the reality is, I have the option. If it wasn’t for ViaGen not only providing the genetic preservation, but also kind and compassionate customer service, I wouldn’t have an option for future cloning of Lola, so for that I am ever grateful.