Keeping Pets Forever Close Through Cuddle Clones

ranger with clone
Ranger with Cuddle Clone (All photos: Cuddle Clones)

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Loss of a pet is difficult for most of us.  There is a gap created in your heart that may never be filled, particularly if there was a special bond.  There are all varieties of memorials that can be created to honor our pets, but one brings comfort in a different way.  Cuddle Clones was inspired by Rufus, a Great Dane.  Jennifer Williams, Co-Founder and CEO, had come up with the idea of creating a stuffed animal version of her beloved pet when she she noted how Rufus’ coloring, coat pattern, and his two different eye colors made him unique as they lounged around together. Several years later, in 2009, with his passing and Jennifer’s grief, the idea was revisited.

Jennifer-and-Rufus-1

The idea of turning Cuddle Clones into a viable business was one of several Williams proposed to her entrepreneurial focused MBA class at the University of Louisville.  Fellow student, Adam Greene, loved the idea and requested Williams join his team moving forward in the program.  As part of the curriculum, each team was required to select an idea and create a business plan as part of their academic exercise.  Greene and Williams championed Cuddle Clones as the project focus, the other team members agreeing.  Williams, who had no sewing experience, and the group took that idea and ran with it, the first two Cuddle Clones being Rufus and an MBA classmate’s deceased cat, Ruby.  A sample maker plush designer was paid to create the originals, but, the first versions were poor and it was about a three year process to see it to the quality level wanted.  Of note, following graduation, only Greene and Williams continued pursuit of the project, the others feeling it served its purpose as their class objective, had no interest beyond matriculation.

precious

“I think it provides a tangible representation of the bond between a pet and their owner when the pet can’t be around,” Greene responded when asked why people would want a Cuddle Clone. One story, in particular, that came his mind illustrating the power of the Cuddle Clone was that of the daughter of a woman with advanced dementia.  As the woman’s pet, who had been her companion for ten years, was not permitted to the facility, the daughter thought a Cuddle Clone might provide some comfort.  Her mother was at a stage in the disease’s progression where she rarely recognized faces, let alone remembered names, even of those closest to her.  However, when the daughter gave her the Cuddle Clone, the woman completely lit up, calling the Cuddle Clone by her dog’s name.  She wouldn’t stop petting or talking to it, and everyone was in tears seeing the joy it brought.  The woman kept it with her close in bed, a testament to the realism of the Cuddle Clone and the decided bond people have with their animals.

taco hugging taco
Taco hugging Taco

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Cuddle Clones also offers other products, in addition to the plush, including customizable sandstone figurines of people’s pets which are created and printed in a 3D format and memorial products that can include personal text or an etching of a pet.  Their Plush Creations product can take a drawing and turn it into a dimensional stuffed rendering and they are also able to remake old childhood stuffed animals.  For the pet-lover who enjoys golf, there are even customized head covers. From a single idea and an MBA class project, they have been able to grow their business into a variety of areas and the testimonials they receive from those who have worked with them speak to the quality of their work.  Of equal importance, the production shop is their own, so no third party vendors are involved which allows them to not only keep delivery of the product on time and on track, but let’s them work intimately with the designers and creators to make certain each and every detail that goes into each individual Cuddle Clone is as accurate as possible.

Poppleton micropig and clone
Poppleton micropig and Poppleton’s Cuddle Clone

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A special part of the business is the company’s desire to support animals and, as such, a portion of all their proceeds go to different animal welfare organizations.  Greene says it is as simple as everyone at Cuddle Clones loves their pets and the company wants to do its small part to see other animals helped by donating to key causes.

Stan and clone
Stan and, well, Stan

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As to what people think about Cuddle Clones, Greene is quite candid.  “Well, it’s really two sided — you either LOVE it or you think it’s creepy, ha ha. But even those who think it’s creepy can definitely see value in a Cuddle Clone for a person who is grieving a deceased pet.  We get thank you emails every day from those who say Cuddle Clones helped them grieve.”

pug and clone
Pug and Cuddle Clone pal

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As a way to keep a special pet close, this is one alternative that seems to resonate with so many people.  Perhaps the next best thing to having your pet forever. For more information about Cuddle Clones, please visit them at their website or on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. If you would like to order your own Cuddle Clone, they have offered readers a 10% discount with the coupon code lifewithdogs.  

Balki and clone
Balki and buddy

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