When dog lover Jennifer Williams lost her Great Dane Rufus in 2009 she decided she wanted a replica of him that she could treasure forever.
She found a seamstress who created as lifelike a model as possible and Jennifer found it helped her come to terms with her loss.
It inspired her to create Cuddle Clones – helping pet owners celebrate the animals that are no longer around.
The 37-year-old has since made thousands for people all over the world!
Jennifer also makes the toys as ‘twins’ for animals who are alive, and runs Cuddle Clones full time.
She explained: “I knew that there was no way I could just get a dog teddy that looked like Rufus.
“So that’s where they idea of making the replica came from.
“I found a seamstress and a designer and asked them to make something as lifelike as possible.
“I loved it so much I figured other people would too.
“A large part of what we do is helping people grieve.
“People like to hold the pet and hug it and feel close to the animal they loved and lost.
“We have people clone for all kinds of reasons.
“So people who miss a pet that has passed away or those who have lost animals in custody battles.
“Parents sometimes make them for their children who are going away to Uni, to military bases, or for elderly relatives in nursing homes.”
Owners send in at least one photo of the animal then what colour eyes they would like and how they want the tail to be positioned.
Jennifer is based in Louisiana and has a team of 33 designers in her workshop in China.
They craft dogs, cats, pigs, horses, guinea pigs, rabbits, cows, badgers and ferrets.
Since setting up in 2011 they have made nearly 20,000 clones and attracted more than 50,000 followers on Instagram.
Jennifer even gave up her job in pensions to run Cuddle Clones full time.
She said: “To scientifically clone a pet is very expensive but this is pretty close.
“We have customers who have all the pets they have loved and lost they treasure forever.
“Our most unusual customer was a lady who was adopting two children from Thailand.
“She asked us to clone her two dogs so she could take them as gifts.
“They could get to know the pets before they came to their permanent home and met the dogs.”
Many chose to make a doppelganger of a pet who is still very much alive for them to play with.
Jennifer calls these twins and loves to see the real life animals posing with their furry lookalikes.
She said: “My artists are so talented and there’s so much attention to detail.
“We have shapes and patterns for every breed but these are tweaked to capture each individual pet.
“Each toy is hand made and if any features need enhancing the artists airbrush them so they are as close to the animal as possible.
“We have such a strong emotional connection with our animals.
“It’s lovely to be able to create something that’s a comfort when they’ve gone.”