Memory moves in orbits of absence, author Eric Gamalinda once wrote. This much is true for beloved pets that already passed on and crossed the rainbow bridge.
The mind's eye tends to capture the semblances of the furbabies that once frequented certain parts of the house. One attempts to relive the licks, nibbles, woofs, meows, nudges, pounces, and musk that once existed. There's also the constant viewing of photos and videos to somehow bring them back to this world.
It doesn't happen, of course.
Luckily, there's a plush toy manufacturer that creates an image and likeness of one's furbaby, a "clone" one may baby-talk, pet, hug, and kiss like the good ol' days.
Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory of Tancorp Manufacturing Inc., located along M. Roxas Highway in Clark Freeport Zone, produces hyperrealistic impressions of one's departed pet.
Founder and chief executive officer David Tan told PhilSTAR L!fe that Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory is originally a garment maker specializing in customized sportswear and apparel.
Sometime ago, when Tan was interviewing appllicants for a new patternmaker, he said he came across a candidate who had some experience making teddy bears.
"On a whim I decided to hire him," he said, "just to see if we could start making our own plush toys."
According to their website, making teddy bears started as a side project in 2018. On Valentine's Day the following year, they're able to sell their very first teddy bear.
At the time, Tan recalled giving away his golden retriever due to their subdivision's pet policy. To commemorate their short-lived bond, he asked his newly hired patternmaker to make a replica.
"When I saw the results, I came up with the idea of doing this for other pet owners," Tan said.
In April 2019, Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory produced its inaugural pet clone, and has since earned popularity.
Customers who wish to have clones must first send pictures of their pet (front, side, top), if not drawings of the design they like.
Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory will then create a sample and provide a quotation, as well as the expected time frame of completion.
A 16x24 inch clone has a starting price of P3,500, which may have additional charges depending on customizations.
Production time can take up to a month or two since they're handling lots of orders. The 20-man team of Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory produces at least 100 clones a month, which are all unique and made to order.
The factory said it provides customers updates about the process "the entire time" until their clones are ready for shipping, locally and internationally.
Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory, however, noted that a spitting image of one's pet isn't always the case.
"The actual output is based on many factors including the type of pet and artistic interpretation," the website said.
Tan also noted that despite having made hundreds of dogs of different breeds already, new commissions still pose certain challenges because they have to spend "a lot of time" perfecting the pattern.
In fact, he acknowledged that they still have lots to improve on when it comes to cloning cats.
"I recently commissioned a manufacturer to create a variety of super realistic cat eyes for us," Tan said, adding that they're utilizing new plastic eyes to help make them look more realistic.
Aside from cats and dogs, Pampanga Teddy Bear Factory is also giving rabbits some lovin', as well as creatures from fantastic realms. To wit, they can create practically any plush toy a customer desires.
Tan is hoping for more recognition, especially that many customers continue ordering and, in his words, keeping them "quite busy" amid the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation.
"I’m hoping we can someday become known around the world," he said.