Miss P, the Beagle, wins Westminster

February 19th, 2015

“Miss P” is now the most well-known Beagle since Peanuts’ Snoopy.  Last night in the 139th Westminster Kennel Club dog show the four-year-old 15″ Beagle from British Columbia took top honors, following in the paw prints of her great uncle, “Uno”, who won in 2008.  “Miss P” beat more than 2,700 other dogs to become only the second Beagle and the 36th female to win the prestigious show.

edited beagleThe day after her victory, “Miss P” made an appearance on the Today show, had lunch at the famous Sardi’s, met with Donald Trump, rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and will have a walk-on appearance in a Broadway show.  Afterwards, her owners say she will retire, settle down and raise a litter of pups…perhaps spawning the next Westminster-winning Beagle.

(Photo by Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images)




February 3rd, 2015

7 best moments from the Puppy Bowl referee’s interview

(I was all prepared to write my blog this week, but in my browsing of the recent veterinary journals I came across this interesting article regarding Puppy Bowl.  The Super Bowl has its merits but my family also gathers around the TV every year to enjoy puppy bowl.  I’m guessing many of my readers do the same so I thought I’d share this bit of whimsy with you.  Enjoy!)

Ref reveals his favorite dog breed, how long the game takes to film.
Jan 31, 2015
By dvm360.com staff

The official Puppy Bowl referee, Dan Schachner, answered users’ submitted questions on Reddit.com. The interview’s highlights are below:

1. On accusations of deflated ball toys following the Patriots’ “Deflategate” news: I can say that those allegations are 100 percent false, and the reason I know this is that as the only human involved in Puppy Bowl, it is up to me to personally inspect every single ball on the field. Unless, of course, they are neutered, in which case, I do not.

2. The Halftime Show: We approached Katy Perry’s cat—Kitty Purry—and that’s true (for those that don’t know, that is actually her cat’s name) who were not available, so we have our own cat performer, named “Catty Furry.” Some say she’s better that Kitty Purry, but that’s not for me to decide. The haters call her a copycat. I disagree.

3. On allowing cats to play: I think … that there’s always room for cats to move up the ladder, as long as they’re not riding someone else’s coattails to get there.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Will we ever see cats on the field? I think there’s room for any animal species in sports. Whether that sport is football, baseball, soccer, whatever, I would like to see more animals participating. I think some people might say cats are as athletic, if not MORE so, than dogs. If so, I would welcome the chance to have kittens as part of our next Puppy Bowl draft.

4. Filming the game: Bottom of FormTop of Form The Puppy Bowl is shot about three months in advance. A lot of people don’t know this. The reason why it takes so much time is the Puppy Bowl broadcast is a 2-hour event, but it is not a 2-hour event to film. It takes 2 full days to film. Reason being, we are trying to showcase as many different puppies as possible, and we want to rotate them in and out, and give them as many chances to have action on the field as possible!

Additionally, there are 17 cameras shooting the action on the field at the same time. You can imagine, 2 days of shooting, 17 cameras, that is hundreds if not thousands of hours of footage that needs to be watched, logged, and edited.

We also have our integrations—like we talked about our movie partnerships. This year’s the integration’s with Spongebob. We also have special appearances, this year Drew Carey will be appearing with A Price is Right integration, and we also have a Puppy Bowl Fantasy team that you can create – for that you have to go to AnimalPlanet.com and create your puppy fantasy team and track them and their progress during the game … so all of that is a long-winded way of saying it takes months to put all this together so that way people can enjoy it as a 2-hour event.

5. Regretting calls: Early on, I started penalizing dogs every time they went to the bathroom. I quickly realized that was a losing battle. And I could do it all day long. So I had to start ignoring that. So my first ten “fouling the field” calls or “premature watering the lawn” calls … those are the ones I wish I could take back, because I realize I was just wasting my time.

6. Getting the job: Well, the guy before me had the job for seven years, he moved on to work for the Food Network, therefore there was an opening for a Puppy Bowl ref! So I created a crazy audition tape, where I ran around NYC trying to officiate dogs in dog parks, doing little scrimmages with any dogs I could get my hands on, it got me a lot of weird looks from strangers but it got the job so I’m happy in the end.

7. Favorite dog breed: I love beagle mixes because I had one as a child. I just… happened to really love beagles. I also love dachshunds. I’m more a fan of small to medium breeds, and that’s probably because I live in Manhattan in a very small apartment—therefore I won’t have a Great Dane, or a husky, it would be too much! So smaller, more transportable dogs are better for me and my lifestyle. As a ref, I can’t show favoritism, but on the personal side, I’m a sucker for beagles and dachshunds.best.

(Well, both bowls are already over so it’s no secret how they turned out, but I hope you all enjoyed them.  Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!)


February 19th, 2014

“The more I see of men, the more I admire dogs.” – Jeanne-Marie Roland


Okay, I hope I’ve given you all plenty of time to see the re-run of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show that aired last week.  I can’t stand it any longer.  I must write my blog about the winner.

The Best In Show class contained some beautiful dogs, and the most collective Best-In-Shows in the history of Westminster with over 375 BIS titles collected by the seven dogs in the ring.

The seven breeds competing were the Portuguese Water Dog, the Wire Fox Terrier, the Miniature Pinscher, the Standard Poodle, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Bloodhound, and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Over all there were 2,845 dogs entered in the WKC dog show this year, representing 190 breeds.  Three new breeds made their debut, the Rat Terrier, the Chinook, and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno.

When the dust had settled, Sky, the Wire Fox Terrier took top honors with handler Gabriel Rangel, who is no stranger to the winner’s circle himself.  In 2010 he won Best In Show at Westminster with Sadie, the Scottish Terrier.

This is the 14th time the Wire Fox Terrier has won Westminster and the 46th win for the terriers since they became a group in 1885.

The next day, Sky took the customary media tour for the top dog, visiting the television morning shows, including Good Morning America and Fox News, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, eating steak off a silver platter at Sardi’s (although I believe Sky opted for chicken), and appearing at the Empire State Building.

As a breed, Wire Fox Terriers should be no taller than 15 ½ inches tall and weigh no more than 18 pounds.  They are thought to be descended from rough-coated black and tan terriers and developed as a breed in the British Isles in the 17th century.  These tough little dogs are bred to “go to ground” and chase fox and other small game from their dens.  While they are rarely used for this purpose today, they still make excellent watch dogs and family companions.

Some famous Wire Fox Terriers in Hollywood were “George” in Bringing Up Baby, “Asta” in The Thin Man Films (although in the books Asta was a Schnauzer), “Chester” in the movie Jack Frost, “Bunny” in Hudson Hawk, and “Scruffy” in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Famous Wire Fox Terrier owners include King Edward VII of England, composer Francis Poulenc, Charles Darwin, author Rudyard Kipling, and British novelist Thomas Hardy.

Congratulations to Sky, her family and her handler on this grand victory and score another win for the Terriers.  They are certainly hard to beat as show dogs or just faithful companions.

Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!





February 11th, 2014

“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.” – Louis Saban

I know in my last blog I was discouraging my animal-loving friends from viewing the Olympics.  I realize that’s hard to do when they’re on all night, every night.

Fortunately, there is an alternative.  The annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show is currently in full swing from New York City.  My pet parents and doggy brother and sisters watch it together every year.  Of course my brother, Paden, the Australian Shepherd and I root for the Herding Group and argue over whether the German or Australian Shepherd should win.  Meanwhile my sisters, Molly, the Labrador Retriever, and Hannah, the Cocker Spaniel are interested in the Sporting Group.

Unfortunately, night one aired last night, February 10th.  Lucky for us our DVR picked it up so we didn’t miss it.  The good news is that the show is always re-run several times so if you miss it you always have another chance to watch.  It should be easily found by searching your DVR or television programming.

Another fun activity that Westminster has added is a Dog Agility competition That aired last weekend, but, again, will be re-run several times.  It is the first time in the history of Westminster that mixed-breed dogs have been allowed to compete since Agility is open to all breeds of dogs, even the “All-American” breed.

I will not present any spoilers here in case any of you wish to watch some of the previously aired performances.  But look out next week.  I’ll be doing a special on the Best-In-Show.

As an aside, I apologize for being late with this information.  Westminster typically runs over the Valentine’s Day weekend so I was not expecting it until next weekend.

I hope you can find an airing of this prestigious event and enjoy cheering on your favorite dog.

Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!


February 6th, 2014

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the site.” – Albert Schweitzer

Sadly, my family and I will not be watching the Olympics from Sochi this year.  While we always love gathering around the TV and cheering for the United States, an unfortunate circumstance has come to our attention this year.  Therefore we cannot, in good conscience support the event.

Sochi has a problem with stray dogs which was apparently not a problem for them until they were put into the spotlight of the world when the Olympics came to town.

Stray dogs have always inhabited the streets of Sochi and the city has had years to deal with the problem properly, but now in an attempt to improve the image of the city for athletes and spectators alike, they have ramped up efforts to eliminate these dogs.  Unfortunately, at least for me, these efforts have had the opposite effect.

Over 2,000 dogs are being rounded up by Baysa Pest Control Services, who were hired by Olympics officials, and poisoned according to eye witnesses.  When CNN reported the news, Sochi set up a shelter to contain the dogs.  However it appears to be more of a façade to appease animal lovers and protesters of the dogs’ treatment than an actual animal shelter.

Baysa Services’ director general was quoted as saying, “these dogs are biological trash.”

Our athletes, while these circumstances are not their fault, are our voice. I expect them to represent us not only in their sportsmanship but in their morals and ethics.  I find it impossible to believe they have no knowledge of these occurences and I expect them to have the courage to speak out against it.

Unlike many other countries in the world – my research uncovered the same actions in Greece in 2004 and in China with the stray cat population in 2008 – we are a nation of compassion who should not tolerate such actions.

I am sad for these dogs who were never given a chance and I am ashamed for a world who will turn a blind eye to this cruelty for the sake of sport and entertainment.  Shame on the Olympic committee for choosing this Euro-trash city with their barbaric ways to hold what should be one of the most prestigious events in current history.

As far as I can see, it doesn’t matter who wins the medals in Sochi, the dogs all lose.


August 9th, 2012

“All of the animals except for man know that the principle business in life is to enjoy it.” – Samuel Butler

Watching the Olympics this past week with my family renewed my interest in sports that are available to me and my canine brethren.  Just as human sports are suited to certain body types – swimmers are tall, gymnasts are tiny, weight-lifters are huge – many canine sports are suited to particular types of dogs. Fortunately, there are dozens of sporting events in which dogs and their people can compete.  Because of this everyone can find a sport that suits their pet’s particular body type and temperament.

As I was watching the two-legged animals perform their events I wondered, “What would the canine equivalent of these events be?”  Just for fun, this is what I’ve come up with.

The Hurdles = Canine Steeplechase/Jack Russell Terrier Hurdle Racing.  This sport was originally developed specifically for the Jack Russell Terrier breed (now called the Parson Russell Terrier by the AKC).  It is a race set up on a straight course which is 150-200 feet long.  At one end are starting boxes which contain the contestants.  At the other end is a barrier with a hole in it just large enough for one dog to pass through.  Usually the barrier is made of hay bales or some other relatively soft material so dogs will not injure themselves if, or more likely when, they run into it.  In the middle of the course is a minimum of four hurdles, 16 inches high and 20-feet apart.  The dogs are lured toward the finish line with a scented piece of fur and the first dog to cross the finish line, which is behind the barrier, wins. 



 The Relays = Canine Flyball.  This is an event in which dogs compete in teams of four in a relay format.   Dogs run one at a time from the start, over four hurdles placed 10 feet apart, and retrieve a ball from a spring-loaded box.  The height of the hurdles is set according to the height of the smallest dog on the team.  The first team to successfully run all four dogs penalty-free wins.  Penalties are assessed for a false start, if a dog drops a ball, misses a hurdle, or if a teammate starts before the previous competitor crosses the finish line.  Quick, energetic dogs excel in this exercise.  It tends to be dominated by Border Collies but other breeds such as Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Poodles are also competitive.  And don’t forget, a small, quick dog will be the star of the team!



The Long Jump = Canine Dock Jumping.  This sport measures the distance and height of a dog jumping from a dock into a body of water.  The dock is typically 35-40 feet long by 8-feet wide and 2-feet above the water which is 4-feet deep.  Distance is measured from the center of the end of the dock to the point where the base of the dog’s tail breaks the water.  However, some associations measure distance at the point where the dog’s nose is when its body lands in the water or sometimes simply the part of the body that is closest to the dock when the body breaks the water.  Because of these differences in measuring distance, there are great variations in the records.  Nevertheless, the longest jump I could find on record was 29-feet, 7-inches.  In order to get their canine partners to jump their farthest, handlers usually give the dog a running start and toss a toy into the air over the pool, causing the dog to leap off the dock after the toy.  The contest is judged on the longer of two jumps in a round-robin format.  Obviously, retrievers excel at this event.


Weight-lifting = Canine Weight Pulling.  This sport was developed to promote the heritage of working dogs and is a reflection of the days when dogs were used as freight animals to assist in pulling or moving loads.  Here dogs compete simply by pulling a weighted sled or cart over a specified distance.  The dog that moves the most weight wins.  Dogs in the Working Group, such as Mastiffs, Rottweilers, and Malamutes tend to do well in this sport.




Gymnastics = Canine Agility.  Many of you have probably seen agility trials on television or at a dog show.  In this competition dogs are directed by their handler through a series of different obstacles.  Some of these obstacles include a see-saw, an A-frame, an elevated boardwalk, a tunnel, various jumps, and a tire they must leap through, just to name a few.  This event requires strength, balance and speed.  The contest is judged on time as well as accuracy.  Penalties are assessed for faults such as knocking a bar off a jump, refusing to perform an element or not running the course in the proper order.  Athletic dogs such as Border collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, and Retrievers do well in this event.



 Rhythmic gymnastics = Musical Canine Freestyle.  While our two-legged cousins use ribbons or hoops to perform their routines in this event, canines rely on their talent in obedience training.  This is a competition consisting of a dog/handler pair performing dance/obedience routines set to music.  Many perform complicated tricks and moves and all of it is done off-leash or “freestyle.”  Any dog that is good at obedience or learns things quickly can excel at this event.  



As in the human Olympics, there are many, many other events not mentioned here.  Sports such as disc dog (throw-and-catch), obedience trials, sled dog racing, Greyhound racing, Weiner-dog racing, herding trials, hunting or field trials, conformation, and many that I’d never heard of until I started researching this blog, offer a great selection for someone looking for a sport to share with their canine partner. 

Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze…and go USA!