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National Dog Week 2010 has come and gone and I thank everyone who contributed to the Seven Blogs of Dog Week and those who honored the dogs of the nation last week and all year long. Thanks go to Babette Haggerty, Ryan Rice, Steven Duno, Gretchen Kruysman, Judy Gamet, Bocker Labradoodle and Marie Selto and Erika Friedman. There are so many other people I would have loved to cover, and I will in time. Also, thanks to those who allowed me an opportunity to talk about my work, Mashal Zeringue of Coffee with a Canine (www.coffeecanine.blogspot.com), fellow Pets Examiner Penny Eims (www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/kick-off-national-dog-week) , Ryan Rice (www.Houstondogblog.com) and the Brick Times. And a special thanks to Josh Abrams over at www.dogasaur.com for sending so many dog-lovers my way.
On Sunday, September 19th, Brick Township, New Jersey, had its first Dog Fest at beautiful Windward Park on the banks of the Metedeconk River. The timing was perfect as that Sunday marked the first day of the 82nd observance of Will Judy’s National Dog Week.
The weather was perfect, too and over 1,500 humans and 500 dogs attended enjoying the beach, swimming in the river in a park that was open to man’s best friend due to the Township’s special “Pooch Pardon.” Also on hand were dozens of dog-related vendors, artists, groomers, trainers, as well as demonstrations by therapy and assistance dogs and some fun contests for dogs and their owners.
Thanks to the efforts of Donna Stump, Dina Silvestri and their committee of fellow Brick Rotarians, funds generated by the event will benefit several local charities. I am also grateful for their efforts in helping me to approach our Mayor, Stephen Acropolis, and having him declare our city a National Dog Week City, and then proclaiming that day Brick Township’s Dog Fest Day. Hearing him use the words inspired by the late great dog trainer Captain Arthur Haggerty was so gratifying. Despite anyone’s political leanings, it is so good to have a municipal leader who understands the good will and “pawsitivity” dogs lend to a community and I thank everyone for stepping up to the plate and making me proud to live here.
On that same day, Los Angeles held their Strut your Mutt event, raising over $200,000 dollars for homeless dogs, and the following Sunday, New York City followed suit with great success. In the Chicago vicinity, John Reh and his Dogs Love Running held a Barkapalooza event and I will write about that soon. Will Judy called Chicago his true home, so that was especially meaningful.
Back in 1928, Captain Judy declared that the purpose of National Dog Week was not to bring more dogs into the world but to be more responsible for the ones already here. He probably could not have imagined that one day there would be over 70 million dogs inhabiting this nation. But they do, and they are here to stay, and those individuals who work so hard on their behalf year-round, deserve to be honored and encouraged in their efforts, in the end we all benefit whether we realize it or not. Keep up the good work, and then please be sure to let me know about it.
51 more weeks to National Dog Week 2011…Let’s start planning now.
Here are some scenes from Brick Township’s First Annual Dog Fest…scroll down and enjoy.
Thanks Babette Haggerty, Steve Duno, Ryan Rice, Gretchen Kruysman, Bocker Laboradoodle, Judy Gamet and Erika Friedman, for sharing their dog-worlds with my viewers during the Week of the Dog, and thanks to all of you who have come to read and to learn more about National Dog Week…Please keep reading, and remember to subscribe to this Blog and to be part of the Movement…
National Dog Week has passed as quick as a greyhound! We’ve covered a lot of ground this week and there comes a time when dogs just wanna have fun. To fill that need, on this the seventh day of the dog week we meet Erika Friedman and her company, Canine Celebration in New York City.
New York City, and the surrounding vicinity, has a vibrant dog community filled with pet loving people on the go 24/7. Sometimes they need a little help to plan the perfect party or event held in honor of a beloved pet. That’s when Erika is there to help, taking care of the smallest of de-tails.
National Dog Week is all about honoring our dogs and making them feel extra-special over the course of seven days in September. Although some may not think it’s important to throw parties for our dogs and cats, and the concept is lost on these animals, just remember these occasions make us humans happier and a happy cat or dog loving human makes for happier and healthier pets, especially when these events help less fortunate pets along the way. Party on!
When did you start Canine Celebration? Did you do so to fill a need you saw in this market? I started Canine Celebration officially about 4 months ago but it has been in the works for a while. I absolutely feel there is a need for it in this market. Out pets are our children. We should share in celebrating them whether it be through a party or a charity event.
What makes CC’s services so unique, is “Canine Concierge” a title you made up for yourself or is it really a defined field? Can you envision a Feline Festivities, or the like, for cats? (I know you are a cat lover).Yes I am a cat lover! Unfortunately cats are not as “social” as our dogs. But cats are always welcome at my events!
Canine Celebration and Canine Concierge is something I came up with. I have been really focusing on the Celebration aspect of the concept because that is where my true passion is. I love nothing more than organizing and planning events where all the proceeds go directly to a local rescue in need of money.
I thrive most when I get set on a specific theme for an event and I begin the planning process. It takes a lot of work to reach out to all types of businesses and share my passion with them and in turn hope they will want to participate. I have been lucky because we are becoming very aware of what happens to these poor animals when neglected or abused. All raffle prizes, food, photography and venues are donated to me. I find when I actually meet with them in person it helps. They can see my enthusiasm and desire to help.
How do you price your services and find your customers? I have planned 2 parties this summer for pay. A Labor Day swim party for 6 dogs in South Hampton. It was hysterical. I find that my clientele for the concierge end of my business are those who have money to pay for someone to do their work. I charge per size and theme of the specific event.
Can you give us an example of a large production you’ve pulled together for dogs and their humans? What is your most typical request for events (birthday, etc…)?One of my most successful events to date was my Dog Wedding/Valentines Day Party at Sephora in NYC. It was AMAZING!! We had over 100 people and 40 or so dogs.
Can you tell us anything about your Halloween party, Hound-o-ween? My Hound-o-Ween Charity event is hopefully going to be my most successful event. Petco had been to “my” Wedding at Sephora and approached me and asked if they could Co-Sponsor my next event. I was so excited. So I am having the event at their new store on East 86th Street in NYC on October 30th from 1-3.
All the proceeds are going directly to Rescuzilla of NY. Rescuzilla rescues predominantly pit bulls and rehabilitates them and then finds homes for them.
There will be a costume contest, food, candy, doggie & goodie bags. I have so many wonderful sponsors like SEPHORA, Dr. Cindy Bressler, PhysicalMind Studios, PurpleElephantCake, NEW York Yoga, J Mike of FUR products, Babette Haggerty’s Dog Training, Stephanie’s Pet-a-terre & so many more. Raffles are $5 and will be sold at the door. I am already staring plans for my Holiday party which all proceeds will be donated to MightyMutts.
What are some of your favorite animal charities and have you planned any charity events for them? Mighty Mutts, Rescuzilla, Bid-a-wee, Bark For Life
Do you have a dog, if so can you tell us about him or her, or your kitties?I am not allowed to have a dog in my building. My cat Benny is our son..need I say more!! LOL
Thanks Erika…Your events put the fun in fundraising and embody the spirit of National Dog Week! Your Hound-o-Ween event will be having New York City dogs saying “Tick” or Treat next month!
To learn more about Erika’s Canine Celebration please see her Facebook Page or visit her new web site: www.hound-o-ween.com. Or contact her at 917-763-3243.
Stay tuned for some great photos and reporting on Brick Township’s Dog Fest held last weekend…
Nannette, a graduate of the Marin Humane Society’s canine Behavior Academy introduced me to the concept of Canine Musical Freestyle and her training under Judy Gamet of Dogs Can Dance. Nannette explained how dancing with her Husky, Binks, was such a wonderful way to bond with her dog, and provided some mental and physical exercise for both dog and human.
Canine Musical Freestyle combines advanced elements of obedience training and moves set to music. Judy had danced professionally for thirty years before discovering her best dance partners and students might just be her dogs! Judy trains and competes under the regulations of the Canine Freestyle Federation. Although the focus is always on the dog, her canine dance partners never wear costumes.
Here, Judy talks about some of her recent activities and her plans for National Dog Week…
Recently, I was honored to be invited to a Golden Retriever reunion along with my rottie/jack russell named Alena. She played with the big goldens, enjoyed discovering agility equipment, did cannonballs in all of the kiddie pools, and graciously greeted all of the goldens. Each dog showed off how they could “bust a move” and everyone applauded.
Monday was dedicated to senior dog care. Nail trimming, brushing, a nice relaxed warm up walk, then turning on their favorite music for a well rounded freestyle workout. Retirement isn’t an option in Dogs Can Dance. We just change our expectations and create dances that glorify the abilities of the senior dogs. Everyone should be blessed with an old dog.
Later this week, I will change my focus to puppy dance. All puppies dance. They back up and move sideways when they are playing tug, then spin when they get excited, and love the one on one attention of training. Even just a few minutes a day, puppies can learn so much. Now put that to music!
Finally, the week ends coaching therapy dog teams to dance; showing the handlers how to use music and freestyle moves to create entertaining routines that can be used during therapy dog visits. What a wonderful way to share my world of canine freestyle.
As for my movie project, Doggie Boogie, several years ago, Romanus Wolter was writing the screen play about a dog dance competition. He wanted to really understand what went into making a dog dance team, so he enrolled in one of my classes here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When the movie, Doggie Boogie, went into pre-production, I was honored to be asked to be the dog dance choreographer. It’s an incredible story about guts, ethics, and believing in yourself and the path your dog can lead you to in life. Anabelle, my Rottweiler and I also appear in the movie. Looking forward to the completion of the editing and its release early next year.
We are, too, Judy. Thanks for sharing with us during National Dog Week 2010.
To learn more about Judy and Canine Freestyle:
I had the pleasure of meeting Bocker Labradoodle in Paw-son in late August. He was attending a birthday bash for his two friends, King Charles Cavalier spaniels Penny Lane and Lilly Pads at the home of Rose Russo in Westchester County, New York. The day was scorching hot, and Bocker had just finished a photo shoot in New York City. He was cordial and accommodating to his fans but it was clear, Bocker was off-duty, ready to party with a dozen of his canine friends. Later, he sat and stayed long enough to share a little of his life in the fast lane, while his guardian, Marie Shelto helped him find his words.
How old are you Bocker? I am seven years old.
How did your human “find” you? Before all the “doodle” craze, Dad had seen an article about Labradoodles and the mention that they were hypoallergenic. Mom and Dad really wanted a dog but Dad, who is a professional singer, has asthma. So they looked into Labradoodles and found a wonderful breeder. There were twelve in my litter and Mom and Dad wanted a tan male. Every photo of the three tan males always showed two who were really getting into things and one who sat very pensive, almost to say, “I am here for a purpose”. So from birth, it seemed like I was a very special pup (that’s what Mom says). So, at seven weeks old, I became part of a wonderful family.
How did you become an actor? How long have you been working in the entertainment industry?
From early on, I always knew when the camera was pointed in my direction and I had a really good “head tilt” that everyone loved. Everyone said, “he should be in commercials, ads, movies”. So mom contacted a few agents in NYC and after some training, I started to get called for jobs! So my first “gig” was for Tommy Hilfiger and I was only eighteen months old. Pretty cool.
Can you tell us a little about what commercials you are appearing in, TV shows, or movies?After that I was called for more fashion ads and commercials for Ralph Lauren, Barney’s NY, Target, Chase Bank, Wal-Mart, Optimum Online, GQ Magazine, and Getty Images. I was on Good Morning America, and The View, where Joy Behar gave me a bath, and on a morning show segment “If the political candidates were dogs” where I represented Hillary Clinton. I actually got a hand-written note from Mrs. Clinton thanking me and asking me for a pawtographed photo for her desk! I was featured on Animal Planets, DOGS 101 in their segment on labradoodles. I did extra work in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and also filmed a family scene for Julia Robert’s Eat Pray Love, which was cut from the movie. But, I did meet Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, who was one of the co-producers, and I did get paid. Maybe I’ll show up in the director’s cut!!! I played a girl, Carmel Barkshaw, in Lorenzo Borghese’s webisode spoof of The Bachelor, America’s Next Princess. I just finished working on a short film with terrific (and handsome) actor, Rider Strong, written and directed by brother’s Alex and Paul Cannon, to be released to film festivals around the country in the fall.
What advice do you give other dogs that want to be in your industry? I always was a very calm pup. You have to be willing to “hurry up and wait” and enjoy what you are doing. When I hear the word “work”, I know where I’m going. The only advice is, “Only do it, if you enjoy it”.
I hear you do some great charity and work with kids, can you tell us a little bit about that?At this point, I really feel that my work with kids and helping those less fortunate than I am, are major parts of my life. I am always ready to lend a helping paw! I love working with children, support Autism Awareness, and since I am a certified therapy dog, I work as a Tail Wagging Tutor, helping children improve their reading by reading to me; go to Boys and Girls Clubs, hospitals, nursing homes…anywhere where friends are in need of a smile. Have to say, all the extra hugs and kisses I get aren’t bad either!! I support many shelters around New York and help with fundraising. Why shouldn’t every animal be as lucky as I am and as long as I can help, I will.
Can you tell us a little about your work on behalf of Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project? The Pet PostCard Project is a fun and creative program that helps provide much-needed food for shelter animals. One bowl (or one pound or more) of pet food for every qualifying postcard received goes to animal shelters! The Pet Postcard Project is made possible by the kindness and generosity of its pet food sponsors, who donate literally tons of kibble to animal shelters and rescues in exchange for the creative postcards. I’ve been involved with the Pet PostCard Project for some time, sending postcards which my mom helps me create. Knowing that I am helping feed my shelter friends is the most important thing to me, but also my post cards have actually won some pretty cool prizes too. I have even taken some of the prizes I have won and donated them back to shelters that I support. Nikki asked me if I would be one of the Spokes Dogs for September and October and head up Team Bocker the Labradoodle in support of Sabbath Memorial DogRescue in Miami. I have enlisted some of my younger fans to help and it become a school project which helps the children be creative, have fun and also learn the importance of helping those in need.
How will you spend some of your down time during National Dog Week?
I do get time to be a dog, which of course is fun too. Maybe a few extra trips to the Paw Park would be in order, but what I love most is to just be able to sit in my yard and watch all the nature around me. Love sharing my space with deer, rabbits, and birds and enjoying the country air when I don’t have to be in the city. There’s always work to be done and right now I’m working on my book. Am I a lucky doodle or what!??
You certainly are, Bock. Thank you Bocker Labradoodle and Marie for all the good you do for dogs and their humans! To learn more about Bocker’s career go to www.bocker.tv/ You’ll be glad you did!
So far during this, the 82nd observance of National Dog Week, we’ve heard from renowned New York City dog trainer, Babette Haggerty, Houston Dog blogger Ryan Rice, and Seattle-based author Steve Duno. On this, the Fourth Day of National Dog Week we speak to Gretchen Kruysman of FetchDog, a “leading online destination for dog owners to shop, learn and socialize.”
FetchDog features items from Gates to Crates as well as quality dog products like beds and travel items. There are blogs and articles relating to all things canine as well as a “Health Library.” Check out FetchDog if you need a special gift for National Dog Week or you and your dog are getting ready for Hound-0-Ween or some other fun party.
For the record, although Gretchen and I share an affinity for sailing, and dogs, and a last name, as far as we know, we are not related!Thank you Gretchen for sharing your site with us during National Dog Week…
Why did you launch FetchDog?
Our mission is to help dog lovers enjoy their relationship with their dogs with best products we could find and expert information about caring for their dogs
What makes your site stand out from the pack of dog oriented websites?
I think what dog lovers enjoy about our site is our great dog photography that you can see at www.fetchdog.com.
When was FetchDog launched?
Our website launched in the fall of 2007
Please tell us about the FetchDog staff.
FetchDog is a small company based in Portland Maine. There are 15 of us humans who are all dog lovers plus lots of other “pack members” who help us out.
Tell us about FetchDog’s special celebrity connection.
Actress, Glenn Close is one of the co-founders of FetchDog and writes a blog for FetchDog called Lively Licks. Glenn is a long-time dog lover and currently is devoted to two mixed breed terriers, Jake and Billy. In Lively Licks she has interviewed other celebrities and dog owners, including returning war veterans with PTSD who rely upon specially trained service dogs.
Do you have any canines on staff?
We have a number of “staff” dogs including: the first pack member, my English Cocker Spaniel named Gracie; Emma the food-snatching Spunoni; two dogs named Lucy – one the Office Queen a 16-lb Cairn Terrier and the other a sweet,shy rescued black Lab; Buddy, the biggest dog in the pack; Denali, a grey-muzzled chocolate lab that is the oldest dog in the pack..and more…
What will your dogs be doing during National Dog Week?
For National Dog Week, we’ll be spoiling our dogs with an excess of love, long dog walks, special treats and our undivided attention…which of course is what we aspire to do every week for our dogs!
I would also like to thank all those bloggers and writers who took the time to talk to me about my work and writing. You can access those interviews at:
When the student is ready the teacher appears…Buddhist proverb
In his book, Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Story of Lou (St. Martin’s Press) , Seattle-based pet behaviorist and author, Steve Duno, is the student, ready to receive the lessons of a pup he rescued from a Northern California hillside.
Nearly six-months old and flea infested, why this dog Steve came to call Lou chose to present himself to a total stranger while his pack of siblings retreated back to the wild remains a mystery. Little did Steve know just how much this dog would change the course of his life.
Last Dog on the Hill tells the moving story of a special bond between a man and his dog. Together Lou and Steve, a former school teacher, tutored the kid of celebrities in Los Angeles, apprehended armed robbers and a rapist and worked as a team to rehabilitate dogs just a step away from death row due to behavioral issues caused primarily by their owner’s ignorance.
With his movie star looks, and soulful eyes, Lou had a profound effect on all he met during the course of his 16-year life. By choosing to be rescued by Steve off that California hilltop, Lou, a shepherd-Rottweiler mix claimed his heritage as a member of the Working Group, and his role as one of man’s best friends forever. Although no longer with us, Lou’s lessons continue to teach through the writings of his loyal guardian, Steve.
Do you think some people have a way with animals?
I think that certain people are “natural” pet owners- they seem to have an innate rapport with dogs and/or cats. I wrote about that in my books Be the Dog and Be the Cat. They are able to see things from the pets POV, and therefore make great owners. In my case, I had an idea of what pet ownership might be, from Lassie and Old Yeller and Rin Tin Tin… but the reality was a bit different.
As a young boy without pets of your own, how did you get your pet fix?
Pet fix? I had a cranky parakeet named Chipper, who’d strafe the room trying to poke your eyes out. And I read dog books and watched Lassie.
Who influenced you in the pet industry, did you have any role models?
Hmm. I didn’t know of any trainers other than Rudd Weatherwax, the owner of Lassie. He got those collies to do some cool things. When I was a kid I didn’t think you could make a living from dogs, unless you were a sheep herder…
Do you think we should encourage young people to explore careers in the pet-industry?
Careers in the dog field are, well, somewhat hard to get into. To be a vet takes years of school and money; and learning to train well takes years of hard work. Kennel work is tough, as is daycare work. Many dog walkers do make some good coin though. But sure, I guess that kids should know that pets can provide not only companionship, but a living as well.
Do you think there are other potential Lous out there?
Sure I do… but it takes the right dog. Perfect genes; most dogs wouldn’t have the goods. The dog has to be fairly strong, big, confident, sociable yet dominant and patient… not easy to find a dog like that. Lou was a natural; I didn’t teach him to do it. He just knew. Lou was a natural teacher with kids. They love dogs, provided the dogs are kind, tolerant, gentle. Dogs are natural teaching tools; how can you beat the lure of a good dog?
Do you think all dog owners need to seek out the services of a professional dog trainer?
I do not think everyone needs professional help with a puppy or dog; many are pretty competent. Years ago people were all good at it, as dogs were vital workers in the family/farm etc. You had to know canine behavior back then. Today though too many people treat dogs like trust fund babies and not dogs. They do not know dogs anymore. Those people need help! A few classes in the beginning can work wonders for them.
What should a dog owner look for when choosing a trainer?
Pick a trainer who you like. Watch them work a dog; does the dog respond to them, are they confident? Authoritative yet inspiring? Look for a trainer who emulates your third grade school teacher; loving yet confident and strong- someone with gentle power.
What about Lou’s littermates that chose to go down the other side of that hill?
Oh sure- Lou had seven or eight littermates, but they were all skittish and flighty. I saw them all- similar looks to Lou. He was the only one willing to interact. The others would have not been good pets I think…
You have written several “how to” books, was the writing of this more personal work very different for you?
Memoir form was easy for me, as I have a long history of writing fiction in addition to prescriptive non-fiction. It was a relief in a way.
How do you find the promotional side of the book business?
Hmm. I like meeting people on the road, and talking about the book. But the responsibility to promotions is a heavy load sometimes; I’m a better writer than a promoter. Writers are by nature introspective people- to expect them to also be salespeople is hard for many. But I am a ham, so… traveling can also be very tiring. and road food… oh the road food.
Thanks to Steve (and Lou) for sharing their story during this 82nd observance of National Dog Week.
To learn more about Last Dog on the Hill and Steve visit these sites:
In searching the Internet for items about National Dog Week, the work of Ryan Rice of the Houston Dog Blog stood out. In a time when pet overpopulation puts the lives of so many of the nation’s dogs in jeopardy, I thought his recognition of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement really exemplified the real meaning of dog week . Congratulations to Ryan and his dog, Isabella, and the city of Houston Texas for their efforts for the betterment of the American Dog! To read more about the Spay Neuter Assistance Program and his fundraiser, Pupcakes with a Purpose go to www.houstondogblog.com.
How long has the Houston Dog Blog been in existence?
My blog started in July of 2008.
Why was it developed?
I started as a way to highlight all of the great groups, events and activities for dogs in Houston. I also wanted a forum to talk all about my sidekick Isabella!
How did you find out about National Dog Week?
I found out about National Dog Week from surfing the web for great dog-related celebrations!
Are you surprised that so few dog lovers know about how and why it was begun back in 1928?
I am. I think it is such a great way to celebrate man’s best friend and their impact on our lives. Also a great time to promote all the great groups doing amazing things for dogs in need!
Do you think people want to know more about it and how it is still relevant today?
I definitely do! I find that our passion for pooches is growing so rapidly and we are all starting to celebrate the importance of dogs in our lives!
Can you tell us a little about your background?
My background started in non-profit PR with an emphasis on healthcare. After working for many years in this arena, I decided to follow my passion and work with organizations that supported animals. I have been doing PR for numerous groups since and have loved stepping out of my comfort zone and into the blogosphere. It has been so rewarding to meet so many great people and hear of so many great groups, products and activities!
Tell us about Isabella and any other dogs in your life?
Isabella is my constant companion and sidekick. We work together, play together and do everything together. I am also lucky enough to have other furry kids and our lives revolve around them
Please tell us about the dog scene in Houston.
The dog scene in Houston is so exciting. We are a huge city with a true passion for animals. Each day, more and more is being done to highlight our city’s love of animals and to help animals that are less fortunate and in need of a voice. I am proud to be representing Houston animal lovers and proud to call Houston home!
Tell us about your Pupcake fundraiser and SNAP.
Three of Houston’s top pet resorts, Rover Oaks, Urban Tails and ABC Pet Resort, joined forces to present this event to celebrate National Dog Week, while also raising much-needed funds and awareness to support spaying and neutering as a way to help combat animal overpopulation. This marks the first time the resorts have partnered for a cause and we are honored that they chose to help SNAP! Throughout the week, pet parents can celebrate their love of their pets by purchasing a celebratory Pupcake, with all proceeds benefitting SNAP. SNAP provides high-quality, low-cost spay, neuter and wellness services throughout the greater Houston area and operates a free mobile clinic to help those who want to do the right thing for their pet but lack the funds. It is a true representation of a community organization…helping the community and being an active advocate for Houston’s animals!
Will Judy started National Dog Week not to increase the amount of dogs in America, but to take better care of those that we have already. Ryan and Isabella and the dog lovers of Houston exemplify Will Judy’s mission. On a special note, today marks the 119th observance of the birth of Captain Judy who no doubt resides in dog heaven!
Well, dog-lovers of America, it is here…National Dog Week begins today giving us all seven days to “paws” to think about the state of the dog in the states of the nation. Over the past several months I’ve blogged every week about the legacy of Captain Will Judy and his Dog Week Movement, and the contributions of a man named Captain Arthur Haggerty to keeping the motion in that movement. You can access the archives of September to read more about National Dog Week.
When Will Judy began National Dog Week in 1928, the people of our nation were in for some hard times, and now 82 years later, some find themselves in a similar situation. Styles, movies, technology, politics all may change, but one thing I know for sure, the dog remains the same…loyal, steadfast, and always our best friend. With over 70 million dogs residing in American homes, it really does take a week to honor all of them, and another 51 to boot.
This week, I will post daily with an item featuring someone in the nation who helps to make the world a better place for both man and dog. I will be reposting them for some hang time during September and October. This first post presents renowned Dog Obedience Trainer Babette Haggerty of Babette Haggerty’s School for Dogs, LLC. Babette is the daughter of the late Captain Arthur Haggerty. She wrote the book, Woman’s Best Friend (McGraw-Hill 2003) and was the winner of City Tails Readers Choice Awards in 2008, voted as one of NYC’s Favorite Dog Trainers. Babette has also written the Foreword for my book project, Every Dog has its Week.
Please describe your services (names, background, individuals who work for you, if any). What makes your training service stand out in the New York metro region?
I train dogs and their people in the metro NYC area. I teach group and private lessons as well as have a boarding school. I have an assistant Erika Friedman who donates her free time to her non-profit called Canine Celebrations. I also have two girls that I am training to train dogs.
What is your training philosophy, or approach?
I believe in using a balanced approach while making the training easiest for the dog owner and fun for the dog. It is imperative that we deliver results as quickly as possible so that the owner doesn’t give up on the dog and it is relinquished to the shelter.
As the daughter of a renowned dog obedience trainer, did you know you always wanted to do this for a living? Who else in the field has influenced your methods?
While growing up, the dog training profession was virtually unknown. There were very, very few trainers out there. I always worked for my dad growing up when I was off from school. As far as I knew he was the only dog trainer out there. While in college, I told him that I wanted to get into showing dogs and he asked, “Why don’t you start training?” I told him that I couldn’t because he was THE dog trainer. I didn’t know that other people out there existed. He was such an icon in the dog world. We would be at a dog show and couldn’t walk two feet without someone stopping him. Even if we were just doing our thing in NYC people would always stop and recognize him. He was a bit of a hometown celebrity.
Your father was a huge of fan of Captain Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, was he ever able to meet him personally? Why did he think Will Judy was so important to dogs and their welfare?
I am not sure that my dad did meet him. My dad admired anyone that promoted dogs in a positive and progressive light. It is important to reflect upon the way dogs were viewed sixty, forty and even twenty-five years ago. They sleep in bed with us today and we dress them up and spend more money on their spa treatments than on ourselves sometimes. Back in Will Judy’s day, they would roam the countryside and come home at night to sleep outside. They served a utilitarian purpose as a hunter, herder, and guard back etc then. If you asked your grandmother when she was young if her dogs were allowed in the house, at all, she would probably tell you no.
What inspired your father to take up the cause of NDW in 2005? Was he pleased with the public’s response?
He was very pleased. He actually started putting together people to celebrate NDW earlier than that. He did it pretty consistently in the 70′s then as time went on it fell to the side and he brought it back around 2002 or 2003.
Can you tell us a little about your own dog or dogs and what they might like to do for NDW?
I have a German shepherd, a Rottweiler and a French bulldog. Since two of my breeds have reputations as vicious dogs I will be bringing them to the local schools to teach children how to be safe around dogs.
To learn more about Babette and her work please go to:
Thanks Babette! Please stay tuned for my interview with Ryan Rice of the Houston Dog Blog, tomorrow….
Janice Wolfe of Wyckoff, New Jersey, has a mission to “save two lives at a time.” Known as the New Jersey Dog Whisperer, Janice, through her organization Merlin’s Kids rescues dogs from shelters, rehabilitates them and then trains them to work as service dogs for children who have special needs, like those with autism spectrum disorder.
Janice explains that many of these very special dogs were moments away from losing their lives at shelters. Now with her help, they bring joy and assistance to families who are grateful for that dog’s presence in their lives. Through her work, Janice gives these dogs and so many deserving families a second chance.
According to this Dog Whisperer, Rhodesian Ridgebacks make excellent Assistance Dogs. She would know as she has bred them for twenty-three years. Originally bred to hunt Lions in Africa, and protect women and children, Ridgebacks, Janice explains, are intelligent and perceptive dogs whose sturdy physiques (80-90 pounds) make them perfect for service work.
Janice’s own “Rhodie,” Wyatt, is a case in point. Janice says she knew Wyatt was special from the moment he was born, possessing, “amazing energy.” Now two, Wyatt accompanies Janice as she travels to homes to help families in need. Wyatt, also known as Ch. Rambo’s Gunfight at the OK Corral JC, was the recipient of this year’s American Kennel Club’s prestigious ACE Award (Award for Canine Excellence) in the Service Category. This Thursday, Wyatt will be officially recognized by the AKC with an award presentation in New York City.
What makes Janice’s work so remarkable is that the services she provides are free of charge, and she will also work with established family dogs to utilize a pet’s natural, untapped ability to help. Janice sees canines as a prescription with fur and four legs explaining a dog can provide the help that “No pill, no medicine, no human can.”
In 1928 Will Judy reached out to the dog owners of the nation, asking them to look at dogs as spiritual beings with great helping capacities. In doing so, he declared that the last full week of September be reserved to honor our dogs, starting the National Dog Week Movement. Today, people like Janice Wolfe embody his message. Janice says that we, as dog lovers, must reach out to those individuals that still do not understand the true potential of the dog.
Dogs and their humans can meet Janice at Dog Fest on Sunday, September 19th at Windward Park Beach in Brick Township (Ocean County) from 11am-4pm. There will also be pet-related vendors and demonstrations by the Brick K-9 Unit, as well as local therapy and service dog organizations.
To read more about Janice’s work, she has published a book, titled, There’s Hope! co-written by Mark German, Assistant Director of Canine Rehabilitation and Certification at Merlin’s Kids. It is available through www.merlinskids.org or www.USPetExpress.org. Janice is also completing a second book for which Temple Grandin, a friend and colleague, has written the Foreword. According to Janice, “Temple is more excited about Wyatt’s ACE Award than her own Emmy!”
As a writer, and lover of dogs, I am excited for all of them and hope that someday the value of their work is fully realized by the American public.
New Jersey’s Dog Whisperer
“The Lady” Dog Whisperer
Merlin’s Kids Founder
Please watch for my interview with Janice Wolfe, NJ’s own Dog Whisperer. Janice will be appearing at Dog Fest on the first day of National Dog Week on September 19th, in Brick Township. Also during the Seven Days of Dog Week, read posts about author Steve Duno, renowned dog trainer, Babette Haggerty, Dancing with Dog’s Judy Gamet and many others…
In the meantime here is a post I wrote back in January….
It’s hard to believe that at one time in our nation’s history, dogs, and their humans really put on a show during National Dog Week. From Los Angeles to New York, and points in between, the week presented a Carnival of Canines.
Will Judy might have gotten the National Dog Week Movement started, but other individuals and organizations have kept it going throughout the years. For example, if it hadn’t been for the writings of one man, National Dog Week might have faded from American calendars for good. In 2005, the late Captain Arthur Haggerty, in his quest to pay tribute to Will Judy, launched a website just for Dog Week. The site, no longer up, was a great eye opener for me, a pricelss piece of dog history. Fortunately, I made a copy of it and it has become my blueprint for the book.
Captain Haggerty was a legendary dog trainer, a pioneer in the field of dog obedience. His talent for working with dogs was limitless, he trained dogs for military work, and then went on to train them for movies. Along the way, his dynamic presence landed him supporting roles in some of them, alongside his trainees!
Fascinated with my new-found knowledge, I contacted his daughter, Babette Haggerty, an accomplished dog obedience trainer in her own right. Babette was very receptive to my ideas and was so generous to have written the Foreword for my book (name to be revealed in time). Without having ever met me in person, her faith in my goal was very inspiring.
Sadly, Captain Haggerty passed a year after his efforts on behalf of National Dog Week. Today, this falls to a dedicated group of individuals of the American Dog Owners Association (ADOA) , a group I will be posting more about soon. With all the issues they must deal with, it is just too much to expect one group to bear the responsibility for running the show. To that end, my book sets out to help spread the message of Dog Week so that others can realize the great potential it can have in small towns and cities across the nation.
Captain Haggerty got it right when he said, “It’s all about the dogs.”
If at least but for one week!