photo by Christopher Appoldt

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. 

Bocker takes time out to answer some questions

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!

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