Welcome to my Blog, a place where the dog-human bond is promoted and I share my knowledge and enthusiasm for National Dog Week. To learn more about my work, please see About…If you like what you see, please share and subscribe!
Is your dog headed for “Howlly-wood” stardom, is your cat camera-ready for commercials? Animal Casting Director Dawn Wolfe may be able to give you the answer. Dawn is the owner of Pawsitively Famous Animal Actors, based in Delran, New Jersey.
At age ten, Dawn watched the movie Benji, and fell in love with its star. By age twelve, she began “putting on animal acts” for the entertainment of friends and family, quickly earning her the reputation as the “neighborhood pet sitter, dog trainer and wildlife rehabilitator.” A career was born.
In the late 1980s, Dawn and her family moved from Alaska to New Jersey where she could apprentice under the late U.S. Army Major Fred Fink who had served as the principal handler for the United States Army’s Canine Corps. Here, Dawn became a Certified Dog Behaviorist and Master Trainer. These days, Dawn is busy developing the Movie and Acting aspect of her dog-business and the training involved there-in. Dawn’s motto is, “A tired dog is a good dog,” and loves to share her holistic approach to dog care with her clients. To read Dawn’s full biography go to http://www.pawsitivelyfamousanimalactors.com.
And that side of the animal industry seems to be growing. No matter what product or service is being pitched, advertising pros and those in the entertainment industry know that an adorable animal can help launch a highly successful advertising campaign. Just turn on your television and wait. Last night, I counted several commercials in which a cat or a dog had the starring role, and they weren’t all for pet-related products – whether selling financial services, beer, or chips, at some point, a well-trained animal has been “hired” to sway a consumer. And how many movies feature a four-legged heart-breaking hound or charismatic kitty?
And well-trained is the key word, because as Dawn will point out, no matter how cute or beautiful an animal may be, if it can’t follow commands and behave on the set, it cannot make it as an animal actor or model. A lot of work goes on before and during a taping or a photo shoot, and to create an animal star. Dawn also offers her services as an obedience trainer to help animals reach their goals as pitch-pets and actors.
These days, most people see some incredible footage of animals doing some clever and entertaining things on television and the internet, including those popular “Stupid Pet Tricks” segments on Late Night with David Letterman. Those pets really aren’t so stupid, and not many know that a man by the name of Captain Arthur Haggerty, who also trained military dogs, was the inspiration behind this enduring feature. Captain Haggerty, who passed in 2006, is often referred to as the “Grandfather of American Obedience Training” in America and was instrumental in promoting the National Dog Week Movement with his enthusiasm and love for dogs. Through his work, the talents of our pets, especially dogs, were given a showcase on a national level, and helped to educate the public as to what a well-trained pet is capable of.
Below, Dawn shares a little about her work and this intriguing aspect of the pet-industry…
Please tell us about your business? Our company is called Pawsitively Famous Animal Actors. (http://www.pawsitivelyfamousanimalactors.com) We offer pet owners the opportunity to pursue an acting and modeling career for their pet. We have an online database for them to register and create a profile for each of their pets. The database is then utilized by me and the client to search, view and book the animal talent. We also hold casting calls to locate talent and conduct open auditions regularly. We are also animal trainers and therefore also spend time preparing animals for their upcoming roles. We also are on set making sure everything goes smoothly.
How long have you been in the animal casting biz? About 5 years now.
Do you only work with cats and dogs? No, we cast birds, farm animals, horses, reptiles and rodents. We have also worked with donkeys, skunks, a pot belly pig and a Capybara.
What has been one of your memorable moments in the business? Working on a shoot with Rufus, the all-time world champion Bull terrier.
What are common misconceptions that humans have when trying to get their pets into showbiz? That because their dog is cute or unusual looking it should be in show business. The ONLY thing that matters in this industry is the TRAINING that the pet has had.
Can you tell us about a recent commercial, movie, or television spot your pets can be seen in? Our clients include Target products, Aflac, and Treasure Islands Resorts and Casinos. You can also check out a recent project at https://www.petloungee.com/?gclid=CKS1ncTGqacCFcfe4AodQBWADA We also hold Casting Calls for CATS 101 and DOGS 101 (for specific breeds) for Animal Planet.
As you know, the legendary Dog Trainer, Captain Arthur Haggerty played an important role in popularizing dog obedience training in America. Are you aware of National Dog Week and the Captain’s enthusiasm for the event and its founder, Captain Will Judy?
Yes of course I know of National Dog Week. I would love to be more involved in promoting it. I miss Cap and love his daughter Babette to death. (To learn more about Babette’s business and services go to http://www.haggertydog.com).
Thanks for talking with me Dawn. Her work exemplifies the positive relationship that is inherent between humans and animals. When we make the effort to bring out the best in our pets, we bring out the best in ourselves. I hope we can work on something together to educate the public about the potential of the National Dog Week Movement and its significance in America’s past, and present.