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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.

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Welcome to my blog…to read about the National Dog Week Movement please click on ABOUT…

“My little old dog: A heart-beat at my feet.”  Edith Wharton, American, 1862-1937

Today, on the cusp of another Valentine’s Day, there is something being celebrated called Quirkyalone Day.  Started in 2004 by writer, Sasha Cagen, Quirkyalone Day promotes the healthy state of being alone rather than dating for the sake of being a couple.  Sasha even wrote a book about it titled, Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, Harper San Francisco 2001.

I mention this because although I’ve been married a respectable fifteen years this September, I did not marry until my late 30s, so this gives me a little cred when speaking of this subject.  While single, I did not let it stop me from traveling to Italy alone (unlike Ms. Gilbert in eat, pray love– I got ‘er done in one country).  Although these days a writing project does take me to those more mystical places, and although I may no longer be “alone” I am still quirky.

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite time of year because it is basically a “false” holiday these days…but it is great for the economy so I won’t bash it too much…and kids like it, too.  There, my husband is off the hook.  I thought about all this while at the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show in New York City on Friday Night, an incredible event put on by pet fashion expert, Ada Nieves.  I will note here that I will hear (or have heard it) from friends and family on how is it possible I can partake in any event that puts clothes on a dog.  As a reporter of sorts, my job is to present what happens in the “dog” world, and even in Will Judy’s time, back in the 1920s, this was a fashionable way to raise funds for shelter dogs (really, it’s in the book).

Recently, I contacted someone I knew a  long time ago.  I told him how, although we change in many ways over the years, the image of his family’s huge lovable cat remains an unchanged, happy memory for me.  Pets are a great way to provide companionship in our lives when we are in an independent state, help forge memories, and even take the occasional edge off normally harmonious long-term relationships.

One of the best parts of last Friday evening was seeing so many people united by their dogs and getting to meet some Facebook friends in person.  People like the lovely (and surprisingly tiny) Nikki Moustaki who is the genius behind the Petpostcard Project and is now eating dog food to bring attention to Nitro’s Law (more on this in my next post), the elegant Babette Haggerty, the renowned dog trainer and daughter of the late great Captain Arthur Haggerty, Barbara Babikian and her sweet pups, Lilly and Dusty who won honors this weekend for being Angels on Leashes to so many, and getting “pummeled” by a guy from Rescue Ink (really they are pussycats).  I also enjoyed meeting famous dog fashion designer, Linda Higgins and her husband Bill, seeing Janice Wolfe and Wyatt and Lourdes Lebron win honors for their work on behalf of dog and human, and of course the lovely sight of Bocker Labradoodle and Amanda (who played Julia Robert’s niece in eat, pray, love) on the “catwalk” among others.  And bless you Barbara for telling me I look much thinner in person! I am having difficulty downloading photos, so I will post more on Facebook…or try again…

Happy QA and Valentine’s Day to all…it’s all good

These events do bring a lot of attention to the never-ending problem of pet overpopulation in our nation.  Some of the dogs modeling were available for adoption and as stated before, a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to help the Sean Casey Animal Rescue fund.

renowned dog-trainer, Babette Haggerty, me, and r. Nikki Moustaki

Welcome to my blog.  To read about my project and book, please see the ABOUT section.  Thank you!

Posting has been delayed due to the seasonal nature of my art business.  I am grateful for all of my customers who choose to commission my personalized postcard artwork as gifts for family and friends.  Tomorrow I’ll be posting about some terrific dog-themed books I’ve had the opportunity to read then write about over the course of this year and provide some helpful information on workshop opportunities offered by the Highlights Foundation for those who write for Young People.

In 1928, Captain Will Judy established National Dog Week not to bring more dogs into the world, but to encourage us to be more enlightened and caring guardians of those that are already here.  In that spirit,  my sister, Manette, David, and Manette’s son, Zac, decided to welcome a homeless dog into their lives last month.  Their inspiring story, told collaboratively, shows how rewarding it can be when thought and action combine to give an “unwanted” pet a second chance…

 Please tell us why you wanted to adopt a dog…We started looking for a puppy after Masha, Zac’s girlfriend, and the owner of Cooper–a pit bull/retriever rescue who we’ve come to love, sent us a link for a pit/lab/hound puppy named Ringo. Throughout the year, we’d thought about adopting a dog and Ringo gelled that thinking into action.  After several discussions about how a dog would impose restrictions on our lives, and how it would affect our day-to-day routine, we decided to move forward. We’d both had dogs growing up; some wonderful—like Gamble, David’s Dalmatian, and a toy poodle named Cocoa Manette had grown up with.  But Zac never had a dog of his own (Tripod, the three-legged cat, Cowboy, the hermit crab, Slippery Slowpoke, the escargot that lived in the shower, Veyda, the cat that jumped on his back and hung around Manette’s neck like a fur collar, and other cats, yes, but no dog) but he had always wanted one. We all love Cooper and imagined our own dog running around the back yard and fetching balls with him in the swimming pool. It was time; we were getting a dog.

Masha, Zac, and Styles

How did you come to choose Styles?  In the meantime, Ringo had been adopted.  We checked out Petfinder, looking for “Cooperesque” candidates.  Zac had a major hand in raising Cooper.  He was also instrumental in raising a former room-mate’s, pit bull, Nina, a sweetheart who we all loved.  We thought about the “bully breed” reputation of pit bulls, and other “bully” breeds.  Our friends, Joyce and Eugene, always had Rottweilers, sweethearts all. We thought of Nina, and Cooper, and for Chrissakes, Petey, from the Little Rascals, was a pit.  We surfed web sites of pit-only trainers and read the articles describing the rehab of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs.  “Bull,” we decided about the “bully breed” myth.  A dog is what you make it, how you train it, how you treat it in the home you give it.  We decided on pit/lab mixes or other pit mixes.  We met Cinnamon, Buster and Ziggy at a Petco-sponsored adoption day for a rescue shelter. Too houndish.  Back to Petfinder, refined to pit bull babies. Rocky and Missy Blue Eyes in South Orange. Truffles in Brick.  Miss Eleven at Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge Inc. (RBARI) in Oakland, NJ looked like a mini-Cooper. But they also had this brindle named Styles that made David laugh.  On a Sunday we visited RBARI. Miss Eleven was adorable, but Styles was sweet, with a shiny, unusual brindle coat, white chest and white front paws like Two-Socks in Dances with Wolves. Undecided, we left to have a family meeting.

A beautiful Profile of Styles

But we talked most about Styles.  The staff at RBARI seems to work hard to match dogs with families.  They thought Miss Eleven might be a better match for us than Styles; as a male pit bull, they saw him as potentially more aggressive with other male dogs. And Manette actually favored Miss Eleven, too, but David and Zac thought she was aloof, less sweet than Styles. They favored Styles, with the only reservation that he played hard and might not socialize well with other dogs. Zac said he’d teach him and live with it if Styles couldn’t learn.  

Zac made it clear; Styles was the dog for him.  At that point, we called Karyn Montuori, Styles’ trainer at RBARI.  She’d fostered him for three weeks, working with him on socialization with her three other dogs, and food-aggression issues (he now eats out of our hand, and makes eye contact with us to wait for his food bowl until we tell him, “Okay”).  “He’s the best dog here,” she’d told us during our first meeting with Styles. Karyn assured us he would be great as a playmate for other dogs, including Cooper, as long as we socialized him early.  We picked up Styles that afternoon. Zac didn’t know until he got home from work.  What a great surprise he got that evening.

How did Styles end up in a shelter? Styles is a true rescue. He was surrendered–left tied up outside–at Bergen County Animal Shelter in Teterboro, New Jersey.  Karyn says sometimes unscrupulous breeders can’t place a pup and if it’s getting too old they give up and ditch it. She thinks that may have been Styles’ case.  Bergen County took him in and cared for him, including vet care.  Karyn saw his potential and had him brought to RBARI.  He fostered in the evenings with Steven, one of the RBARI staff.  He received all his vet care and vaccinations and started his obedience training under RBARI trainers, including Karyn.  He also went once a week to visit special needs kids, where he was a favorite.  After fostering with Karyn for three weeks, we adopted him in mid-November at five months old.

Can you explain Styles’ training program? RBARI requires adopters to keep training their dogs.  We would have anyhow.  We’re continuing to work with Karyn, who comes to our home once a week, and will for the foreseeable future.  Styles loves her (and she him) so it’s a great situation.  We have a big back yard with about 1/4 acre enclosed with a pool fence, so it’s an ideal space to walk, play ball with and train Styles.

How is Styles adapting to his new life? Styles and Cooper are now good friends, often sharing quiet times together, like two donuts curled up next to each other.  At other times, Styles is the instigator of their rough play.  Cooper will chase Styles around the pool, with a clever Styles cheating, still light enough at thirty pounds to cut across the pool cover, Cooper at eighty pounds now forced to run around. But when Cooper catches Styles he pushes him around with his bigger bulk.  Invariably it’s Cooper who can’t wait to leave to get this indefatigable little guy out of his face.  You can just see him thinking, “Enough play, already.  Give it a rest, squirt.”  Recently, Styles was a sensation during his first dog park visit.  When we walked into the gate at Overpeck Park in Leonia, five dogs encircled him, sniffing the new kid.  He did great playing with about fifteen dogs making us all proud with the admiring comments he got from other dog owners.  

Styles and Cooper, new bdff (best dog friends forever)

The most fun we’ve had with him was at McDonald’s.  Karyn said we should take him for a drive-in burger as a good socialization experience–the car, the drive-in window sights and sounds, the staff, ordering and picking up–and a treat of a piece of burger.  The woman taking our order said, “Oh, he’s a cutie.” Manette inched the SUV close and opened the window so he could stand on his front paws and lean out for her to pet him.  When we pulled up the lady deserted her post to run forward to the pick-up window to pet him again.  She wasn’t working on his second visit, but Styles knew exactly where he was as Manette and Zac drove in.

Will Judy wrote, “people own dogs for varied reasons. The reason is of small consequence; the important item is that the owners be worthy of their dogs.”  In their actions and efforts, Manette, David, Zac, Masha, Karyn and all of the nation’s dedicated shelter workers honor Judy’s mission, and they are indeed worthy.  I share in their sentiments that all the other dogs they met and considered find deserving forever homes of their own.  Thanks to all for sharing your story….

Look’s like Styles and Manette are all tired out.

Welcome to a blog written for those who have a “Weekness” for dogs…Stay tuned for Monday’s post about Nikki Moustaki and her Pet Postcard Project and some ways I hope to use my own vintage postcard art to help her cause to feed shelter pets…

Over the past several months I’ve posted almost every week about the legacy of Captain Will Judy and his National 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 for good measure. 

Last week, I posted daily with items featuring someone in the nation who helps to make the world a better place for both man and dog.  As promised, now I will be reposting them for some hang time during October. The  first post presented 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.  

 Babette posing with a friend in NYC last Valentine’s Day…

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  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: 

http://www.haggertydog.com 

www.mygifteddog.blogspot.com 

 Watch for reposts of my interviews with author Steve Duno, Last Dog on the Hill and Ryan Rice of the Houston Dog Blog where he will let us know how his Pupcakes with a Purpose Fundraiser turned out…

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…

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.  

Babette Haggerty and friend at a canine wedding, Valentine's Day, NYC

 

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: 

http://www.haggertydog.com 

www.mygifteddog.blogspot.com 

Thanks Babette!  Please stay tuned for my interview with Ryan Rice of the Houston Dog Blog, tomorrow….

 

"Yes, it is all about us!"

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!

Welcome Dogasaur Fans and Facebook Friends! Thanks for visiting my Blog about my National Dog Week project. Yesterday, over 500 of you took the time to read! From all your posts and comments, it’s clear many of you feel that every week is dog week.  But National Dog Week  brings the opportunity not just to be better humans to our own dogs, but to make sure the lives of all American dogs are protected and respected.

What am I doing for dog week? I’ve approached a local school about adopting Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project during National Dog Week.  I also spoke to Jim Erskine, Commander of American Legion Post 348 about a way we can help some deserving military dogs.  And of course, I continue to write about Will Judy and his National Dog Week movement. But I can’t do this without help, so get busy thinking of what you will do for dogs during those seven special days in September…..plan a party, a donation drive, get your bookstores and libraries to have a “dog day” devoted to our canines…adopt if you can, or volunteer your time at a shelter…..and then LET ME KNOW! 

This came in today, 8/18, from the Dogasaur fan page…

On September 18th, we celebrate the one year anniversary of bringing Butters into our family. ..funny it happened during National Dog Week.

My story is about a little nine pound fighter trying to survive during a time period that Atlanta w…as seeing some of the worst flooding in 100 years. How he got where he was, we haven’t a clue…but many neighbors were trying to rescue this fast and afraid little guy for three days. Finally the rain stopped and I was resuming my daily walks with my neighborhood children and my dear sweet dog Amos.

On our approach down the street we saw the little dog that was capturing the neighborhoods attention for days; eluding many attempts to rescue him, but this time Amos was the key and an innocent child of 5 as well. As we approached, Butters was lurred to Amos and his peaceful spirit; and as he was he was also drawn in by my little dog whisperer of a friend Marlissa; she bent down…extended her arms and he crawled in…and into all our hearts forever. The rest is history….

Our lives have been changed by this funny little dog who is Amos’s best friend forever. We always thought Amos was an only dog…but this nervous little blond haired boy taught us otherwise. He’s not nervous anymore; he is a very confident, funny companion that captured our hearts immediately and truly consider him a gift.

Melissa Slaughter

Thanks Melissa…Enjoy your special anniversary with Butters…Stay tuned for NDW news and some great interviews and reviews…and posts about issues concerning out dogs.  Now back to our original posting…

My book project, Every Dog has its Week is now represented by the Parkeast Literary Agency.  Every Dog has its Week documents a quirky, but meaningful slice of doggy Americana.  Following the history of an 82-year old tradition, this book presents the current state of the dog in the states of the nation in a thought-provoking manner.

The book is centered on William Lewis Judy, founder of the National Dog Week Movement, who long before television, and the internet used a typewriter, a pedestal phone and the power of his words to make life better for the deserving dogs of America.  Every Dog has its Week also credits the work of the late Captain Arthur Haggerty performed on behalf of dog week.  Captain Haggerty, often referred to as the “Grandfather of American Dog Obedience,” was a huge  fan of Captain Judy.  The book’s Foreword is written by his daughter, Babette Haggerty.

As I’ve unleashed this story, CEO and founder of www.Dogasaur.com, Josh Abrams has been a great resource.  Much like Will Judy, Josh has dedicated his life to the mission of “making our dogs’ lives better, even if only by a little each day.”  Last week the Dogasaur Face Book Fan Page (www.facebook.com/dogasaur)  achieved an incredible milestone announcing it now had over 100,000 fans, making Dogasaur the fastest growing dog-centric social networking site on the Internet. Congratulations to Josh and his devoted following.

With over 70 million dogs taking up residence in our nation, let’s honor man’s best friend by keeping the bark in National Dog WeekRescuers, breeders, groomers, vets, obedience trainers…..anyone who cares about, or works with dogs, if you love them plan something to show them just how much for this National Dog Week (September 19-25).

Please send your dog week stories for Every Dog has its Week to Lisa Begin-Kruysman at pst39crd@aol.com.  Please put NDW Story in the subject line.  Hooper, my Portuguese water dog, looks forward to reading them.

Last week, a very good friend of mine came down to visit me here at the Jersey shore.  We enjoyed a great talk on the beach that revolved around her kids.  Her oldest, a marine pilot has just been stationed in San Diego, and from there, who knows…Her middle is training to be a Vermont state trooper, and her youngest is doing just fine at Drexel U in Philadelphia.  After we talked about her kids, the talk turned to my kid, Portuguese water dog, Hooper, and my friend’s two fur-children Bailey and Morgan.  Beagle Bailey came into my friend’s life after her husband rescued him from a home that no longer wanted him.  He had been relegated to the basement, howling for attention until my friend’s husband offered to take him off their hands.  Morgan, a young shepherd mix was a rescue from a local shelter. 

Bailey is now 12, and is blind and nearly deaf.  Morgan, who up until now did not want anything to do with this “annoying” older dog, has become his protector.  “Did you ever hear of a dog becoming a seeing eye dog for another?” my friend asked me.  I hadn’t, but I’m not surprised.  Morgan, as if sensing Bailey’s troubles, now stands by his side, moving slowly so that Bailey can find his way around.  I enjoyed this story, and it confirms the way dogs really can be man’s best friend, while remaining true to their own. 

But are we really a dog’s best friend? This morning, as I checked in on www.petfinder.com, I was taken with a little Havanese in need of a home.  The link brought me to a shelter in the south.  I e-mailed them and asked about the status of this dog.  Thankfully, the dog was in the process of finding a good home, but I was informed that over 1,000 dogs in South Carolina will most likely be put down in the very near future because there just are not enough homes for them.  And that’s just in one state.  That is a very sobering statistic.  I asked them, “What is the answer?”  They replied that the answer lies in the education of dog owners.  How many people acquire pups, and adult dogs, without making any effort to become acquainted with the breed of the dog, or in the case of  apparent mixed-breeds, try to ascertain the type of dog they have invited into their home?  How many take the time to try and train their dogs?  And what about all the unwanted pups that come into the world because their owners were too cheap, or just didn’t think spaying or neutering were important?

Research for my book shows me this has been a problem in our nation for over 80 years.  The way things are going, it looks like I could write about this topic forever….

In the coming weeks, posts will include an interview with dog authors, Jon Katz, Steve Duno, and more…

Most people know David Bryan, 48 year-old keyboardist for the band Bon Jovi for well, his keyboard talent, and maybe that big mop of wavy blond hair.  But David’s talents go beyond popular music as his recent Tony award for Best Musical shows.  Last Sunday night, David, who co-wrote the lyrics for the award-winning Broadway Musical, Memphis, shared in a great victory in receiving the highest honor bestowed on a Broadway production.  He even won out over Green Day’s very popular American Idiot. If you haven’t seen Memphis, it really is special, and worth the trip to the city.  I saw it in January and blogged about David and his accomplishments in the post Lyrics Made In Jersey (see Archives for January 21).

Staying on a Jersey theme, and of course going to the dogs, please help Nikki Mousaki of the Pet Postcard Project as she tries to get enough votes to help her land her very own Oprah show.  Nikki, who has Jersey connections, now splits her time between Manhattan and Miami.  She is a prolific writer, and tv personality who has done so much to help shelter animals, especially with her Pet Postcard Project (see my article about her in a recent Newark Pets Examiner).  To learn more about Nikki’s Oprah ambitions, and to vote for her go to  http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=7717&promo_id=1.  Nikki also maintains a Facebook page and a website for the Pet Postcard Project.

Also, this week I will posting a Father’s Day piece featuring David Muriello, CPDT,  of Biscuits and Bath Training in Manhattan. David, (a resident of  New Jersey) has appeared on ABC’s Rachael Ray Show and is a new father.  He will talk about that special bond that exists between dog, dad, and kid and may have some advice to the dads out there dealing with that eternal question, “Dad, can we please get a dog?”  Oh now, don’t be so quick to say no…..And stay tuned for many other great stories of people who make a difference in the way we look at man’s best friend.

David and Nikki exemplify the spirit of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement, and by movement, we mean ongoing.  Don’t let a great American tradition fall by the wayside.  This year, honor this seven-day observance of the dog the last full week of September. And hats off to some very talented people with Jersey credits!

Hooper

"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda

DJ

DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”

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