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In March, it was announced that National Dog Week 2016 had a new theme and logo! Today, on this blog launched to promote NDW, we present “Readers Unleashed: Promoting Literacy with K-9s.” We hope you love its logo, too, and will share with those groups and organizations that will help to promote this initiative.
As many are curious about these programs, we invited our friend Bocker Labradoodle to share his experience through a dog’s-eye-view. For more about “Reading to the Dogs” and National Dog Week, please visit the Today Show Parenting Team Site: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/national-dog-week-2016-will-have-kids-pawsing-to-read
Can any dog wander into the library and be read to by a student? If not, what special training does a dog need to be part of reading programs in libraries and schools? No, a dog just can’t walk into a library or a school. A dog has to be certified with a therapy dog group in order to take part in reading programs whether they are in a library or a school. It’s not so much training, but the dog must pass a certification test with a therapy group in order to act as a therapy dog. Dogs need to be calm, gentle, not easily frightened by noises or sudden movements. There are certain rules to be followed by both dog and handlers. Of course, there is the matter of insurance and the therapy dog organization holds insurance for their dogs who visit certain facilities.
How long have you been listening to student readers? I passed my therapy dog certification test when I was about three years old. The first read program in which I participated was called Tail Wagging Tutors, in 2008.
How do you get your reading “jobs”? The therapy group that I have been certified with had a Tail Wagging Tutors group. A local elementary school made it part of the school day for these certified dogs to come and be read to once a week for an hour. The young people that wanted to take part were excused from their regular class for that hour. The classes were held in the school library.
Are some students afraid of you and your reading dog friends? If so, how do you help them overcome their fear? In therapy visits to schools, I have come across children who have been afraid of dogs for one reason or another. We have tried on occasion for the teacher to approach me with the child and almost always by the end of the session, the child is petting me and feeling like they made a huge step forward. It’s so rewarding for the child, the teacher, and of course me.
What happens if a student is allergic to dogs? There is no such thing as a purely hypo-allergenic dog, although some dogs have less dander. I’m sure it would be at the discretion of the family if a child has allergies.
Do you see children improve their reading after a few visits with them? It’s very easy to spot children who improve with their reading after a short time. We pups are non-judgmental and children are at ease reading to us, so they are more apt to enjoy reading and think of it as fun. By reading more, they obviously become better readers. Studies have been done and show how reading scores increase.
Do you have a special story or moment you can share about your work? Yes, the children would usually bring their own books to read and on one occasion one of the boys just came in with a notebook. We asked where his books were and he said someone at home had gotten ill and he had to go stay with a grandparent at night and he didn’t have his books. He said because he didn’t have the books he usually reads, he had written a story for me. It was a story about how much I meant to him and how much he loved reading with me. Very special to say the least.
How can schools and libraries find certified dogs to visit them? Therapy groups usually have lists of schools and libraries in their area that wish to take part in reading programs. Otherwise, schools/libraries can find out what Therapy groups work in their area and contact them. The elementary school I went to had an actual approved program that took part once a week during school hours in the school’s library. That was terrific.
What are your favorite books? I love anything that is read to me. So much fun to find out the different interests of each child I read with. So I get a great mix…stories about friends, animal stories, superheroes, science, sports.
Have you ever written any books of your own? Yes. My book is Chasing Bocker’s Tale. It’s about my early life and how I got involved in so many different things and found so many ways to help others. I have been invited to Libraries so children can read my book. It’s so much fun and I usually give them copies, pawtographed, of course, to take home.
We thank Bocker and his mom, Marie, for taking time to share with us!
If you wish to share your “Reading to the Dogs” story with us, please comment or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Respect your dog’s individuality: concede to him all the rights and privileges a dog claims for himself. He wants to be a normal dog – let him lead a dog’s life.” Captain William Lewis Judy, Founder of National Dog Week
My very special friend, Bocker Labradoodle, with the help of his parents, has released a terrific new book called, CHASING BOCKER’S TALE. Last week, I received my very own numbered and “pawtographed” copy. Everyone who advertised in the book has helped to do good for some deserving animal causes. With contributions from Michele Avanti and Stef Daniel, you will love its message and images. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/#!/ChasingBockersTale.
I am happy to announce that Hollywood-based veterinarian, Dr. Patrick Mahaney will serve as the official pet health consultant for this year’s 83rd Observance of National Dog Week http://www.patrickmahaney.com/ Please also welcome Oregon-based artist, Donald Brown who will help capture on canvas, the spirit of National Dog Week in a fun event planned for September http://www.donaldebrown.com/ For more info about NDW and updates on my book, Every Dog has its Week: How Seven Days in September came to celebrate Dogs and the People who Love Them, please see ABOUT.
The following is my second talk with Robert Cabral…
On July 9th, I wrote a post about the talented Robert Cabral from Malibu, California. Robert, Founder of Bound Angels http://www.robertcabral.com/ is an accomplished photographer and dog trainer who works with dogs that need some tender loving care and socialization to help make them the lovable pets they truly want to be. When Pam Dzierzanowski, Director of Events for the Patron Spirits Company, told me about Patron’s participation in a fundraiser for Bound Angels, I wanted to share. Patron “mixed-it up” with some very special drink concoctions designed just for this event held on the grounds of the gorgeous estate of Cindy Landon in Malibu, California. It is so great to see people enjoying themselves in such a beautiful setting, all for a good cause. From Hackensack to Hollywood and all points in between, people can come together to make some important changes in the way our animals are cared for. Everyone can do something…
Robert is also a supporter of Shelter Revolution. I asked him what he thought of Thomas Cole’s work on behalf of SR http://www.shelterrevolution.org/and he commented, “I think Thomas’ thinking is at the forefront of the revolution we are hoping for. He is persistent and focused, and most of all, detail-oriented. I’m certainly glad to be on the same side of the battle as Thomas.”
Please tell us about your sponsors for this event? The event was underwritten by Ms. Cindy Landon. Sponsors included Cindy, Patron Spirits, The Annenberg Foundation and Rod and Stasey Summers.
What was Patron’s connection to your cause? Patron was kind enough to sponsor our bar and liquor. They created special drink recipes for our event. It was a perfect addition to our event especially since Patron is my favorite tequila.
How many people attended? There were approx 180 people in attendance.
Please tell us a little about the event’s host Cindy Landon and her involvement in your cause. Cindy became involved with Bound Angels after we met at the first fundraiser 3 years ago. She has been a steadfast supporter, benefactor and friend to Bound Angels and all the work we do. She is truly an angel to all the animals we help through the work we do.
Was the event a success? The event was a huge success, all of the funds raised will go to programs to save more animals at risk in shelters, educational and outreach campaigns as well as direct rescue work.
Do you have any other events planned? Coincidentally, there was another event benefiting Bound Angels the very next weekend on July 31, where my work with Bound Angels was awarded the PAL award by Chiquita’s Friends.
I understand you went to court a few weeks ago, can you tell us why and a little about what went on? There is new legislation in Los Angeles County that redefines the law relating to dangerous dogs. This is dangerous as that it does not protect people from “dangerous dogs,” but contrarily puts innocent dogs with normal behavior at risk of being labeled aggressive and therefore at risk of being killed in shelters. We are following this closely and are fighting it as well. Bound Angels has fought several cases in court that have defended dogs wrongfully accused of being “vicious and/or dangerous.”
Thank you Robert, Cindy Landon, Patron Spirits and everyone who made this a successful event. It would be nice to see other companies follow the lead of Patron and use their products and services to help some special causes. I think readers would like to hear more about your work with dogs in need and to be kept posted about the legalities that are facing the dogs of your area and all over the nation.
Welcome to my blog that was established to bring awareness to the National Dog Week Movement begun in 1928. To read more…please see ABOUT.
Nitro’s Law HB108 (formerly HB70) was reintroduced on February 22, 2011. Please… Now it has to be PASSED, contact your Ohio Legislators now! http://www.house.state.oh.us/index.php?option=com_displaymembers&Itemid=55. Among other places, Nikki was recently interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN and will talk with Howard Stern tomorrow, February 28th, at 7am on Sirius XM Radio. Good work on the part of Nikki, Bocker and the Nitro Foundation!
Steve Duno, author of Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou is currently hard at work on another dog book. Some have asked if there is a dog in Steve’s life now. He tells me that there are two, “Flavio, shep/chow mix, almost 14 and Rico, a beefbrained pit/shep mix.” We look forward to hearing more about Steve’s new project…
February is National Spay and Neuter Month, and today, February 22nd was Spay Day USA…help put an end to the nation’s pet overpopulation epidemic and make sure you are responsible pet owners….not just during February, or today, but year round…If anyone can provide information on spay and neuter clinics that offer financial help to pet owners in different areas of the nation, or clinics please contact me at email@example.com and I will post…thanks (or post a comment).
This was submitted by my Facebook Friend Pat Needham for those in Kentucky: Erik Fleming Regional Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic 9142 Morehead Rd. Flemingsburg, Ky 41041 phone 606 876-2697. They opened Feb. 22 and it is a very nice facility.
More news… Erika Friedman of Canine Celebration and Amy Calmann are currently collecting Kong Dog Toys for shelter pets. Kong toys, which contain a tempting “hidden” treat, help provide stress reducing activity for crated shelter dogs ultimately making these homeless dogs calmer and more adoptable. To read more, please check out the Canine Celebration Page on Facebook. Please watch for a related post…
As Nikki Moustaki’s “Eating Dog Food for Nitro’s Law” campaign heats up across media outlets, and in saute pans across America, she is bringing wide-spread awareness to the way state laws across the nation affect the way our pets are treated. To read more about this, please see my previous post that features my interview with her or go to http://www.nitrofoundation.com. Anyone who is a regular reader of these posts, or visits my Facebook wall will be quick to notice comments to and from, and photos of Bocker the Labradoodle as standard features in those places! I met Bocker and his “mom” Marie in August of last year and again at Ada Nieves’ Pre-Westminster Fashion Show in New York on February 11. Not only is Bocker an actor/model, he also works as a “literary assistance” dog, helping kids to read, and tirelessly works with his mom to help raise funds for shelter dogs.
Now, Bocker is joining Nikki to help bring awareness to her mission to get the State of Ohio to pass Nitro’s Law. In these tough economic times, the voiceless among us are often forgotten, in this case our dogs. Nitro, and several other dogs, starved in silence, at the hands of someone who purported to care. Now, Nikki, and those who are helping her, hope that a bill that showed great promise won’t starve in silence also.
Bocker is now eating human food in his effort to get Nitro’s law passed and in doing so, getting other states to take a look at laws affecting their pets. To learn how you and your dog (or cat) can get in on this good cause please go to http://www.facebook.com/bocker#!/photo.php?fbid=171947436185324&set=a.171947432851991.42880.171725899540811&theater.
I am sure dogs of America will only be too glad to help in this case…but they do so much, asking for so little in return, they won’t even know that they’re helping a good cause, as usual.
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.
Welcome! To learn more about my National Dog Week Project, please see ABOUT!
Don’t forget the Pup-tial event of the season, when Giorgio and Lady B. join paws on Saturday, September 12 in an event put on by Erika Friedman of Canine Celebration. Please see previous post for details…
If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater..suggest that he wear a tail. Fran Lebowitz, American, b. 1950
If this quote holds some truth, and dogs can really talk, then a lot of humans will be wagging their tails come this weekend when The Pre-Westminster Gala & Fashion Show will herald the beginning of the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Weekend. Held at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania, this event caters to the The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show’s Particiants and Attendees on the evening of Februaty 11th in the beautiful Penn-Top Ballroom overlooking New York City in all its glory.
Featuring the latest products in the market, the event, chaired by Gregg R. Oehler, recognizes the efforts of those people working to make a difference within the Dog Community. The show closes with the “Puptials” Ceremony of a Champion Show Dog as a loving symbol of our beloved companion animals and their proud parents. Come meet some of NYC’s Top Breed Group Organizers, Celebrities and Active Dog Community Members. Also, there will be National & New York media affiliates who are covering the show, attendees, and show dog people.
In November, I interviewed Ada Nieves (Archive 11/14), the event’s Fashion Director. Below Ada shares some updates on this event.
Can you tell everyone how your plans are coming along for the PWF Show? Happy to !!! This event is all about presenting the latest product in the market, supporting and recognizing members of our dog community that are the heart of all…it’s about having dog owners confirm their friendship and the love of their pets. It’s about helping local rescues….it’s about an industry that depends on the members of its community to thrive, to get strong and keep growing. It’s about passion, commitment…the need of help make this planet a better place for all!
What designers will be featured? I’m very proud to say we count with some of the top pet designers from our nation’s best! First we have the students from the Fashion Institute of Technology Certificate Class of Pet Product and Marketing Design…about ten of the best in class will feature their own products and will have them available for purchase in the show. Then we have four colleagues that I truly enjoy and whose work I admire; Roberto Negrin, Anthony Rubio, Tammy Peace and Aleyda Delgado.
Who will model? Celebrity dogs like Booboo ( Broadway’s Legally Blonde show Chihuahua ), Bocker the Labradoodle and Eli, NYC’s celebrity Chihuahua and our Top Breed meet-up organizers and the new TV reality show Doggie Moms…including a dog that will compete at Westminster who will be getting married at our event. We will definitely have a variety of the best of NYC on the runway in a three-part show that includes, vendors showcase, celebrity awards and then closing with puptials!
How long has this event been going on? Since 2006 and since its beginning, I’ve been the fashion designer…however this year we want to share the runway with my friends and show our dog community what great talent we have!
Is it for charity? Yes. Proceeds are to benefit Sean Casey Animal Rescue, http://www.nyanimalrescue.org.
Can you tell us about some of the fun things planned for dog and human? We will open with a showcase of products from sponsors and FIT students getting into the industry, guests will be able to purchase on the spot their products of choice. We will have three runway shows…at each, top dog models, members of the community and celebrities will be featured. In between each show there will be short entertainments…goodie bag give-aways, …two “indognito” judges will select the best dressed from the audience for a chance to be a guest of honor and participate at the puptials!
How many people (and dogs) usually attend? The average is 400
Tell us about your sponsors? We have as Cesar’s Way magazine and Natural Balance…and also some Gold Sponsors …see website for complete list… http://www.pre-westminsterfashionshow.com.
Thank you Ada. We wish you and your associates the best of luck with this event!
As many of you know, I’ve spent time down in Big Pine Key, FL, and while there, got to know some great volunteers who were working very hard to build an off-leash dog park on the key. Sadly, one of them, Amy Bressem, has passed before seeing this dream realized. Tomorrow, at 4:30, a Memorial Service will be held at the beautiful site of Bahia Honda Park. I am aware that many have visited my blog to keep posted about the park’s progress, and I wanted to share this news about the passing of a dedicated dog lover who died so young at the age of thirty-four. My condolences go out to her friends and family at this difficult time.
Recently, my friend Bocker Labradoodle told me about an exciting event to be held on November 20th in mid-town Manhattan. Christmas Feet and Family Day at Citi Pond at Bryant Park offers something for everyone, free skating and skate rentals for the little ones, performances by Broadway actors, ice-skating performances by the Haydenettes, the stars of Rescue Ink, and a pet fashion show directed by New York City “pawty” planner extraordinaire, Ada Nieves.
Christmas Feet is a children’s book written by Maureen Sullivan and illustrated by Alison Josephs, both of whom will be appearing at this event. Christmas Feet tells the story of Carlos, a French bulldog that finds the true spirit of the holiday while spending the day in Bryant Park, read more at www.anklesoup.com. Once-upon-a-time, my office at Home Box Office overlooked Bryant Park, and as I taught ice-skating to kids for years, and of course love to write about dogs and kids, this was an event I wanted to know more about. I thanked Bocker for the bark-out and contacted Ada Nieves.
A native of Puerto Rico, Ada is very active in the Latino community and is breaking new ground in the world’s dog community as the official “It Girl” for pet events in New York City. Ada is a renowned Certified Pet Fashion Designer, gourmet treat baker and successful “pawty” planner. She heads the largest Chihuahua group in the nation, hosts a Pet Life Radio Talk Show, Vida Doggie, writes for the Examiner.com and is a contributor to several pet magazines. She is the Vice-President of Special Events and Communications for Inky Blue Sea (www.InkyBlueSea.org), the President of a dog walking service, and runs a FREE pet pantry that provides pet food for pet owners with disabilities.
Ada explains that she “went to the dogs” as a way to boost her spirits when her husband was deployed to Iraq. A children’s party planner at the time, Ada involved herself with all things dogs, transferring her business skills to a pet party planning business making dog cakes, treats and clothing allowing her to spend more time with her “Chichis,” her family of adorable Chihuahuas, which now numbers five.
And Ada’s Chichis are busy working dogs. Cinnabon Bon, Vanilla Salt, Mojito Bandit, Margarita Ville and AKC CH Tabasco Chill Pepper (the only champion living in New York City) are joined by resident cat, Martini Beethoven. Ada’s dogs have appeared in numerous television commercials. A recent session had them filming segments for Animal Planet and National Geographic, and Ada recently worked on the set of 30 Rock as a dog stylist. They have also appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, the Conan O’Brien Show and Sabado Gigante/Univision among others. To read more about Ada and her talented pooches, please go to www.adanieves.com.
Ada is the Creative Director for the Fashion Show Event to be held at Christmas Feet. Hosted by Harrison Forbes, noted Pet Behaviorist and host of Pet Talk, a nationally syndicated radio show, some adorable dogs will make their way down the “cat walk” modeling creations designed by Ada. Among them, none other than Bocker Labradoodle sporting a red satin outfit with black trim and sunglasses. Bocker will be escorted by actress Amanda Henderson, star of eat, pray, love! Other lovely four-legged models include Rose Russo’s Penny Lane and Lilly Pads and Lola, Tuffy and Munchie, “owned” by Lourdes Lebron.
On February 11th, at 8:00pm for the sixth year, Ada will present the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show at the Pennsylvania Hotel in Manhattan, something I’ll share more about as the day nears.
I sure wish I could attend this exciting event, but my work takes me elsewhere. But since I’ve always wanted to attend a Westminster Event, I may just accept Ada’s invitation and take in that fashion show for myself in February! Perhaps Ada can help design some fun dogwear for an upcoming National Dog Week observance.
Thank you for taking the time to share all your accomplishments with me, Ada. For more information about Christmas Feet please call (212) 661-6640.
On a sad note, one of Ada’s beloved dogs, Tequila Bon passed yesterday, making it a very difficult day at the Nieves household. We are so sorry to hear about your loss, Ada.
Welcome to my Blog, a place for those with a “weekness” for dogs. This post presents Nikki Moustaki of the Pet Postcard Project. Nikki’s tireless work on behalf of homeless dogs is worth noting, and you can learn about the special way she helps shelter dogs in this post.
I would also like to thank Renee Premaza, NJ Dog Trainer, for interviewing me this morning about my work on behalf of Will Judy’s National Dog Week and my book Every Dog has its Week. It was so great to be able to talk about this deserving subject….My pre-taped segment with her will air on Thursday, October 14 from 10-10:30am on WNJC-1360 AM. It will also be available in her radio archives at www.jerseydogtrainer.com.
Long before the internet, cell phones, even rotary phones, Americans relied on a pencil, a pen (if they were lucky to have one), a one-cent stamp and a small rectangular piece of paper, to communicate all kinds of personal messages with friends and family.
This tiny, but powerful, writing tool was called the Picture Postcard and during the early part of the Twentieth Century it was the way Americans communicated by the billions! Industries and shops sprung up just to keep up with the public’s obsession with them. American and foreign cities and towns, flowers, beach scenes, buildings, landmarks, birthdays, holidays, and yes, cats and dogs, all could be found gracing one side of these miniature works of art. Picture postals were also a unique way for those without cameras to capture the exciting experience of foreign and domestic travel that was increasingly available to many.
Before the backs of these cards were “divided,” senders of postcards were only allowed to write the intended recipient’s address, sometimes only using the street name, followed by “City.” Somehow they got delivered, often three times a day, at one time in our postal history.
Lucky for us, so many postcards survived and are still available to a new generation of collectors. I came upon my first antique postcards in a shop in Vermont over twenty years ago. I began using them in my paintings and a business was born. My work allows me to present images that are between fifty and one hundred years old. I work with my own collection and the cards of others, and these pictures hang in homes and offices throughout the world.
In the past year, my energy and attention has turned toward writing, and if you are a regular visitor to this Blog, you know it was set up to educate the public about the legacy of Captain Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement and my book, Every Dog has its Week, that documents the history of the week from its inception in 1928. Even Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, published his own set of cards called “Dog Sentiments,” featuring poems and writings about his favorite subject.
Speaking of dogs and postcards, in January of this year I happened upon something called the Pet Postcard Project. What a concept! Started by Nikki Moustaki in Miami, this deserving effort converts postcards into food for shelter pets. I wrote an Examiner piece about Nikki that can be viewed at www.examiner.com/pets-in-newark/lisa-begin-kruysman.
Because I believe that change comes about through “small” collective acts, I think Nikki’s program is genius! To read more about Nikki’s work please see www.betterwords.typepad.com/petpostcardproject.
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!