Oh, and in non dog related news…

Just a note to say that we support ‘Freedom to Marry Week‘ – and you should, too.

Love knows no boundaries, peeps.

Freedom to Marry Week

Freedom to Marry Week
11th Annual Observance
February 10-16, 2008

Westminster Re-Cap – French Bulldogs, Patty Hearst and Unfair Hair Cut Advantages

Well, the judging is done, and yet again the Frenchie got overlooked for a frou frou poodle. C’est la vie. Apparently a poofy haircut counts for extra super duper bonus points. Actually, I don’t have a clue how good the poodle really is, since poodles are one of those breeds that all look startlingly similar to me (sorry Jan!).

It was good to see yet another of Cody Sickle’s lovely Bulldogs place well in group. Bullies, like Frenchies, are at a natural disadvantage in a group over run with spring loaded, fluffy coated yappers, so I always root for the Bulldog, in lieu of the Frenchie. I mean, take a look at the photos of this year’s Non Sporting group placers –


Notice anything? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Fluffy haircuts will get you to the big ring every time…

French Bulldog Best of Breed was taken by Ch Windmark’s What a Guy, who also won BoB in 2007. He was handled by Jodi Ghaster, who also handled Best of Opposite Sex winner Ch Shann’s Legally Blond (call name Diva). I’m apparently obligated to mention that Diva is owned by Patty Hearst (now Patty Hearst Shaw). She has owned French Bulldogs for quite a few years, so it’s old news to Frenchie people to hear that she has a dog in the ring. It’s big news everyplace else, though – the name “Patty Hearst” was one of Google’s top search terms today.

Isabella, also known as Ch Absolut’s Ooh LaLa V Amron, didn’t do anything in the breed ring, but she did make the final cut, and with 32 other Frenchies in the ring, that’s a pretty respectable showing for a 14 month old pied. I’d like to also point out that she was the only pied in the final line up, and one of only two that I can see of all the judging photos Wayne sent me. The ring was awash with creams and brindles, but the more esoteric pieds were rare, and the other colors were missing altogether.

Here’s a photo of Isabella gaiting for her handler, James Berger, for owner Toni Perone. Next year, guys…

Wayne Kovacs, co owner of Dixie and owner handler extraordinaire, was at the Gardens, and took tons of photos. You can see the entire collection here, or Isabella’s photos here.

Thanks again, Wayne!

Westminster Week Approaches

Rebel at the GardensI had made plans to attend Westminster this year, as I was supposed to be in New York City for work, but the best laid plans go out the window when one is dealing with dogs.

Instead, I’ll be sitting at home and watching it on television, as I have to spend the week running Journey and Paris back and forth to Owen Sound for insemination and timing tests.

Paris has surged, so her insemination is set for Tuesday morning, bright and early. Ironically enough, Paris is being bred via frozen semen to Rebel – Ch Bullmarket Versace.

Rebel won breed at the Gardens (and a nice, hard look in the group) in 1997. We had his semen frozen shortly after that, and it’s that collection, eleven years later, that we’ll be using on Paris.

Dog showing might not be my favorite thing in the world – I’m too cynical to believe it’s the pinnacle of achievement I used to see it as – but there’s no denying the rush that you get from seeing your dog win in the big ring at Madison Square Gardens.

Ch Bullmarket Versace

I promptly burst into tears, much to my everlasting shame, and my friend Charlotte’s amusement. I fully believe the stories I’ve heard of owners fainting or going into hysterics when their dogs are pointed to for the big, big ribbon.

My lovely boy Rebel passed away in 2006, and is dearly missed by all who knew him.

Westminster this year is especially bittersweet for Barb.

Champion Absolut Ooh LaLa V Amron, with owner Rita Perone, will be showing at the Gardens. She’s out of Barb’s ‘Dark Lola’ – Pinetree’s Absolut Lolita.

RoseanneLola is out of Roseanne, the very first dog that Barb ever got from me, and the beginning of our partnership. Roseanne passed away from cancer two years ago, and Lola was Barb’s last and youngest remaining Rosey daughter. Barb didn’t keep anything from Lola’s first litter – the litter that produced Isabella – because she figured she had lots of time before having to worry about doing so.

Unfortunately, Lola developed a health issue, and has been spayed and placed into a great pet home. She lives with Lauren and her ‘little brother’ Tucker (Bunny’s puppy) in New York City.

Watching Isabella in the ring will be Barb’s last chance to see a direct descendant of Roseanne showing at the Gardens.

Ironically enough, Roseanne’s first litter was the first litter Rebel ever sired. On Tuesday night as I watch the group judging on television, I’ll be holding Paris in my lap, and hoping that Rebbie’s next generation is successfully preparing to make its way into the world.

(BTW, you can follow along with the breed judging on the WKC’s website — here’s the link for Frenchies)

ESPP Fridays – It's another Solo Video

It’s ESPP Friday, and that means it’s time for a Solo video!

Here he is playing with his toys, with Sean, with his ‘brother’ Dexter, and with his Aunt Ellie (who can’t wait for him to leave, and would prefer it if he took all the other dogs with him).

Renting a movie for the kids? Skip 'Snow Buddies'

I am not a fan of movies featuring talking animals. Let me clarify that — I don’t really mind the ones where the animals are shown ‘speaking’ via a kind of internal monologue, but the ones where the animal’s mouths are digitially manipulated to make it appear as if they’re talking freak me out. It also annoys the crap out me that the girl dog always has to wear a bow on her head, because, you know, a girl isn’t a girl unless she’s wearing something frilly and pink.

Based on this revulsion, and the fact that I don’t have kids under the age of 10, Disney’s new movie ‘Snow Buddies’ wasn’t ever tops on my ‘must rent’ list. This news release seals it for me, however — if I had kids, the last movie they’d be watching is “Snow Buddies”.

Here’s the press release from American Humane, the people who give the ‘No Animals Were Harmed During the Making of this Film’ certification —



The American Humane Association is conducting an investigation after five puppies died while on location for the filming of the movie Snow Buddies. As many as six others have fallen ill after exposure to parvovirus. Twenty-eight puppies are being treated after being exposed to the virus. Earlier in the production, 30 puppies were removed from the set when 15 of them showed signs of illness, eventually diagnosed as giardia and coccidia. Three of these puppies were euthanized due to intestinal complications. Parvovirus, also known as parvo, is a highly contagious viral infection in dogs. It causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea and lack of appetite and it can be fatal.

American Humane is the authority behind the “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit on movies. An American Humane Certified Safety Representative visited the Snow Buddies set in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Feb. 19, 2007, the first day of shooting. Fifteen golden retriever puppies were on set, and American Humane learned that 15 others had been treated by a local veterinarian since Feb. 7. The Safety Representative requested that all the puppies receive additional veterinary checks before proceeding with filming. Twenty-five of the puppies were from an American breeder and five were from a Canadian breeder.

At the time they were seen by the American Humane Safety Representative, the puppies were approximately 8 weeks old. However, it is believed that they were only 6 weeks old when they were separated from their mothers and brought by the trainer, Anne Gordon, to the Snow Buddies movie set. American Humane has recommended that Snow Buddies only import puppies that are older than 14 weeks. All vaccinations have to be done by a veterinarian, along with thorough check-ups. American Humane was unaware that the puppies were underage when they were transported by the trainer from the breeders.

American Humane will investigate the breeder who allegedly exported 25 puppies to Canada under the age of 8 weeks. Per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is illegal to transport puppies under the age of 8 weeks. American Humane has contacted the Canadian authorities and is working with the U.S.D.A. Investigations and Enforcement division.

To continue filming the movie, Snow Buddies hired 28 older replacement golden retrievers after the first 30 were removed for treatment. Unfortunately, this second group has been exposed to parvovirus.

American Humane learned recently that one litter of the older puppies used after the first became sick was vaccinated for parvovirus at the Canadian border by a veterinarian contacted by the puppies’ trainer, and the first sign of the parvo was from that same litter. We have also learned that, unbeknownst to the production, the filming location in the lower mainland of Vancouver has witnessed an outbreak of parvo dating back as far as six months before production began. In this case, the puppies from Washington State were removed from their mother (breeder) too early and vaccinated. The vaccine takes two weeks before it is effective. Sometimes when puppies are vaccinated early there is still a risk of infection. High levels of maternal antibodies present in a puppy’s bloodstream will block the effectiveness of a vaccine. Despite being vaccinated, puppies can still contract parvovirus because the window of susceptibility can be several days to a couple of weeks.

American Humane is conducting a full investigation on the trainer and breeders and following the progress of the puppies that have been retired from the production, many of whom have been placed in new adoptive homes. The company producing Snow Buddies has complied with each request from American Humane and has made changes so that working puppies will not be put in any position where they may fall ill. The film production company has been very cooperative and has suspended filming until further notice. All of the dogs in the production now have been checked and are being cared for by a veterinarian. We will continue to monitor the production and release our findings once the investigation is complete.

Here’s the link to American Humane’s final rating for the movie ‘Snow Buddies’ —



American Humane has rated this film “Monitored: Unacceptable” due to the numerous deaths of young animals and the unlawful and fraudulent behavior that we believe impacted their fate. Although the producers may have been victims of unscrupulous people in their hire, American Humane, as an animal protection organization and the animals’ safety representative, finds the outcomes for these animals unacceptable.