Celebrities | Celebrities http://www.dogster.com/celebrities Celebrities en-us Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:35:00 -0800 Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:35:00 -0800 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Orion <![CDATA[George Lopez and Hilary Duff Use Social Media to Help Find a Stolen Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/george-lopez-and-hilary-duff-pitch-in-to-find-a-stolen-dog Hilary Duff and George Lopez are helping the owner of a Beverly Hills boutique find her stolen dog. Charlie, a white Maltese, is known by locals for sitting outside Switch, the boutique owned by Julia Cohen and her sister. In the last nine years, he's become a sort of four-legged landmark for people shopping in his neighborhood. "Charlie's a staple here," Duff told KABC. "Everyone in Beverly Hills knows him. He sits outside the front of the store. He never ventures too far to the left, to the right."

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But as of a few days ago, Charlie is no longer waiting outside of Switch for customers. According to surveillance video, he was taken away by a woman dressed in yellow, followed by a young girl. The video shows the woman following Charlie until he turns a corner, then coming back with him in her arms.

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Cohen desperately wants her friend returned, and she's willing to pay $5,000 to get him back. She says that she'll even pay the money to the person who took him. She originally offered $2,000, but the reward has increased since Charlie first disappeared.

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Charlie with actress Lia Michele ("Glee" and "Sons of Anarchy")

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Naturally, many dogs go missing at any given time. Fortunately, Cohen and Charlie have famous friends who can help get the word out. Duff and Lopez have taken to their Instagram and Twitter feeds to let everyone know about the missing pup -- plus, of course, the reward for Charlie's return. "We're trying to find him," Lopez told KABC. "So Hilary Duff's got one side of the town covered, and George Lopez, I'll throw it out to the other side of the town."

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With both sides of Los Angeles covered (plus a sizable reward), Charlie may have a good chance of coming home at last. Anyone who has any information about Charlie's whereabouts is asked to call Switch boutique at (310) 860-1650; check the store's Twitter for more info as well.

Via KABC; photos via Instagram

Read more news about dogs on Dogster:

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:35:00 -0800 /the-scoop/george-lopez-and-hilary-duff-pitch-in-to-find-a-stolen-dog
<![CDATA[We Talk to Puppy Bowl XI Referee Dan Schachner]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/puppy-bowl-ref-dan-schachner-super-bowl-animal-planet Dan Schachner is the referee for Sunday's Puppy Bowl XI, and he knows exactly what you're thinking. Yes, they check the balls beforehand.

"We're all about quality control here at Puppy Bowl. We pride ourselves in it," said Schachner, who is in his fourth year as the Puppy Bowl ref. "I do personally check each and every set of balls. Unless, of course, they're neutered. Then, I don’t bother."

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Dan Schachner is back for his fourth year as referee in Sunday's Puppy Bowl XI. (All photos courtesy of Animal Planet)

Premiering on Animal Planet on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, the Puppy Bowl once again showcases 55 adoptable puppies playing on a football field with a hamster-piloted blimp overhead and a full-on kitty halftime show.

But it's all about the action on the field. And this 11th edition of the Puppy Bowl features teams -- Ruff vs. Fluff -- and a scoreboard for the first time.

All the more requirement for a referee beyond reproach. And Schachner is once again up to the task. Unlike with the New England Patriots in the other big game on Sunday, ball deflation is highly encouraged in this matchup. Touchdowns are scored when a puppy carries a toy –- including plush balls with protruding foamy spikes -- across the goal line.

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"Ball deflation is no big deal for us at Puppy Bowl, because unlike Tom Brady, we're not gripping our balls with our opposable thumbs," Schachner said. "We're gripping them with our razor-sharp teeth. So deflation is a normal part of our game. In fact, if toys are not deflated, the puppies aren't working hard enough."

"It sounds like a joke," he said, "but there's so much pulling on these chew toys, so much back-and-forth and growling over one or two toys; they do get destroyed by the time the game is over."

Destroyed toys are just one aspect of the Puppy Bowl that Schachner, adorned in a referee uniform (and clutching a Dustbuster), must take into account. Penalties are also part of the game, from excessive howling to pancaking. And as a veteran of four Puppy Bowls, Schachner is not afraid to throw his flag.

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"In the beginning [in 2012], I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit smitten with these guys," Schachner said. "It was hard, and I'd miss an infraction, and luckily we have producers who would say, 'Dan, look behind you, there was some pancacking or excessive use of the water bowl going on, you might want to throw a flag.' But it was hard to be tough because they were so adorable."

"But by year four, you don't even see how adorable they are. I just see them all as little mini-athletes, and everyone is on the same level, and I have no problem throwing the flag down. In fact, sometimes they have to calm me down with the flags."

When it comes to helping dogs find their forever homes, Schachner also has no restraints. Not only does the Puppy Bowl raise awareness of the need for adoption, Schachner, who is also an actor and narrator for various Animal Planet shows, fosters dogs in the East Village of New York in his personal life.

"I have foster dogs at home, one at a time, and one of the reasons I love doing it is that I can really learn about a breed, about their temperament and their nature," Schachner said. "I grew up around dogs, but once I got married and had kids, I felt like I was dealing with my own small pack in the house. And then a few years ago, I started thinking about ways to introduce dogs into the house in a way that's responsible because my kids were pretty young, and this was the best middle ground I could find.

"I teamed up with a local rescue center that's about 10 minutes from my house [Social Tees Animal Rescue], and if they have a dog that's suitable for my house, we take him or her on for six to eight weeks, and then when they find a Forever Home, off they go," Schachner said. "I just think it's a nice alternative for people who might not be ready to commit their entire lives and to the life of the pet. They may just want to test the waters. It allows you to do that. And when my kids are older and more responsible, I feel like I'll really know the lay of the land when it comes to picking the right breed because I'll have had that experience.”

While the Puppy Bowl highlights, obviously, the joy and fun of puppies, Schachner is equally committed to finding forever homes for older dogs.

"It's very easy for puppies to get adopted, but it's so much harder for these older dogs," Schachner said. "I mean like two-year-old, three-year-old dogs, they can sometimes wait a long time before finding a home. I try to say this as much as I can: Puppy Bowl pups, yeah, they're going to get adopted right away. That’s not difficult. The real challenge is, go to that shelter, and maybe the puppy you fell in love with at Puppy Bowl isn't there anymore, but you might find a two-year-old who is incredible and doesn't need to be house-trained, has a calm temperament, and would be a nice addition to your house."

Schachner said four years of reffing the big game has given him a unique insight into the temperament of dogs. While GEICO Field might look big on TV, the space where upwards of 55 puppies play and compete is in reality just 20 feet by 10 feet, so Schachner gets up close and personal.

"It smaller than you think," Schachner said. "Theoretically, it shouldn't be that hard to score a touchdown, but you'd be surprised how long it can take one of these puppy running backs to get into the end zone."

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Team Ruff: Lewis.

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Team Fluff: Aaron.

He added, "You gain insight, not just into dog behavior, but how behavior changes from breed to breed, when you put them into play situations. It's like a doggy daycare, and I'm in charge. What's really remarkable is how different breeds will react, and that's what I've learned over the years -- how the nature of dogs really comes out in those situations. Of course, a terrier is going to be a little more aggressive, and the really small breeds are going to be skittish. That comes out a lot."

Puppy Bowl XI premieres at 3 p.m. E.T. Sunday on Animal Planet. See more photos and videos of the teams at Animal Planet and Facebook/PuppyBowl. Follow Dan Schachner on Twitter and Facebook.

Read more about animals and the Super Bowl:

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/puppy-bowl-ref-dan-schachner-super-bowl-animal-planet
<![CDATA[TV Host Mark Steines Talks About His Life With Dogs]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/mark-steines-hallmark-channel-home-family-dog-fred-golden-retriever-spooky-buddies Mark Steines is an award-winning journalist who hosts the Hallmark Channel's Emmy-nominated lifestyle show Home & Family. He can be seen creating recipes in the kitchen, using his carpentry skills to build and repurpose items, interviewing celebrity guests and experts, and chatting with co-host Cristina Ferrare.

The longtime host and anchor of Entertainment Tonight, Steines also has a passion for photography. His work is displayed in many Hollywood homes and offices, and his photo book, See the Light: A Passage to Sierra Leone, helps to document Light House Medical Mission’s journey to raise awareness for fresh water in impoverished countries.

Three male family members, Avery, Kai, and Fred, are the other passions in his life, but Fred clearly stands out as the one who is oh-so-special. It's OK. There's no jealousy from Steines' sons, as Fred is their Golden Retriever!

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TV journalist Mark Steines with his sons, Kai (left) and Avery, and their family dog, Fred. (Photo courtesy of Mark Steines)

Steines has an irresistible combination of charm, smarts, sense of humor, and compassion, which was on full display as I chatted with him about his life with dogs.

Marina Anderson for Dogster: What a beautiful dog Fred is! How did you come up with his name? 

Mark Steines: Long story. I spent several weeks training my children before bringing a pet into their lives. It was a stalling tactic, as I knew we were invited to the set of a Disney film and would be adopting one of the Golden Retrievers from the cast of Spooky Buddies.

We all agreed that if just two of us agreed on a name that would be it. As you can imagine, the boys came up with all these silly names, like Lightsaber. While driving home from work, the name Fred just popped into my head, but when I proposed the new name option to my boys over dinner that night, they shot it down.

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The canine cast of Spooky Buddies, including puppy Fred in the bunny ears.

Shortly after that, we boarded a plane to fly to the set in Vancouver to meet our new friend. My boys were asked to play with the puppies during one of the breaks on set to get to know them better. They fell in love with B-Dog. When the handler brought us all together for our first family photo, the handler/trainer informed my boys that B-Dog was his character's name, but that the puppy we selected already had a name, and it was FRED! We knew at that moment that we had found a perfect match for the Steines family. He was meant to be with us. He is the best dog I have ever had!

Talk about getting a psychic vibe. That is so cool! Why choose a Golden Retriever? 

I had heard great things about the demeanor of the Golden. They make wonderful family pets.

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Avery and Kai with puppy Fred. (Photo courtesy of Mark Steines)

They certainly do. I had one for 15 years: my buddy, Dalton. Does Fred help with emotional support for you and your two boys? 

Fred tucks the boys in bed every night and wakes them up in the morning. He is a lover and cuddler! He sleeps at the foot of their bed or outside their bedroom door.

Awwww, tucking them in ... kind of like Nana in Peter Pan. Any special diet? 

Fred was once 107 pounds! I was unaware of the eating habits of the Goldens and how they will eat themselves to an early grave. I discussed it with Fred's vet, and he was put on Hills RD prescription dog food. I added carrots and pumpkin to his diet. I also convinced Fred that ice cubes are food. He has lost 20 pounds since we started!

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Puppy Fred learns good manners. (Photo courtesy of Mark Steines)

That’s wonderful. Is he a very social dog? 

Fred is happy-go-lucky and enjoys playing with other dogs, big or small. He is the friendliest dog I have ever seen.

Choose three words to describe Fred.

Playful, kind, loyal.

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Fred. (Photo by Mark Steines)

If you could be any breed of dog, what would it be? 

I would be Fred. I love his attitude and his sensitivities to others. He is so tuned into other people and how they are feeling. If you are happy, he meets you on that level. When we are sick, he checks on us. If you are lazy, he is lazy with you. If you are eating, he will try to eat your food with you.

Do you "correct" people in public? For example, if a dog is left in a car or someone isn't carrying water for their dog on a roasting hot day? 

If I see a dog in danger, I will approach the owner, but I don't correct others on their pets' behavior unless that behavior is aggressive and threatens others. But, yes, if a dog is in harm's way, I will do whatever is needed to correct the situation.

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Mark and Fred at the beach. (Photo courtesy of Mark Steines)

Applause! Was there a specific incident that motivated you to be so involved with animals? 

I grew up in Iowa and spent a lot of time on the farm around animals. Dogs have always been a part of my life, and I know the benefits of having one in my house. They teach us so much.

Yes, they do! Do you have a "dog mission"?

I support spay/neuter, for sure.

What do you love to do most with Fred? 

Snuggle and watch the joy my boys have with him. He has a moment in his day with "puppy energy" -- right after eating, which usually means a game of "chase your tail" or "rub my belly." We enjoy taking him to our place in Ojai. Fred loves it up there, he has so much space to run and play. He travels extremely well. He is so chill in the car. 

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The boys at home. (Photo courtesy of Mark Steines)

Any quirky personality traits? 

He is the food thief. Anything left unattended on the counter is gone. We've learned our lessons.

Does Fred inspire you to take photos? 

Yes, I will take him out for a walk and take my camera with me. Never know when the moment hits or the opportunity arises.

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Fred checks out the pool. (Photo courtesy of Mark Steines)

Has Fred appeared on Home & Family

Yes, he has. He has appeared on several animal segments.

I’ll bet everyone lavishes him with attention.

When we come out of commercial break, all of our guests and crew applaud, and whenever that happens, Fred takes off and will run as if he is taking a bow or taking the stage! It's very funny to watch. I don't know where he gets that. I guess he truly is a show dog! 

Do you like to dress up Fred in clothes or holiday costumes? 

The only dress up was when he was a puppy for the movie. You can see him on the cover of the DVD -- he is in the blue bunny ears.

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Fred enjoys a sunset. (Photo by Mark Steines)

How do your sons, Avery and Kai, divvy up sharing time with Fred? 

My boys are very good about sharing, but I always make them take him for a walk together. I want them to always remember the three of them together. When they get older and I am no longer here, I want them to look back and remember those walks with Fred.

If you had all the time and money to devote to animals, how many would you have and where would you live? 

I would live on a ranch in the Colorado mountains. I really enjoy the change of seasons, open spaces, and I would want to get a giant fireplace. It would be great to have a lot of dogs and a few horses!

To keep up with Mark, visit his website and the Home and Family site, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

Read more celebrity interviews by Marina Anderson on Dogster: 

About Marina Anderson: Marina is an actress, writer, best-selling author (David Carradine, The Eye of My Tornado), jewelry designer (The Flying Goddess), and publicist (The Media Hound PR) for clients such as Robby Benson, Ed Begley Jr., and music icon Alan Parsons and Gary U.S. Bonds. She is also a personal manager and career and spiritual consultant. Marina's passion is helping animal rescue organizations. Look for her next book, The Adventures Of Lulu The Collie, which stars her beloved dog, Lulu, daughter to Lassie VIII, and keep up with her work by following her on Facebook. 

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/mark-steines-hallmark-channel-home-family-dog-fred-golden-retriever-spooky-buddies
<![CDATA[Motley Zoo Animal Rescue Works With Rock Stars to Find Dogs Homes]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/motley-zoo-animal-rescue-dog-adoption-motley-crue
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Seattle-area folks who help dogs and cats can't help but be aware of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, which was recently awarded a KEXP-FM Community Partnership Grant. It will raise funds for the organization during March. KEXP is hands down the hippest independent radio station in Seattle, and for the rescue to receive one of its awards is quite an honor.

I wanted to learn more about Motley Zoo, and its founder, jme Thomas, was kind enough to answer my questions via email.

Dogster: How did Motley Zoo get started? 

jme Thomas: Motley Zoo was founded in 2009, after my husband and I became disillusioned with some other rescues we volunteered for. After two years, we saw there were things that worked, but there was a lot that didn't -- and we believed that a "better" way was possible, one that appreciated and respected the volunteers more and ensured animals that didn't fall through the cracks; we wanted one where quality would always trump quantity.

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Motley Zoo has fun with its name on T-shirts and other promotional items. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo)

We had met other likeminded people through this work, and those people joined us to comprise our board. The board has since changed a bit, but my husband and I remain, along with Nancy Jones, who had joined shortly after founding. Thankfully, we are a close group of people who really provide a strong support system to this organization.

Since our inception, with a current crew of 150 volunteers, we have rescued and rehomed more than 1,400 animals.

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Buzz Osborne of the Melvins with Hannah Levin and jme thomas. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

What kinds of animals do you rescue? Do you have a shelter or foster network?

We are foster-based and primarily rescue dogs and cats, but as the name "zoo" implies, we are open to whatever animals are in need. Our fosters' availability, skills, experience, and willingness dictate which animals we can take and when. We have the occasional "small furry" house-pet, but we have also helped birds, a pig, and even a cow! 

Primarily we work to support the shelters, so they usually contact us when they are overflowing or if animals have a medical or behavioral need that can't be properly addressed there. This can mean a dog with a broken leg who requires crate rest and frequent care, for example.

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jme thomas of Motley Zoo with Motley Crue's Tommy Lee. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

What would you say makes your rescue unique?

Motley Zoo is unique in a few ways -- namely our fresh, forward-thinking and go-get-'em approach, which has helped propel us forward. Part of this is our rock-and-roll aesthetic. We have a fun, cool vibe, which attracts many followers.

Besides our look and attitude, we also have fun marketing gigs that help raise awareness and attention to our cause. For example, we name our animals after musicians and bands (or their songs), and then take the animals to meet [the musicians] when they come to town. We take pictures with them and have them sign memorabilia, which we hang throughout the studio, and the musicians share on their social media, which helps generate interest not only in the general idea of rescue, but in specific animals as well.

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Alan White of Yes stopped by and got mobbed by some of the Motley Zoo dogs. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

When you're looking through a bunch of animals online, and you see one named Tommy Lee or Nikki Sixx [of Motley Crue], you're going to take notice! This not only gives the animals more individuality, but it increases their rate of adoption, too. Our animals have met Snoop Dogg, ZZ Top, Slayer, Rob Zombie and his band, Tommy Lee, and many more. It has been an amazing opportunity to spread the word about how rockin' rescue can be.

How do you connect with the celebrities? Do they ever adopt from you?

We are so fortunate and proud of this aspect of our marketing! It actually was born out of a dream I had one night. While anticipating attending an upcoming Rancid show, I chose the band members and a bunch of songs for a crew of cats and kittens who came in. The night before the show, I dreamed I took the kittens to the concert and showed the band, who thought it was hilarious. I woke up and was laughing telling my husband, who also thought it was hilarious ... then I stopped mid-laugh and said, "I'm going to do that." He said, "What? You're going to bring kittens to a concert?" 

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jme thomas of Motley Zoo with Motley Crue's Tommy Lee. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

"Yes," I said, like this was the most normal thing in the world!

He looked at me funny (although he should know by now not to question my ideas!), and I went about making my plan. I showed up early to the show, handed the tour manager our card, and explained what I was there for. The little crate of mewing kittens certainly helped drive it home. 

The band thought this was fabulous, and I was taken backstage to do a quick photo shoot. They were so nice and spent more than a half hour with me, asking about what we do and talking about their pets -- they even invited us to be on the guest list!

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Motley Zoo with Tommy Lee and some of the rescue dogs. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

Of course, when I called my husband and told him that, he asked which show was next -- and our celebrity meet-and-greet concept was born. Through some of the other meetings, we hooked up with a DJ from a radio station and her photographer friend, who helped connect us to more band encounters.

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jme thomas brought a bunch of adoptable puppies to meet the band Kongos. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

Since then, as we've become known for doing this, it's been a lot easier to set up meetings, even last-minute ones. We have even been invited to concerts and festivals to hang out backstage and in the VIP lounge, to provide the artists some much needed comfort and relaxation. It's been a big hit!

I love your T-shirts. Who designs them?

I come up with most of the ideas, but my husband is the true artist, who perfects and helps them come to fruition. I used to design clothing myself, so this is a fun outlet for me now that I am too busy to do it running Motley Zoo. 

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My daughter, Zinnia, in my Motley Zoo T-shirt. (Photo by Kezia Willingham)

Would you like to share a story about any of rescues you currently have?

Mr. Melvin for sure. He is a red Miniature Pinscher named after Buzz Osborne of the Melvins. He even got to meet him! Melvin was a bit shy with him, but as a guardian of rescued terriers himself, Buzz was very sweet and patient.

He came to us from a local shelter with a grade-four heart murmur. When you pick him up, you can actually feel the blood flow in his chest, bypassing his heart. It's scary. You'd think this would make him fragile, weak, lethargic, and sickly -- but no! He is the fastest, spunkiest, most lively and playful dog. A bit of a spaz actually, but so super sweet and lovable. He just turned one year old on Nov. 7.

He needs a surgery to save his life, which will cost $5,000 to $10,000. We have never done this before ... we routinely spend thousands on animals, but four thousand has been the limit thus far (for an eight-week-old puppy with a liver shunt). Mr. Melvin will be available for adoption from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue after his surgery.  

This is a very prohibitive obstacle, but as we vowed never to let any dollar figure cloud our judgment, we are hoping we can go forward with it, raise the funds, and find him a permanent home. The surgery is indeed a requirement for him to live a full life. We are talking with a college in the state, to see whether it can perform the surgery, but it is five hours away and requires a few visits in the meantime, so we are seeking a temporary foster situation nearer the school to try and arrange that.

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TV on the Radio plus puppies = cuteness. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

Sadly, too, his foster family here had a house fire and are currently displaced. They can no longer have him in their home, as they are staying in temporary digs themselves, with their own pets. You know you have great fosters when they are crying at having to hand over their foster dog. She just kept saying she didn't want him to go, and when they get things figured out they want him back.

So Melvin is again in need of fostering, for a different reason. This poor guy never seems to catch a break.

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Some of the adopted dogs and cats who found homes via Motley Zoo in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Motley Zoo's Instagram)

In the meanwhile, he's hanging out with me, coming to Rock Star Treatment [Motley Zoo's doggie daycare], and having a blast. But he misses his foster family, and my house is really boring for him. I have older, sedentary dogs, and he needs a bit more action. He's a true rock star and wants to party like one -- at least until we can get him the surgery he needs. Then maybe he'll slow down a tad for recovery, but he'll no doubt be back to his usual "live fast" lifestyle very soon!

Find out more about Motley Zoo on its website (check out the T-shirts and hoodies!) and on Facebook (where you'll also find Rock Star Treatment). Also check out Motley Zoo on InstagramYouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter

Read more about celebrities helping dogs:

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at dogsterheroes@dogster.com.

About Kezia Willingham: Kezia lives in Seattle with her pack of rescued cats and dogs.  She identifies as a Breadwinning Laundry Queen who works for Head Start by day and is a frequent contributor to Catster and Dogster.  Her writing has appeared in multiple anthologies, the New  York Times, and the Seattle Times.

Tue, 13 Jan 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/motley-zoo-animal-rescue-dog-adoption-motley-crue
<![CDATA[Check Out Lilikoi and Rella, Doggy Supermodels ]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/pomeraniams-lilikoi-rella-cute-dog-pictures Lilikoi and Rella are two fluff-ball Pomeranians who like to bill themselves as "doggy supermodels." It's a lofty claim, but one quick glance through their online lookbook confirms their assertion, as these Hawaiian-born pups dress up in some of the most vivid and fantastical outfits around.

Here's a radiant run-through of Lilikoi and Rella's most eye-catching pics.

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(All photos courtesy of Lilikoi and Rella's Facebook page)

Sometimes the Facebook photo caption says it all: "What can we get you to drink? Pomtinis and Mutt-Tais are our favorite drink! Pomalicious!"

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When the mood strikes, Lilikoi and Rella like to dress up as world famous Spameranians. They even have an acronym for the foodstuff that breaks down as Super, Pomtastic, Amazing, and Musubis!

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The weather outside might be frightful, but these pups are sure delightful.

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Christmas in Hawaii involves sand Santas!

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Two Poms in a bag that also features pictures of another six Pom pups is truly pomtastic, as Lilikoi and Rella would say.

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All blinged and bedazzled up but with nowhere to go!

Check out more pix we love:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

Wed, 24 Dec 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/pomeraniams-lilikoi-rella-cute-dog-pictures
<![CDATA[We Go Behind the Scenes at a "Hot Guys and Baby Animals" Photo Shoot]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/hot-guys-baby-animals-puppies-kittens-photos-pictures-calendar-shoot Any job gets old eventually, right? I mean, how many times can I cuddle a puppy in one hand while straightening the belt on a hot, topless man with the other before it just gets boring? Turns out, the answer is a lot. I've been directing Hot Guys and Baby Animals shoots for five years now, and it hasn't gotten old yet.

It hasn't gotten much easier either, since baby animals always bring chaos. Scratches, barking, and even some potty accidents are par for the course. And that's just the male models.

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Jason poses with Millie.

But after five calendars and three books, my partner Carolyn Newman and I have certainly learned what works well and what doesn't. We know what animals will look good with what models, we know what poses will look best. And we know that we have the best job ever.

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Cover of the 2015 calendar.

"Great, now cuddle that kitten a little closer to your chin. And, can you please take off your shirt." The sun is getting low in the Beverly Hills sky during the shoot for the 2015 calendar, and we're on our sixth hot guy/baby animal pair. We have an entire litter of kittens from Saving Grace rescue and a very patient model named Ronald. Having a whole litter is helpful, because that way we can trade one kitten out for another when the one we're using gets tired or too rambunctious.

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Ronald and Minky.

Part of the purpose of the calendar is to raise awareness and money for animal rescues and shelters. We always work with nonprofit animal organizations and then donate a portion of proceeds to help them continue their amazing work. Part of the fun of the shoots is meeting the founders, volunteers, and foster parents for shelters large and small. I always enjoy talking to these inspiring people who are devoted to finding forever homes for homeless puppies, kittens, and even bunnies. And they often enjoy talking to our male models.

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Shooting for "Hot Guys and Kittens."

We've made more than one love connection ... that is, love between a male model and a baby animal. One of our more inspiring success stories is from our very first calendar in 2010, when Mr. March ended up adopting the male Pit Bull puppy he posed with. And from our most recent shoot, we're pretty sure Leo ended up adopting one of these kittens.

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A page from "Hot Guys and Kittens."

People often ask where Carolyn and I came up with the idea. We've been best friends since junior high, and we've had so many jokes between us since. This was just another funny idea that the two of us thought of as a joke, but we actually decided to pursue it seriously. My dad, Eliot Khuner, is a very talented professional photographer, so choosing him to take all the photos was an easy decision. Since then, our family business has grown quite a bit. In addition to my dad, Carolyn, and me, our shoots are now attended by my husband, Wes (production assistant); my own rescued Schnauzer mix Rusty (makeup); Carolyn's rescued terrier, Lucy (craft services), and my one-year-old daughter, Mina (human resources). We have a number of friends who like to help out as well, often serving as animal wranglers or talent scouts.

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Mina enjoys her first shoot.

Though Carolyn and I are cofounders of the company, we fell quickly into roles that play to our strengths. Carolyn is the producer, and I direct. This means that Carolyn is often organizing puppies while on the phone with a male model who's lost. And I have a kitten in each hand while I'm explaining to a model how to hold a kitten to make him feel safe. The last thing we want is a furry little guy jumping out of a model's arms.

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Expert kitten handling.

Another question we're frequently asked is, where do you get your models? We find our guys from lots of sources. Most of our male models come from ads we post on modeling websites, but we've definitely picked up good-looking guys on the street before. At one point we had all of our girlfriends walking up to men at bars asking, "Have you ever modeled? Can I give you my card?"

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Carolyn and me, hard at work.

We usually shoot in Los Angeles, where many experienced and aspiring male models spend their time. Most are excited by the chance to work with animals. Both because it's fun, and because apparently it's a good shot to have in one's portfolio to show versatility. One thing I'll say about all of our models: They're great sports. It's not always easy to hold a rabbit in just the right way, or look at the camera for 20 minutes while we get a Bulldog puppy to do the same.

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Miguel poses with Moo.

The shoots usually last about three days, sunrise to sunset, and there is never a dull moment. We end each day bone-tired and brain-dead. But it all pays off in the end when we see our beautiful books and calendars on shelves and online, and we get reports of the joy that comes to the people who read them.

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A page out of the 2015 calendar.

Read more about dog photography:

About Audrey Khuner: A contradictory mix of cynicism and sentimentality, Audrey thinks wedding vows are cheesy, yet cries at almost every episode of This American Life. She enjoys walking in the rain with her eight-year-old furry baby, Rusty, and her one-year-old human baby, Mina. When she's not entertaining her little ones, Audrey works as a freelance writer and co-founder of Hot Guys and Baby Animals.

Tue, 23 Dec 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/hot-guys-baby-animals-puppies-kittens-photos-pictures-calendar-shoot
<![CDATA[ Meet Hokulani the Pomeranian, a Pup Who Just Adores Christmas]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/hokulani-pomeranian-dog-santa-elf-costumes Hokulani is a dog totally obsessed with Christmas. Living it up on the sun-kissed Hawaiian island of Oahu, this Pomeranian sports her signature red goggles and holiday-themed outfits throughout the festive season. Here's your handy photo introduction to the world's biggest Christmas fan.

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(All photos courtesy of Hokulani's Facebook page)

Hokulani always remains on-message when it comes to promoting pro-rescue issues -- even when she's traveling in a bedazzled chariot.

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No office cubicle is complete without a Pomeranian guarding the Christmas display.

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Hokulani is a true believer in ol' Saint Nick.

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In her dreams, Hokulani likes to imagine she is accompanied by her own personal choir throughout the holiday season.

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Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and ... Hokulani?

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One of Hokulani's mottos is, "If we can bring joy into the world, make someone laugh or smile, then it's a great day." Mission accomplished!

Check out more great pictures of dogs:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/hokulani-pomeranian-dog-santa-elf-costumes
<![CDATA[10 Things I've Learned From Watching "Pit Bulls & Parolees"]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/pitbulls-parolees-animal-planet-tia-torres-animal-dog-rescue-adoption Animal Planet's Pit Bulls & Parolees is one of my favorite TV shows. I'm very into animal rescue, and I like the work that Tia Torres and her family do with the Villalobos Rescue Center. Recently, I realized that I've learned a number of important lessons while watching this series.

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The cast of Pit Bulls & Parolees. (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet.)

1. Life is hard

Okay, I already knew this, but sometimes it's easy to think life is harder for me than for other people. Everyone on Pit Bulls & Parolees has been through difficult things in life. And most of the rescued dogs have been through horrible experiences. This TV show does not avoid the reality that life has very challenging moments.

2. Rescue is best done as a family affair

Torres involves her children -- daughters Tania and Mariah and sons Kanani and Keli'i -- in her rescue work. They are key players in pulling off successful rescues, and each one has different talents and strengths.

3. Rescue is a way of life

There are those who see animal rescue as a way of life, not just a casual occurrence. This is clearly the case on Pit Bulls & Parolees. Tia and her family are working with the animals all day, every day. They carry the supplies they need in their vehicles and are always prepared to help an animal, whenever the situation arises.

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Torres enlists the help of her two daughters, Tania and Mariah, in the rescue work she does. (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet.)

4. Life doesn't always happen as planned

Sometimes I think there is a conspiracy to prevent me from really getting ahead financially. One thing I have seen on this show is that most people face a variety of unexpected challenges.

5. Even if you're famous and do good things, bad things can happen 

The thing that really drove this home for me was when Torres got really excited to move her rescue to Tehachapi, California. It was a special place she wanted to share with her dogs and family. But not long after she got there, her new neighbors objected to the rescue and basically forced them out. It's easy to think that famous people don't have to deal with challenges of this nature. It's not always an accurate assumption, though.

6. Yet, if you keep at it, things work out

Not knowing what else to do, Tia moved her rescue to New Orleans. Villalobos Rescue Center has been very successful in the city and has drawn a lot of attention to the numerous animals in need there. If Torres hadn't been forced out of her dream sanctuary, she would not have found the success she has in New Orleans and helped all of those dogs there.

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Mariah pulls puppies out of an abandoned house covered in mold. (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet.)

7.  Try your hardest every day

I don't doubt that Torres and her family members feel like there's simply too much work to do when they wake up every morning. But we see them working hard and giving it their all on a regular basis, like in the episode where Torres gives CPR to a little puppy who died in her arms as she tried to breathe life into him. As long as you try your hardest, that’s the best you can do. It's always better than doing nothing.

8. It takes many people to make a rescue successful

From those who call in reports of an animal in need, to those who transport animals, to the ones who clean kennels every day, many people are involved in making animal rescue a successful endeavor.

9. I really want Torres to write a memoir

Torres has lived a fascinating life. I hope one day she will write about it. She's raised at least four kids primarily on her own, started a rescue that has become one of the best known in the country, gets to wear a T-shirt and jeans to work every day, and has managed a marriage while her husband is incarcerated. Torres has guts and is not afraid to walk her own path. These are qualities I always admire.

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(Photo courtesy of the Pit Bull & Parolees Facebook page.)

10. Sometimes people -- and dogs -- need second chances

One of my favorite things about Pit Bulls & Parolees is that we get to witness second chances for both animals and people. I was once married to a felon, and I know how hard it can be for them to find legitimate work and housing, even years after a conviction. Torres gives those who need a second chance an opportunity to redeem themselves while doing work that is meaningful. I think one of my favorite moments from the show was seeing Earl become a homeowner. He is one of my favorites, and I have a soft spot in my heart for him. So it was great to see his years of hard work pay off!

Read related stories on Dogster:

About the author: Kezia Willingham is a Breadwinning Laundry Queen who works as a Health Coordinator for Head Start. She is a regular contributor to Catster and Dogster. Her writing has appeared in Literary Mama, The New York Times, The Seattle Times, and multiple anthologies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, which includes a number of rescued cats and dogs. You can follow her on Twitter.

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/pitbulls-parolees-animal-planet-tia-torres-animal-dog-rescue-adoption
<![CDATA[Boston Bruins 2015 Pucks & Pups Calendar Benefits Shelter Dogs]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/boston-bruins-dennis-seidenberg-2015-calendar-pucks-pups-hockey-mspca-shelter-dogs-adoption For the Boston Bruins, every day is about reaching the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. The goal of assisting Boston's homeless dog population has literally become a daily exercise for the team, as well.

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The Bruins recently released its second-annual Pucks & Pups calendar to raise money and awareness for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and the National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS).

The calendar, which features Bruins players posing with their own dogs or adoptable pups provided by the MSPCA's adoption centers, are available for $20 at Boston-area Reebok ProShops; at TD Garden, where the team plays its home games; and online.

"Dogs are just great companions," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who appears in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the calendar with his 11-year-old Boxer, Wiggles, and two-year-old French Bulldog Bubbles Lollipop (named by his children). "No matter what is going on, they just want to love you, and they're great to have around to protect you. For us, the kids really appreciate our puppies and love to play with them, and it's a lot of fun to have them around."

All proceeds from the 2015 Pucks & Pups calendar, as well as from $30 limited-edition Boston Bruins collars and leashes, will benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation, with donations being made to the MSPCA and NEADS.

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The cover for the 2015 Boston Bruins 2015 Pucks and Pups calendar. (Photo courtesy of Boston Bruins; top photo courtesy of Brian Babineau.)

All 5,000 copies of the 2014 calendar sold out, with the overall campaign raising more than $120,000. The Bruins donated $30,000 directly to the MSPCA's adoption services program to care for homeless animals awaiting adoption, among the most significant single fundraising events for the MSCPA this past year.

"It is very few and far between -- a gift of $30,000 for the shelter fund," said MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin. "That is a significant amount of money, which cares for a lot of animals. That's really big for us. That pays for the medical and housing care needs for our animals at the shelters."

Among the players who posed for the 2015 calendar were Seidenberg, as well as several of his fellow 2011 Stanley Cup championship teammates, including defenseman Zdeno Chara, wingers Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, center Patrice Bergeron, and goaltender Tuukka Rask. Other players included Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton, Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Torey Krug, and Chris Kelly. Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs, who has several rescue dogs himself, also participated. The photos used in the calendar were taken at TD Garden as well as in Boston's landmark neighborhoods.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video from one of the shoots:

"[The players] were so great," Halpin said. "We took the dogs down to the Garden for the shoot, and the players were so normal. They were regular guys who don't live regular, everyday lives, and they were kind to the animals. They were engaged. They asked questions about what we do. It was pretty sweet. They really put us at ease, and they put the dogs at ease. It was a very comfortable experience."

The benefits to the MSPCA extend beyond merely financial. Upon release of the 2014 calendar last November, its Animal Care and Adoption Centers saw an uptick in inquiries about adoptable dogs. Although the puppies featured in the 2014 calendar had already gone to their forever homes, the interest generated by their presence in the calendar led to a spike in adoptions overall.

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Dennis Seidenberg with Bubbles Lollipop the Frenchie and Wiggles the Boxer. (Photo courtesy of Brian Babineau.)

Halpin estimated that the three MSPCA shelters house upwards of 13,000 animals per year, with roughly 30 percent being dogs.

"The Bruins have their fleet of reporters and bloggers who are covering them and their every move, so to hitch the story of homeless animals and their plight in shelters to a media machine like the Bruins press corps was incredibly valuable to us," Halpin said. "It was that much more coverage for the MSPCA and the homeless animal shelter programs."

"People would call us asking about a dog [in the calendar], and we'd say, 'That dog was adopted two months ago, but come in because we have other dogs like them,'" he said. "And what happens is people come in looking for a dog that's now gone, but they leave with a dog they fell in love with while they were here. The calendar absolutely sparked more adoptions of dogs at our shelters."

This past June, Seidenberg toured the MPSCA-Angell Animal Care facility in Boston and presented the shelter with the check for $30,000.

"It was great. I never expected the shelter to be that nice and organized the way it was," the Bruins defenseman said. "It was a great facility, and the dogs seemed to be loving it. It was nice to be a part of it and helping out."

"It was just fun for our people," Halpin said. "We had a bunch of shelter workers here, and a bunch of our doctors at the hospital came over, and Dennis was so nice and spent time with them and signed their calendars. It's very rare that we have celebrities come and visit us. It sparked a lot of goodwill internally."

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Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, center in green, presented a check for $30,000 to the MSPCA-Angell Animal Care and Adoption Center in June. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Bruins.)

When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, Seidenberg never got a chance to take the famous trophy home, so Wiggles was denied the opportunity to drink water and eat treats out of the bowl that adorns the top of hockey's greatest prize. All the more incentive, Seidenberg said, to bring the Cup back to Boston in 2015.

"Wiggles didn't get to see it, but we're trying really hard to get it back, and this time he'll get a chance to be a part of it," Seidenberg said.

Buy the 2015 Pucks & Pups calendar.

Meet more Dogster Heroes:

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).

Fri, 05 Dec 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/boston-bruins-dennis-seidenberg-2015-calendar-pucks-pups-hockey-mspca-shelter-dogs-adoption
<![CDATA[Nicholas Sparks Talks About the Rescue Dogs in His Life and in His Books]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/nicholas-sparks-rescue-dogs-petsmart-charities-contest Nicholas Sparks has written some of the most popular love stories of our time, and he has woven very memorable canine characters into several of his best-sellers. More than half of his 17 novels, including The Notebook, also have been made into movies.

Soon, one lucky reader's real-life rescue pet will get to join the ranks of fictional dogs who have captured our hearts in Sparks' tales.

Through the "Fall Into a Nicholas Sparks Love Story Contest," in partnership with PetSmart Charities, the author is inviting readers to submit their adoption stories. The winning pet will make a cameo appearance in his next book.

Sparks took some time out from writing recently to answer questions about his own rescue dogs.

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Author Nicholas Sparks with his three rescue dogs. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

Dogster: You have three rescue dogs in your family -- Bo, Boomer, and Susie. Can you tell us a little bit about each of their rescue stories?

Nicholas Sparks: We've been so lucky to adopt three of our dogs -- two we found at rescue shelters, and one we first found on the side of the road and eventually took in. Susie, our Shih Tzu mix, is incredibly sweet and very low-maintenance –- she loves to nap. Susie was two when she joined our family and was the first of our pets to be adopted. Our second dog, Boomer, had terrible heartworms in the shelter and was fighting for his life. We were able to adopt him when he was two or three years old and get them treated right away. Now, he's active and loves to swim. Finally, our mixed-breed Bo was about six months old when we first found him on the side of the road. He's great and has really bonded with my son Landon.

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Lucky Bo found a great home. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

As the father of five kids, what lessons do you think the younger generation learns when a family adopts a rescue pet?

One of the rewarding parts of adopting dogs has definitely been what the experience has taught the kids. Caring for pets teaches responsibility, since kids need to help walk, feed, and clean the dogs. I also think that when a family adopts a rescue pet, kids are able to see firsthand the difference they can make in a pet's life. They are giving a pet a second chance at a loving home, and they realize they are making an impact on reducing the number of homeless pets in the world.

You've talked a lot about your German Shepherds, Rex and Lara, in the past. When you purchased Lara, she was already highly trained. How did adopting rescue dogs differ from that experience? What kind of challenges did your family face when adopting rescues?

As I mentioned, Boomer had terrible heartworms before we decided to adopt him. So, we dealt with some of his health challenges early on. But, he's stronger and happier than ever now and loves to go swimming in the lake by our house. Training rescues is similar to training any other dog -– it requires patience and practice.

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Now healthy, Boomer heads out for a swim. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

You've said the character Zeus in The Lucky One was inspired by one of your own dogs, Rex. How much of the late Rex do we see reflected in Zeus? Are they different in any way?

The thing that both of them have in common, definitely, is their loyalty. Rex would often sit at my feet while I was writing, and he was just incredibly faithful, which is the dynamic I tried to recreate between Zeus and Logan Thibault in The Lucky One.

Many of the dogs in your books and your life are larger breeds. Did you ever picture yourself adopting a small dog like Susie?

It's funny that even though my family and I have been drawn to larger dog breeds, sometimes adopted pets pick us and not the other way around. Susie was one of those dogs. She is so sweet and easygoing. While we've always liked large dogs and have two larger dogs in our house currently, it doesn't mean we also don't like smaller breeds. I can't imagine our lives without Susie.

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Susie was the family's first adoptee. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

The film adaptation of your novel The Choice is underway as the first independent feature film for your production company. One of the novel's protagonists is a veterinarian, and dogs play a big part in the plot. We've already seen some shots of the animal actors on social media. Are these dog actors what you imagined when writing Molly and Moby?

Yes, in that these two dogs are both incredibly loving and bring a real warmth to the set, just as I imagined Molly and Moby doing. That said, I must say that the dogs on set are better trained than almost any dog I've ever seen -- and my own dogs are quite well-trained! I guess even actor dogs have to be at the top of their game to make it in Hollywood!

On your website (in the Book FAQ for The Guardian) you wrote, "Also, it's worth noting that in American literature, as opposed to movies and television, the dog almost always dies." Why do dogs so often meet tragic ends in literature? And will the contest-winning pet have a happy ending to their cameo?

Well, I can't spoil the ending for my book -- but as for why dogs so often die in literature, I imagine it is just a reflection of life: Dogs have much shorter lives than people, and literature has never shied away from the harsher truths of the human experience. So often we take these dogs in and fall in love with them knowing that, most likely, we will outlive them.

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Boomer and Bo Sparks. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

What will you be looking for in the story that wins this contest? Do you have any tips for contest entrants who will be writing their own love story?

I'm really looking for those unique, heartwarming adoption stories that can show why you fell in love with your adopted cat or dog and how they've made your life complete. A descriptive story, along with a high-quality photo of your pet, will make for a great entry.

Enter your pets' story with a photo and/or video before Dec. 14. The winner will be announced Jan. 12, 2015. The winning story will also be published on NicholasSparks.com, with an introduction written by Sparks. 

Read more celebrity interviews on Dogster:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but Specter the kitten and GhostBuster the dog make her fur family complete. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Wed, 03 Dec 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/nicholas-sparks-rescue-dogs-petsmart-charities-contest
<![CDATA[We Were on the Red Carpet at Fox's "Cause for Paws"!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/fox-cause-for-paws-jerry-oconnell-kathy-griffin-amber-riley-david-arquette-kristin-chenoweth-hilary-swank-jane-lynch On Saturday, the stars came out to celebrate rescue pets and the joy they bring to our lives. Fox's Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular (previously titled the Great American Dog-a-Thon) taped at Santa Monica Airport, with the two-hour special scheduled to air on Thanksgiving at 8 p.m.

Dogster was on the red carpet to talk with the celebs about why they support rescue organizations -- and we also asked them what breed they would be if they were a dog, because why not!

Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn

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Jerry O' Connell and Bubbles. All photos by Wendy Newell unless noted.

"Rescue pets love you so much. We have a bunch at home. We are always fostering them. My wife is pretty intense about this," said O'Connell. "I come home, and there are more pets at home. I once left for a weekend -- I went on a golf trip with my guy friends -- and when I came back there were two cats in our house. I tried to claim I was allergic, but those cats are my best friends now. I love them. I sleep with them every night. I prefer to sleep with my cats more than my wife."

The actor said he resembles a Labrador most.

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Toby, a Chihuahua available for adoption, checks me out while his escort, Rebecca Romijn, stops to talk to another reporter.

Like many who attended, the actor and his wife, Rebecca Romijn, walked the red carpet with dogs available for adoption. O'Connell carried sweet senior Beagle mix Bubbles, and Romijn walked with Toby.

Kathy Griffin

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Kathy Griffin talks to the press.

"I've become a two-dog person, because when I got my first dog someone said two dogs are easier. I didn't believe them, and I was wrong. So now I have two dogs. They keep each other company, and they lift your spirits," said the comedian. "Rescue pets are voiceless, so we have to help them."

She claimed kinship with Irish Setters. An up-for-adoption German Shepard named Octavia, though, was the lucky pup to walk the red carpet with Griffin.

Michael Levitt

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Michael Levitt and his dog, Trooper.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about rescue dogs, and we know firsthand that rescue dogs are the most grateful," said the co-producer of Cause for Paws, who brought his dog, Trooper. "We know you can find purebreds in the shelter. There is no need to go to breeders or to pet stores. We want people to become part of the solution by rescuing a dog instead of being part of the problem by going to breeders and pets stores that have puppy mill dogs."

He picked Pit Bull as the breed he would be, because he said they are misunderstood and amazing.

Amber Riley

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Amber Riley and Ruby.

"I think it is important to use your platform to get the word out there, and this is a great organization," said the Glee star, who walked the red carpet with a Miniature Schnauzer named Ruby available for adoption. "I was really excited when they asked me to come down. I just want to talk to people about adopting pets rather than going to the store and buying pets. It's important to get dogs off of the street. These dogs need homes."

She sees herself as a Poodle, as they are "super clean but are still fun and extremely smart."

Richard and Nicholas Olate

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Richard and Nicholas Olate with their talented pups.

"My father has been training dogs for about 46 years now. Dogs pretty much rescued his life. It is very emotional for us to be able to help raise awareness for such a selfless act," said Nicholas Olate, part of the winning team of 2012's America's Got Talent. "My father was very poor, and he says he doesn't know if he rescued them or if they rescued him. If it wasn't for the dogs, he may never have made it out of poverty."

The younger Olate said he sees himself as a Jack Russell Terrier, because they are hyperactive, always moving, and always everywhere. His dad, on the other hand, would be a Poodle, which he described as smart, very mellow, and very loving.

David Arquette

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David Arquette and Poppa Bear. Photo courtesy Cause for Paws Facebook page.

"I have two rescue dogs. I'm here to raise awareness to the cause. They asked me and I was honored -- there are so many great people putting on this event," said the actor, who sees himself as similar to the breed of Poppa Bear, a rescue who he escorted down the red carpet, as they are both lazy, enjoy food, and are a little impatient.

Roselyn Sanchez

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Nikki waits patiently while Roselyn Sanchez talks to reporters.

"Senior dogs also need an opportunity. Everybody wants a puppy, everybody wants a baby. But there is something wonderful when you can say, 'I rescued a dog who is seven years old and nobody wanted her,'" said the actress, who walked the red carpet with a Dalmatian up for adoption named Nikki.

Paula Abdul

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Nicholas Olate poses with Paula Abdul.

"I'm a big advocate of dog rescue. Growing up we always rescued dogs. I have four Chihuahuas, and three of them are rescues," said the singer. "Rescuing is the greatest gift -- they become family members, they become so close, no different from children. My dogs are my kids."

Abdul escorted Sparky, a Chihuahua on wheels looking for a forever home, and said she would be a Saint Bernard.

Kristin Chenoweth

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Kristin Chenoweth and one of the many dogs up for adoption at the event. Photo courtesy Cause for Paws Facebook page.

"Dogs need homes, and everybody wants to be loved. Dogs don't choose whether they are born or not; they should be loved unconditionally" said Chenoweth, who added that she identifies most with the Maltese breed. 

Wendie Malick

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A cute puppy tried to tell Wendie Malick that he was done with the silly red carpet business.

"This show is so cool, and it is amazing it is on network television," the actress said. "People in this country have to know that there are way too many dogs we have to put down every year. There are dogs getting euthanized who are healthy. Every time you go to a pet store and think, 'What a cute little dog,' you don't understand the cost of that dog and how many dogs are already out there looking for love and waiting for you to come and find them."

Malick considers herself like a Shepherd mix.

MasterChef Junior contestants

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MasterChef Junior contestants and Iris.

The contestants of MasterChef Junior came by to show off Iris, a two-year-old Bichon up for adoption. Natalie Jawher, likely taking note of all the women's heels on the red carpet, said she would be a Dalmatian because they are tall, Sean Le favors a Bulldog because they are nice and relaxed, and Mitchell Vasquez said he matches best with a Lab mixed with Golden Retriever.

Hilary Swank

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Frankie, a Saint Bernard available for adoption, keeps an eye out for treats.

"I have been a longtime advocate for dogs, and I have seen firsthand how dogs have changed my life," said the co-host and co-producer of Cause for Paws. "I couldn't imagine my life without a dog. My dogs have enriched my life in so many ways. When I got involved and heard the statistics -- that eight million dogs are in shelters across the United States and four million sadly never make it out -- I thought what a great platform FOX gave us to get that word out."

She said she would be a mutt, "just like I am."

Swank co-hosted the event with Jane Lynch. The show featured inspiring as well as funny stories about rescue dogs, appearances by rescues turned viral-video stars, and games with dog and celebrity participants alike. All donations made before and during the airing on Thanksgiving night will go to the Petfinder Foundation. You can donate $10 anytime by texting DONATE to 50555 or visiting Cause for Paws online.

Read more about celebrities and dogs:

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/fox-cause-for-paws-jerry-oconnell-kathy-griffin-amber-riley-david-arquette-kristin-chenoweth-hilary-swank-jane-lynch
<![CDATA[We Talk to Katherine Heigl About Her Rescue Dogs and Shelter Advocacy]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/katherine-heigl-rescue-dogs-shelter-advocacy
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Katherine Heigl has been in the public spotlight for much of her life. Best known for TV series Grey’s Anatomy and the very funny movie Knocked Up, she now stars in State of Affairs, debuting tonight on NBC.

While you can read plenty about her personal life on celebrity-gossip websites, one aspect that doesn't get nearly enough attention is her animal rescue work. So I sat down to discuss that with her.

Dogster: When did your love of animals begin?

Katherine Heigl: I've always loved, respected, and cared deeply for animals. Our family always had animals, and I was born into a household of two dogs and two cats.

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Heigl and her dog Tamber. (Photo by Cheyenne Ellis)

Please tell us about your current pets.

I have eight dogs and three cats. Pi Piper (10-year-old Chow/Shepherd-mix rescue), Stella (14-year-old Schnauzer), Weezer (eight-year-old Schnoodle), Tamber and Flora (three-year-old sibling Shepherd-mix rescues), Oscar (six-year-old Potcake rescue from Mexico), and now a new little Boxer puppy named Baba, who was rescued with his whole litter when their mother died when they were three days old. Of course, there's Gertie, my constant companion, a 10-year-old Chi, who was rescued from an East Valley shelter. 

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Heigl with her dogs Gertie, Oscar, Tamber, and Piper. (Photo courtesy Katherine Heigl's Facebook page)

I also have three cats, all rescued from shelters: Stanley, Charlie, and Whiskey. They now live at my ranch in Utah and love it there. I also recently added one of the Sochi dogs, Billy Bean, to my group. BB loves the ranch in Utah.

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Heigl at home with her daughters, Naleigh and Adelaide, and their Chihuahua, Gertie. (Photo courtesy Katherine Heigl's Facebook page)

Tell us why you named your rescue foundation after your brother, Jason.

Jason influenced our family in every way possible. He was always looking out for and caring for the voiceless and the innocent. He really especially loved a big black Labrador we had named Ben Davis. When Jason was hospitalized for the week after his accident and died, Ben Davis ran away, and we all thought he was out looking for Jason. Finally, after about five days, we found him and brought him home. I believe he knew Jason was gone and missed him the whole rest of his life.

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Heigl stars in State of Affairs. (Photo courtesy NBC)

When we first fully realized the plight and terrible situation for so many companion animals in this country, we knew that we had to do all we could to stop this unnecessary killing of so many good, healthy animals. It was obvious to us that the foundation's work and purpose would enable Jason’s compassion and kindness to still go on even though he had died so young. So, of course, it became the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation and helps us honor the memory and the heart of a wonderful brother and son who we will always miss.

Why did you want to get involved with rescuing animals?

Along with my brother, having been around companion animals my whole life, I know their immense value in our lives, which a lot of studies have proven, and how individual and valuable each one of them is.

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Gertie the Chihuahua. (Photo courtesy Katherine Heigl's Facebook page)

Tell us a little about the Heigl Hounds of Hope.

When we started working with shelters in Southern California, we saw so many big dogs who just did not have a chance to make it out alive. Our existing transport program can generally just place the small ones, but we could not turn our backs on the others. So we take just a few special dogs each year who become Heigl Hounds.

They are usually dogs who need special help, whether it be medical, training, or otherwise. We have had bait dogs, dogs with advanced cancer who needed hospice, dogs disfigured by illness or abuse, dogs deemed aggressive who needed training. They stay with us until healed physically or mentally enough to go up for adoption.

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Heigl stars in State of Affairs. (Photo courtesy NBC)

Any advice to someone who is thinking of rescuing a shelter animal?

I want to encourage people to always adopt, big or small dogs. They are all wonderful companions and truly enrich our lives. Shelters are packed and many need to kill animals because there just is not enough space. These dogs are not being killed because of behavior problems.

Most people do not know that 25 percent of all the dogs who come into the shelter are purebreds. There are breed-specific rescues for every kind of dog and cat! And a lot of people think that the shelters are filled with used or otherwise undesirable dogs. That could not be further from the truth. The dogs and cats at shelters all deserve another chance to be loved and live!

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Heigl with her daughters. (Photo courtesy Katherine Heigl's Facebook page)

How can the general public get involved with the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation?

Anyone anywhere can do three amazing things to help animals: 1) Get your pets fixed, 2) adopt your next pet, and 3) help spread the word about the first two! If they are outside Southern California, they can donate to us or their local animal shelter. If they are in Southern California, we invite them to visit our site and become a foster, a dog walker, or get involved with our transport team.

What is the best thing about rescuing a dog?

When you choose to adopt a dog, you are not just saving that animal's life, you're also saving the dog who was never bred, the one who now has more time at the shelter to find a home, and, of course, the one you're taking home! I actually believe and have seen for myself that rescued animals are even more grateful to be with you and seem to know that you have saved them.

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Heigl loves animals. (Photo courtesy Katherine Heigl's Facebook page)

What have you learned from your pets?

That life can turn on a dime! My little furry (Gertie) was next on the list to be killed at a Los Angeles shelter. When we pulled her, she had no teeth and was underweight. Other rescues passed her up, but we saw a diamond in the rough. Now she eats eggs at the Four Seasons and travels in the plane with me wherever I go. Talk about keeping hope alive!

The best part of having animals in my life is just having animals in my life and home. They enrich our home with their unconditional love and loyalty. They bring laughter and fun with their individuality and special personalities. They help teach my children about caring for others, and help me to always remember the important things in life and that all life is a gift that we need to value. 

Anything else that you would like to share with us?

Just that we at JDHF are so grateful to all the people who recognize the value of our companion animals and are helping us to accomplish the goal we have set to stop the senseless killing of so many of these valuable beings.

Learn more about Heigl's rescue work by visiting jasonheiglfoundation.org and following her on Twitter and Instagram.

Read more from Brian Fischler:

About the author: Brian Fischler is a standup comedian and writer. He has been seen on The Today Show and Top Gear USA, and he was featured in Maxim Magazine as the Comedian of the Month. Fischler also runs Laugh For Sight, a bicoastal comedy benefit featuring the biggest names in comedy that come together to raise money and awareness for retinal degenerative eye disease research. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/katherine-heigl-rescue-dogs-shelter-advocacy
<![CDATA[Susie the Pit Bull Is Your 2014 American Hero Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/hero-dog-awards-susie-pitbull
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The 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards airs Thurs., Oct. 30, on the Hallmark Channel, but the event took place last month, and we've got your big winner right here: Susie. She's a Pit Bull mix from High Point, North Carolina, and she landed the 2014 American Hero Dog award at the event, which took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and was hosted by film star James Denton and model and animal advocate Beth Stern

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Yes, it was a full gala, but let's hear about Susie first. The Pit mix was just a puppy when she underwent an unimaginable experience. Her owner beat her, then set her on fire, leaving her in a park in North Carolina. Her crime? Licking the face of her owner's child.  

She was rescued by a local animal shelter, but it was nearly too late: Her ears were burned off and 60 percent of her body was covered in third-degree burns, which were infested with maggots. But Susie did recover, and after being adopted by Donna Lawrence, a dog-attack survivor, Susie broke out of her shell and soon became known for her "constant love, sweet spirit, and boundless forgiveness," according to the Hero Dog Award website. 

Together the two helped pass “Susie’s Law” in North Carolina, which calls for harsher penalties for convicted animal abusers, and they visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes, spreading the message that people should never give up. Susie has become an expert spokesdog for animal welfare; she's also been the star of three books and a movie.

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"Susie greets everyone with a wag and a smile," the Hero Dog Award website says, "living in the moment to give kisses and cuddles to those who need to know that forgiveness and grace are the greatest gifts." 

Susie beat out 135 dogs nominated from around the country, along with seven other finalists, to win the award. Votes were cast by the public -- more than half a million came in -- and by a panel of animal advocates and celebrity judges, including Victoria Stilwell, Naomi Judd, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Alison Eastwood, and Joanna Krupa. 

The show, which airs Oct. 30 on the Hallmark Channel, features performances by Wilson Phillips and Shara Strand and appearances by animal advocates and celebrities. Check out the Hero Dog Awards' website and Facebook.

Read more about award shows:

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Mon, 27 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700 /the-scoop/hero-dog-awards-susie-pitbull
<![CDATA[Hoda Kotb, Chevy Chase, and Lance Bass Star in "Miracle Dogs"]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/hoda-kotb-lance-bass-chevy-chase-miracle-dogs-pictures-photos-interview-book-dog-rescue Pet photographer Liz Stavrinides' Miracle Dogs project began with an idea to celebrate rescue dogs and the people involved with saving them. Pairing family-style portraits of canine saviors (including a sprinkling of celebrities) with the often heart-wrenching stories behind the rescues, the book strikes a warm and tender note.

In celebration of the publication of Miracle Dogs, I spoke to Liz about some of her favorite tales, photos and characters from the book, and about increasing awareness of rescue animals. I also got the scoop on her own two pooches.

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Dogster: When did the idea to create Miracle Dogs come about?

Liz Stavrinides: This has been a project that has been in my heart for a long, long time. Having rescued my own dogs and after coming in contact with so many rescued dogs through my photography, I was compelled to give other dogs who have not been so lucky, including those still living in shelters, a voice.

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What was the most heartbreaking story you came across while putting the book together?

Each story is so touching and heartfelt that it is very hard to pick just one. But the story of Fiona [a single-eyed dog] stands out because of her miracle journey from tragedy to triumph.

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What were Chevy Chase's dogs like?

Chris was sweet and gregarious and loved having his picture taken! He loves Chevy and has a hard time sharing him with the other dogs. Cody was also very sweet and loving, but let Chris have the spotlight.

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What was it like profiling 'N Sync's Lance Bass for the book?

Lance is such a genuine person and so kind. The love he has for his dogs shines through him.

Which 'N Sync song do you think would make the best anthem to listen to while reading Miracle Dogs?

I think the best ’N Sync anthem song would be "This I Promise You."

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All images via Liz Stavrinides

This book also includes Hoda Kotb's dog. If the dog could host his own TV show, what would it be like?

Taking after his pet parent mom, Hoda, and after his namesake, Blake Shelton, I think he would have a music and dance variety show. And his friend Goobers would be his co-host.

During the making of Miracle Dogs, were there any of the dogs that you were secretly tempted to try and bring home yourself?

I have to say I fell in love with all of them!

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What would you like people to get out of reading Miracle Dogs?

I hope that Miracle Dogs will encourage and inspire people to open their hearts to rescuing an animal or donate their time and or resources to help or foster an animal in need.

Finally, do you have any dogs yourself at the moment?

Yes, I have two beautiful rescues. There's Jack, a handsome Wheaten Terrier mix, who I adore beyond words. Jack will be 14 in February. And then there's my sweet Enzo, a Poodle mix, named after Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain. We are a pretty inseparable duo!

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You can check out more information about Liz Stavrinides's Miracle Dogs (and purchase copies of the book) online.

Read more interviews on Dogster:

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/hoda-kotb-lance-bass-chevy-chase-miracle-dogs-pictures-photos-interview-book-dog-rescue
<![CDATA[The New "Shelter Me" Episode Includes a Dog-Rescue Airlift]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/allison-janney-shelter-me-new-episode-trailer-videos-pbs The fourth installment of Shelter Me, the emotionally charged, uplifting documentary series that brings attention to America’s dog shelters, airs this month on PBS. It's hosted by actress and animal advocate Allison Janney, who also shares the screen with her three adopted dogs. 

“I am honored to bring awareness to the thousands of loving pets in animal shelters across the country that needs homes,” Allison says. “I adopted three amazing dogs and they bring so much joy to my life.” 

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Allison Janney with one of her adopted dogs.

Here's a preview of what's in the new episode: Shelter Me: New Beginnings focuses on two story lines. In one, nine pilots from Wings of Rescue volunteered to fly 128 dogs from overcrowded shelters in California, where the dogs were soon to be put down, to Idaho, where shelters had the space to spare.

“They were all adopted in two or three weeks,” says director and producer Steven Latham.

The other story involves nationally recognized animal trainer Aimee Sadler from Dogs Playing for Life, who visits shelters in Philadelphia and Baltimore to teach volunteers and dogs to interact in a play yard together. Not only does the program provide the dogs with the proper exercise regimen, but “it shows how each dog works well with other dogs,” says Latham. “That can be an important factor for many when choosing a pet.” 

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Volunteers and dogs practicing Aimee Sadler's tips.

“The uplifting stories told in the series reinforce how incredible shelter pets are and why they deserve a loving home,” says Latham, who volunteers in six shelters in L.A. in his spare time. He says he created the series to break down the misconception that shelter dogs won’t make good pets.

“Shelter pets make the best pets,” he says. 

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Trainer Aimee Sadler with some of the shelter pups.

The episode premieres Oct. 5. Go to ShelterMe.TV for local listings. You can find previous episodes of the series on Netflix and iTunes. Watch the trailer for episode four here:

Read related stories on Dogster:

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/allison-janney-shelter-me-new-episode-trailer-videos-pbs
<![CDATA[The Best Celebrity Selfies With Marnie the Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/celebrity-selfies-marnie-dog-photos-tina-fey-jonah-hill-lena-dunham Are you following Marnie the dog on Instagram yet? Nope? Well trust me, mosey on over to her photo stream and sign up for the cause. Why? Because this senior status pupster has emerged as the Internet's most adorable celebrity snapper, as the formerly smelly rescue (seriously, her shelter name was Stinky) wobbles around New York City and woos actors, musicians and scenesters with her perma-tongue smile and lovably lopsided gaze.

As a primer, here's the best of Marnie's snaps so far.

Everyone loves Marnie and Tina Fey. No cat sound needed.

Here Marnie is hamming it up with Betsey Johnson, the fashion designer. Although on a first glance I assumed she was with a Muppet version of Courtney Love. (Feline sound!)

So smitten was Jonah Hill with Marnie that she was moved to claim, "I think he is in love with me."

Oh, it's just Marnie and ?uestlove out shopping for vinyl.

Clearly Grimes and Marnie are deep in discussion about the joys of off-kilter personal expression though the arts.

"In season four Hannah adopts me and stops caring about boys forever," says Marnie of this snap with Girls writer and star Lena Dunham. I cannot speak on the validity of the plot prediction (I can't stomach my way through the show), but the pic is very cute.

Hey, it's Marnie and the Broad City babes!

When not mugging it up with Marnie, the hip-hop artist EL-P is possibly preparing to record a cat-themed rap album titled Meow The Jewels.

When Marnie met the rockster Marnie (Stern), her namesake

Check out more pix on her Instagram. 

Read more about rescue on Dogster:

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/celebrity-selfies-marnie-dog-photos-tina-fey-jonah-hill-lena-dunham
<![CDATA[We Chat With Anne Wheaton About the Star-Studded Wiggle Waggle Walk Fundraiser]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/anne-wil-wheaton-interview-wiggle-waggle-walk-pasadena-humane-society Anne Wheaton rescued her first animal as a child.

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"He was an orange tabby who followed me home. We found out that a family had moved and left their cat behind. I couldn’t believe someone would just leave a family member like that," she says.

In 2012, many rescues later, Anne retired from her career as a hair stylist to focus full-time on animal welfare. She serves on the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA board of directors and takes part in the annual Wiggle Waggle Walk fundraiser, for which she produces a calendar featuring her famous friends and their adopted pets. The 16th annual event takes place Sunday, with calendars shipping to donors in mid-October.

Anne and husband Wil -- of The Big Bang Theory, Eureka, and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame -- first became involved with the organization in 2009. They had just lost their beloved Lab-Rottie mix Ferris to cancer when a flyer for the walk came in the mail.

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Anne rescued Ferris as a puppy after finding her abandoned at a bus stop. Photo courtesy of Wil Wheaton.

The couple decided to participate in her honor with Riley, their other dog. A few days before the event, Riley tore a ligament in her knee. The organization asked if they would walk one of the many shelter pups available for adoption instead.

On the morning of the Wiggle Waggle Walk, Anne and Wil met Seamus, the seven-month-old Pit Bull mix they would spend the day with and soon welcome into their home.

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It didn't take long for Anne and Wil to fall for Seamus. Photo courtesy of Wil Wheaton.

"People were asking if he was up for adoption. I was saying yes, but after the fourth or fifth person Wil started saying, 'Yes, but we have dibs,'" Anne recalls with a laugh.

"Seamus is such a great dog," she adds. "Riley couldn't play with him because of her knee, so we took him to doggie daycare. He ended up becoming the one they used to evaluate new dogs."

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Seamus and Riley can nap together, though. Photo courtesy of Wil Wheaton.

The couple continued to take part in the fundraiser, bringing in $13,000 to $15,000 in pledges each year from 2009 to 2012. They were visiting the shelter in August 2012 when a worker approached them with a four-month-old Pit Bull mix found in a nearby park.

"She did a somersault onto Wil's feet," Anne says. "When we got home, neither of us could stop thinking about that puppy."

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Seamus with that puppy, Marlowe. Photo courtesy of Wil Wheaton.

A week later, Marlowe joined the family. She took part in her first Wiggle Waggle Walk the following month. Wil made a video of their three-mile-trip around the Rose Bowl, and it just about broke the internet.

With the 2012 event behind them, Anne looked ahead to the following year and decided to create a calendar they could give as a thank you to those who pledged a minimum of $40 to Team Wheaton. It would feature some of the couple's nerdiest and funniest friends with their rescue pets.

She worked on the project for the next eight months, doing shoots both locally and elsewhere in the country with photographer Pixie Spindel. They kept the work secret so the calendar would be a surprise when announced a few weeks before the walk.

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The 2014 Celebrity Pet Adoption Calendar cover shot.

The 2014 Celebrity Pet Adoption Calendar featured Mythbusters host Adam Savage, writer/producer Rod Roddenberry and wife Heidi, and actors Seth Green, Clare Grant, Felicia Day, and Phil Lamarr, among others. Anne and Wil posed for the cover with Riley, Seamus, and Marlowe.

Team Wheaton raised $50,750 for Pasadena Humane Society in 2013, with that amount including walk pledges as well as donations for calendars taken at events the couple attended the following month. They covered production and shipping costs through their Foundation to Increase Awesome, so that all of the money could go directly to the organization.

PHS provides food, shelter, and medical care for nearly 12,000 animals each year. It opened a new animal care center in January that includes a spay/neuter clinic, doggie daycare, behavior training center, and store. Marlowe stepped in front of the camera again, with Seamus joining her, to show off the new facility.

The 2015 calendar cover features the couple's cats, Luna and Watson. Their son, Ryan, rescued the kitties during college but had to leave them at home when his roommate signed a lease for the coming year without asking if pets were allowed. They weren't.

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The 2015 Celebrity Pet Adoption Calendar cover shot.

Famous friends appearing in this year's calendar include The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco, Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Gates McFadden, comedian Margaret Cho, Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer, and author Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.

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The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco and Norman.

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Writer/director James Gunn and Dr. Wesley Von Spears.

"We have had so much fun," Anne says of the last two years creating the calendar. "Pixie's super at capturing emotion with people. You can really see the connection between the person and their pet, how much they love each other."

Check out a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoots.

To pledge Team Wheaton in the Wiggle Waggle Walk and receive a 2015 Celebrity Pet Adoption Calendar, visit the Pasadena Humane Society website. To see another of Anne's projects to raise animal adoption awareness, visit her rescuepetsareawesome.tumblr.com. You can also follow Anne on Twitter.

Read more about rescue on Dogster:

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/anne-wil-wheaton-interview-wiggle-waggle-walk-pasadena-humane-society
<![CDATA[We Chat With "The Maze Runner" Actor Blake Cooper About Rescuing Dogs]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/interview-blake-cooper-maze-runner-dog-rescue Blake Cooper plays a hero on the big screen, but at home his selfless acts are real. The 13-year-old star of The Maze Runner, opening Sept. 19, rescues a variety of animals with his family from their farm in Georgia.

"The first I remember was a Jack Russell. My mom was taking me to preschool, and we saw him running along the road in the rain. We stopped and called him into the car," he says.

When no one came forward to claim the dog, the family decided he could stay and named him Jack.

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Blake and Jack hanging out.

"He's an awesome dog, 13 now and still pretty spry," Blake says.

Since Jack, the Cooper family -- which includes mom Shari, dad Mike, and siblings Zach, Wade, and Maddy -- has rescued Sonic the Pomeranian through Craigslist and Dreamy the French Bulldog, whom a breeder needed to retire and place in a loving home for health reasons.

"When we took him in, he was so skinny and had digestive problems," Blake says. "Dreamy has gained at least 15 pounds. He's fat now."

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Dreamy sure seems comfy in his new home.

There are also four rescue cats living on the farm. Sprinkles and Tigre came from Craigslist, and the family adopted Blu and Mufasa at a local kill shelter.

Blake and his family also took in a miniature donkey named Diamond after her owners divorced and did not keep their nearby farm.

"We call her Donkey, though," he says. "She's the coolest donkey ever. She protects against coyotes."

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Sweet Tigre. Bet she appreciates having Diamond around.

Rounding out the rescues are a bunny named Charlie Pat, who was not doing well living at a college fraternity house, and a Jacob sheep scheduled to be euthanized after being used as a subject in gene therapy testing, also at a nearby school. The family raises the rare breed of sheep on their farm and was more than happy to bring Sophia into the flock.

Blake did not get to work with any animals in The Maze Runner -- in which he plays Chuck (shown at top), the life-saving sidekick of main character Thomas in a dangerous, post-apocalyptic setting -- but hopes to in the upcoming Amazon series Cocked.

"There's a Labradoodle in the cast. I really hope I get to work with him," says Blake, who will portray Xander, the son of Sam Trammell's character Richard in the show about a family who owns a business manufacturing guns.

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Blake during a recent trip to Hollywood for "Cocked."

And while the young actor feels he has found his chosen career, there will be a break for college. Blake would like to incorporate animals into his studies, as well.

"I like marine biology. I might major in that, or at least minor in it," he says. "I just love animals."

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/interview-blake-cooper-maze-runner-dog-rescue
<![CDATA[Now You Can Get a Pie in the Face in the Name of Dog Rescue]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-rescue-pies4paws-pie-in-the-face-photos-interview-aspca You'd have to be living under a rock to not have heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which has moved around the country faster than the Road Runner. It’s tremendous how something so simple and easy has raised awareness and millions of dollars for ALS research -- and even dogs are getting involved.

Considering imitation is the kindest form of flattery, it was no surprise when I heard that animal-lover Jill Rappaport of the Today show and NBC Nightly News was doing even more for animals in need by launching Jill Rappaport’s Pies4Paws, which is modeled on the Ice Bucket Challenge. I spoke to her about the operation and how people can get involved. 

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Jill at home with her dogs. (Photo courtesy Jill Rappaport's Facebook page.)

How did you come up with the idea of Jill Rappaport’s Pies4Paws?

There is not anyone breathing who has not heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I remember thinking the moment it caught on that I had to do something similar for animals. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been an unbelievable situation, and we are so fortunate that it has raised millions for ALS research. It has been miraculous in that it has gotten everyone to come together for such an important cause.

You are a longtime friend to all animals -- but why pies?

Right now there are currently 8 million companion animals living in shelters. The situation is very dire, and more needs to be done for these cats and dogs in need of a home. I thought, I have to do something and I’m going to launch a cause for paws. Then I thought, let's make it a sweet cause for paws! And it became Jill Rappaport’s Pies4Paws.

And what better day to launch it than at the ASPCA’s Adoption Day at the Hamptons Classic Horse Show? Every year I emcee the benefit with the help of Georgina Bloomberg, and I just thought it would be the greatest place to make the announcement. Not only did I announce it, but I took a big fat vanilla cream pie in the face from Georgina!

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Georgina Bloomberg dishes up the first pie of Pies4Paws ... right in founder Jill Rappaport's face. (Photo courtesy Jill Rappaport's Facebook page.)

It sounds like fun for the person getting the pie in the face and also for the person giving them the pie.

Exactly. I don’t know if you have ever gotten a pie in the face, but I think people always wonder what it must be like. It’s quite interesting. First of all the custard went right up my nose, and I have long hair, so it took three hair washings to get it all out, but it was all worth it. I was walking around the Hamptons Horse Classic and for 45 minutes everyone was stopping me to have a photo taken. It was quite fun.

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Gregg Oehler, the publisher of "Cesar's Way" magazine, accepted Jill's challenge. (Photo courtesy Gregg Oehler)

What do you hope to accomplish with Pies4Paws, and who will benefit?

It’s very inclusive; we are raising money and also promoting the adoption of cats, dogs, and horses. That is why this is such a wonderful challenge, as there are two ways people can help -- by donating or adopting. The donations are going to the ASPCA. 

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Metro the Painting Horse stood by while his owner, Ron, took a pie in the face for animal charities. (Photo courtesy Jill Rappaport's Facebook page.)

It is my hope and dream that we can raise even a fraction of what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has done.

Who was the first person you challenged?

One of my first nominees was Metro, who I call "the retired racehorse who turned into Rembrandt." Metro was just featured in People Magazine, and he was a story I did on the Today show. He’s become a national sensation and is the perfect example of why this cause is so important.

We all know what happens to retired racehorses, and Ron Krajewski, who rescued Metro, saw that Metro had a lot more life in him.

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Jill and Georgina, post-pies. (Photo courtesy Jill Rappaport's Facebook page.)

Ron is a painter, and one day Metro literally took the paintbrush out of Ron’s hand, and Ron thought, "Wow, if he’s going to do that, why don’t I put a canvas in front of him?" And the rest, as they say, is history. Metro paints amazing paintings, which are going for thousands of dollars.

The horse situation is even more dire than that of cats and dogs; a lot of times at three years old they are discarded, when they could go on to live another 25 good years. They could go on to be companion animals, trail animals -- some have even gone into the show ring. 

How are pets being involved with the Pies4Paws Challenge?

Metro was the first animal to take on the challenge, but I do want to clarify that his pet parent, Ron, didn’t put a pie in Metro’s face. Instead we made him bran mash, his favorite meal, and he ate it out of a bucket. Ron took the pie in the face.

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Don't worry: You take the pie to your face, not your pet.

If people want to involve their pets, please do not hit them with a pie in the face! Give them something they will enjoy and do not force it on them. The pie in the face is for the pet owner.

How do people get involved with Pies4Paws?

Once you do the challenge we want you to challenge four other people. There’s no time limit to do the challenge. We want people to just do it and share the results on their social networks, put it up on YouTube, and hopefully we will have the domino effect where it just keeps going.

I just challenged Meredith Vierra and she happily accepted the Pies4Paws Challenge; and Meredith then challenged Matt Lauer, Betty White, and Beth and Howard Stern to step up, too. 

Take the pie, donate, and adopt -- it’s the perfect trifecta. It's my hope is that a pie or cake company or grocery store will come on board to donate pies to be used.

Remember, when you make a donation to the ASPCA because of Pies4Paws, make sure to put on the memo line "Jill Rappaport’s Pies4Paws," and when you go in to adopt a pet, let them know to record it to Pies4Paws.

Next I spoke to Ron Krajewski, Metro’s pet parent. 

What was it like doing the Pies4Paws Challenge?

Ron Krajewski: It was a lot of fun. It was kind of a surreal moment, having Jill nominate Metro and me as one of the first people along with Georgina Bloomberg.

I think of Metro as just my buddy who tries to bite me when I give him a bath, so it was nice to be considered and named in the same breath as Georgina.

Who did you nominate to take the Pies4Paws Challenge?

We nominated California Chrome; Doc Morgan, the director of the New Vocation Racehorse Program, where we donate half of the proceeds made by Metro’s paintings; and Susy Flory, who will be writing the book about Metro’s life with me.

As one of the first people to take a pie, what do you hope the future holds for Jill Rappaport’s Pies4Paws?

I hope it really takes off. Seeing what the Ice Bucket Challenge has done for ALS, I can only hope that this takes off the same way. It’s an honor for Metro and me to be one of the first nominated to take the challenge.

Are you going to take the challenge? Check out Jill Rappaport’s Pies4Paws, become a fan on Facebook and keep up with Jill on Facebook and on Twitter.  

Read more about rescue on Dogster:

About the author: Brian Fischler is a standup comedian and writer. He has been seen on The Today Show, published in Maxim Magazine as the Comedian of the Month, and on Top Gear USA on The History Channel. Brian also runs Laugh For Sight, a bicoastal comedy benefit featuring the biggest names in comedy that come together to raise money and awareness for retinal degenerative eye disease research. Connect with Brian on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. 

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/dog-rescue-pies4paws-pie-in-the-face-photos-interview-aspca
<![CDATA[CBS Sportscaster Ann Liguori Talks to Us About All Things Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/sportscaster-ann-liguori-cbs-golden-retriever-dog-interview You'd think a man accustomed to facing 90 mph fastballs would be afraid of nothing, but former Major League Baseball player Cecil Fielder is afraid of puppies. That’s according to sports journalist Ann Liguori, who learned Fielder’s secret fear firsthand during an interview in New York when Fielder played for the Detroit Tigers in the early 1990s.

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Ann with her beloved Skye. (Photo by Jean Skidgel and David Garvey)

Liguori recalls staying at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan with her husband and Max, her new Golden Retriever puppy, and getting ready for the interview.

“The camera crew set up in the suite for my interview with Cecil, so I put Max in the huge bathroom for 20 minutes,” she says. “Cecil went into the bathroom, saw the puppy, and nearly hit the ceiling, jumping in fear. Cecil later told me he is afraid of dogs. I’ve never seen a big guy the size of Cecil afraid of a small puppy! It was quite amusing.”

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Ann is the golf and tennis correspondent for CBS Sports Radio Network. (Photo courtesy Ann Liguori's Facebook page)

Liguori has covered sports for nearly three decades and is currently the golf and tennis correspondent for CBS Sports Radio Network and WFAN radio in New York.

Even more than she loves sports, though, she loves animals, especially dogs. Her current companion animal is her Golden Retriever, Skye, the son of the only Golden who won at the Westminster Dog Show in the Sporting category.

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Skye relaxes at home. (Photo courtesy Ann Liguori's Facebook page)

Skye recently turned 7, and, like any parent, Liguori still remembers her first experience with the dog vividly.

“I learned that a breeder in East Hampton had a litter of purebred Golden Retriever puppies, and we were ready for another Golden,” she says. “Skye was one of five in a litter that was sired by the Golden that won the Sporting category at the Westminster Dog Show years ago. The father was in Seattle and apparently, his sperm was sent to a vet in Sag Harbor who did an in-vitro procedure with the female in East Hampton.”

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Ann with tennis legend Roger Federer. (Photo courtesy Ann Liguori's Facebook page)

Liguori fell in love right away.

“When we went to see the puppies, the puppy we picked out was nicknamed ‘McDreamy’ after the Grey’s Anatomy character,” she says. “He has the longest eyelashes.”

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The spunky little puppy ran to her arms immediately, and Liguori assumed it was a perfect match: “I told the breeder, ‘I think I’d like this little one,’ and the breeder replied, ‘Oh, YOU don’t pick the puppy, WE and the dog pick the owners!’"

Liguori thought it was odd at first but understood that they wanted to make sure that all the owners would take great care of their pups. So she -- pardon the pun -- doggedly called the breeder each day until he finally agreed to let her take the puppy home, which she named Skye.

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Skye brings golf shoes to Ann's husband. (Photo courtesy Ann Liguori's Facebook page)

Since then, Skye rarely leaves Liguori's side, except when she is covering major golf tournaments like the Masters or the U.S. Open. Still, she tries to bring him along whenever possible.

“We know all the hotels, up and down the Eastern Seaboard, that allow pets,” she says.

Liguori says many of the athletes she interviews are as big of pet fanatics as she is -- and it’s a good icebreaker for interviews.

“When I interviewed Maria Sharapova for Hamptons Magazine two summers ago, I could hear her Pomeranian, Dolce de Leche, barking in the background,” she says. “Novak Djokovic takes his miniature poodle, Pierre, with him on the road, although he could not get the dog into the All England Club during Wimbledon, even though he won it in 2011.”

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Ann with fellow golf aficionado, rock god Alice Cooper. (Photo courtesy Ann Liguori's Facebook page)

Liguori says Serena Williams also travels with her dogs when she can, including a Jack Russell, a Maltese, and a Pit Bull. She also admires Philadelphia Phillies star Chase Utley, who hosts a benefit with his wife every year to raise money for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Skye has met professional baseball players, golfers, tennis players, politicians, socialites -- all of whom have been to Liguori's home for a dinner party.

“He prefers mingling with humans rather than dogs and sits right by the side of whomever is willing to offer him a morsel from dinner or just more attention,” she says. “Skye thinks he is human which is fine with me. He’s treated like a prince.”

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Ann getting ready to report on a tennis game. (Photo courtesy Ann Liguori's Facebook page)

Liguori says Skye is well-behaved … for the most part.

“Retrievers always have to have a job to do, so Skye is quite fond of parading around the house with my underwear, slippers, pillows, shoes” she says. “It gets a bit embarrassing when he snoops through a guest’s suitcase and comes out with personal items. He never chews anything; he just likes showing us what he’s found.”

Skye may be a pure breed, but Liguori says the advice she offers to people considering buying one is the same she’d offer any dog owner: “No matter where you get the dog, they all need love, attention, lots of exercise and good care. They are part of the family and respond to kindness and love. The more time you spend with your dog, the more love you’ll get back. They really are a gal’s best friend!”

For more information on Ann Liguori, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

Check out more cuteness on Dogster:

About the author: Patrick Henderson is a San Diego-based freelance writer specializing in entertainment and lifestyle stories. He has two cats, Mr. Boots and Buster, who tolerate him as long as he brings home the kibble.

Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/sportscaster-ann-liguori-cbs-golden-retriever-dog-interview