2017 Kitten Bowl: See all the cute photos and videos

February 6, 2017

Beth Stern and John Sterling (Photo by Marc Lemoine/Crown Media United States, LLC)

“Kitten Bowl”  is an annual feline “catstravaganza” that airs on Super Bowl Sunday and is presented in association with North Shore Animal League America (the nation’s largest no-kill shelter and animal adoption organization) and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation. Hosted by Beth Stern, a TV personality and national spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America, “Kitten Bowl” is a star-studded lineup that includes legendary New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling and referee Chuck Nice. Hallmark Channel aired the fourth annual “Kitten Bowl” in the U.S. on February 5, 2017. Here are videos and photos from the event.

(All photos by Marc Lemoine/Crown Media United States, LLC)

 

Nestlé Purina names pet technology company Obe winner of first Pet Care Innovation Prize

February 2, 2017

Obe's ProBowl
Obe’s ProBowl tracks a pet’s food and water intake, provides feedback on consumption, and alerts pet owners to any changes that are out of the ordinary compared to normal consumption habits.(Photo courtesy of Nestlé Purina)

Nestlé Purina has named high-tech pet bowl company Obe the winner of Purina’s first Pet Care Innovation Prize. The Prize is a partnership between Nestlé Purina and investment firms Active Capital and Cultivation Capital. Obe’s flagship product is ProBowl, a patent-pending, dishwasher safe bowl with a smart base that connects to a phone and WiFi via an app. ProBowl tracks a pet’s food and water intake, provides feedback on consumption, and alerts pet owners to any changes that are out of the ordinary compared to normal consumption habits. The ProBowl app can also sync with Amazon to have pet food automatically delivered to your door.

(Photo courtesy of Obe)

According to a Nestlé Purina press release, more than 80 companies from 11 countries applied for the Pet Care Innovation Prize. Obe was one of five finalists for the award. All finalists received a $10,000 cash prize along with immersion in a multi-day accelerator program in St. Louis. As the grand prize winner, Obe received an additional $10,000 for business development and will be an exhibitor at the 2017 Global Pet Expo, one of the world’s largest pet industry events. Expo attendees can meet Obe’s founders and see the ProBowl in action, and retailers can find out how ProBowl can help them drive traffic to their online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Obe founder Hilary Jensen (Photo courtesy of Nestlé Purina)

Obe is a San-Francisco based company founded by Hilary Jensen, who named the company after her dog, whose nickname was Obe. Jensen commented in a statement: “It’s an honor to be the first-ever winner of the Pet Care Innovation Prize and to be connected with Purina and other great companies who are all working toward the same goal: bettering the lives of pets. The support from the Pet Care Innovation Prize has been invaluable to the growth of the business.”

Jensen added, “We are all busy with a lot to remember. ProBowl takes a few things off your list, so you don’t have to worry. No more texting your spouse to find out whether the dog has been fed, or who is going to pick up the dog food. ProBowl is simple enough that even your 8-year-old can feed your pet the right amount every meal. Knowing ProBowl takes care of the details for me lets me spend more time the way I want, with my dog of course!”

Pet owners interested in pre-ordering the ProBowl, which starts at $99, can visit ObeDog.com for more information. Shipping is expected to begin in the spring of 2017.

Beyoncé sets Guinness World Record with her Instagram announcement that she’s pregnant with twins

February 2, 2017

by Patricia Gilbert

Beyoncé sets Guinness World Record with her Instagram announcement that she's pregnant with twins
Beyoncé announced her twins pregnancy with this Instagram post on February 1, 2017. (Photo courtesy of @beyonce/Instragram)

On February 1, 2017, Beyoncé broke a Guinness World Record when she announced on Instagram that she and her husband, Jay-Z, are expecting twins sometime this year. The Grammy-winning songstress made the announcement on Instagram by posting a photo of herself visibly pregnant, wearing a veil, and sitting in front of a wreath of flowers. The photo was accompanied by this message: “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. – The Carters.” (Jay-Z’s real name is Shawn Carter.) The twins’ sex(es) and due date have not been publicly announced.

According to Guinness World Records, that Instagram post earned the title of the “most-liked image on Instagram,” garnered 6,335,571 likes in less than eight hours. Selena Gomez held the previous record, when she got 6,305,166 likes for an image posted on June 25, 2016, of Gomez sipping from a bottle of Coca-Cola with the caption, “When your lyrics are on the bottle.”

Beyoncé and rapper/mogul Jay-Z got married in 2008, after dating for about six years. The couple’s first child, daughter Ivy Blue, was born on January 7, 2012. Beyoncé publicly announced that pregnancy by rubbing her pregnant abdomen on stage after her performance at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.

In 2013, Beyoncé revealed in her HBO documentary “Life Is But a Dream” that she had a miscarriage before she became pregnant with Blue Ivy. Beyoncé said in the documentary, “About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life … Being pregnant was very much like falling in love. You are so open. You are so overjoyed. There’s no words that can express having a baby growing inside of you, so of course you want to scream it out and tell everyone.”

She also described when she found out that the baby wasn’t going to be born: “I flew back to New York to get my check up, and no heartbeat,” she said. “Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.”

After the tragedy, she talked about how she dealt with the pain: “I went into the studio and wrote the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life … And it was actually the first song I wrote for my album. And it was the best form of therapy for me, because it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.”

Beyoncé’s unreleased song “Heartbeat” is widely believed to be that song.  She also refers to the miscarriage in her song “Sorry” (on her 2016 album “Lemonade”), which refers to her children “both living and dead.”

Petco celebrates grand opening of new stores in New York City and Oklahoma City

February 2, 2017
Petco

Specialty retailer Petco is launching two new stores (in New York City and Oklahoma City) with grand opening celebrations on February 24 to February 26, 2017, and their Wellness Weekends on March 4 to March 5, 2017:

  • QueensRego Park located at 6135 Junction Boulvards, Queens, NY 11374
  • Yukon located at 12444 NW 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73099

In addition, Petco has reopened this store after extensive renovations: 903 W. Central Entrance, Duluth, MN 55811

Each new and remodeled store will offer pet parents and their pets dog training areas, adoption centers and grooming salons. The stores will continue to offer a wide selection of branded products as well as private label offerings sold only at Petco, including the Trolls, Dr. Seuss and Star Wars Pet Fan Collections.

Prescription pet food companies hit with class-action lawsuit

February 2, 2017

Photo courtesy of Pope McGlamry
(Photo courtesy of Pope McGlamry)

Several major companies that sell “prescription” pet food have been hit with a class-action lawsuit that claims consumers were overcharged for four food brands: Hill’s Prescription Diet, Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, Royal Canin’s Veterinary Diet; and Iams’ Veterinary Formula.

The defendant pet food manufacturers in the case are Mars Petcare US, Inc. , which sells prescription pet food under the brand names Royal Canin and Iams; Nestle Purina Petcare, Co. ; and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.

Additional defendants include PetSmart, Inc.; Medical Management International, Inc.; and BluePearl Vet, LLC.  PetSmart is a major retail seller of prescription pet foods.  Banfield Pet Hospital is the largest chain of veterinary clinics in the United States, and typically operates out of PetSmart.  BluePearl Vet Hospital is the largest chain of veterinary emergency care clinics in the United States.  Pet food manufacturer Mars has a majority ownership stake in Banfield Pet Hospital and wholly owns BluePearl Vet Hospital.

The law firms Pope McGlamry, Ward and Smith, Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger and Gray Plant Mooty filed the lawsuit in December 2016.

According to a press release issued by Pop McGlamry:

“Prescription pet food is dog and cat food that is sold to the consumer with a prescription from a veterinarian.  However, the prescription requirement comes from the manufacturers and sellers and is not mandated by federal or any other law.  There is no legal mandate for a prescription from the FDA or any other government agency.  Furthermore, there is no significant difference between pet food sold by prescription and regular pet food sold without a prescription, other than a significant price differential.  There are no drugs or medicines in prescription pet food, and the FDA has made no assessments of these products.

“Counsel for the class members assert that pet food manufacturers, and their affiliates, have deceptively marketed this pet food as requiring a prescription, and have colluded to create a market for prescription pet food and to sell this food at prices higher than the prices of regular pet food.

“Consumers who have purchased any of these prescription pet foods over the past three years are urged to be part of this class action lawsuit to recover the money they overpaid, along with additional damages. ”

The lawsuit documents can be viewed as a PDF file here.

Cesar Dry debuts as a line of gourmet dry food for small dogs

February 1, 2017

Cesar, a leading brand in wet food for small dogs, has introduced Cesar Dry, a new line of gourmet dry dog food, designed specifically with small dogs in mind. The new Cesar Dry food turns boring kibble into delicious meat-first meals with a variety of flavors. Dog owners can choose from three delicious varieties of Cesar Dry: Rotisserie Chicken Flavor and Spring Vegetable Garnish, Filet Mignon Flavor and Spring Vegetables Garnish, and Slow Roasted Lamb Flavor and Spring Vegetables Garnish. All three flavors are available now at retailers and pet stores nationwide.

According to Cesar, Cesar Dry is packed with 26 essential nutrients small dogs need. The recipes are made with real meat as the first ingredient, including beef, poultry and lamb. The tender meaty pieces are combined with “H”-shaped kibble, specifically designed with small dogs in mind to help them easily pick up and chew, while also helping to keep teeth and gums clean.

Kathy Ireland extends deals for products for children and pets

January 27, 2017

Kathy Ireland
Kathy Ireland reads to young people from her Bendon collection. (Photo courtesy of Bendon)

Kathy Ireland Worldwide and Bendon, a leading designer and producer of children’s coloring and activity products in the U.S., extended their partnership through 2023. The deal includes storybooks, coloring activity and creative play items and more products in development.

In December 2016, Kathy Ireland Worldwide and pet product company Worldwise have extended their partnership for the Kathy Ireland Loved Ones collection, which includes bedding, scratchers and toys for cats and dogs. New items from the collection will debut throughout 2017 and are available at pet specialty, mass market and online retailers.

Kathy Ireland
Kathy Ireland. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Ireland Worldwide)

SPCALA makes Animal Safety Net manual available as a free download

January 26, 2017

spcaLA
(Photo courtesy of spcaLA)

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) is now offering its Animal Safety Net (ASN) manual as a free download. It’s the first time since ASN’s inception in 1998 that the manual is being offered offered to humane organizations, prosecuting attorneys, and domestic violence professionals as a free, downloadable manual.

The ASN program is a way to help survivors of domestic violence keep their pets and leave their abusers. Since 1998, ASN says it has assisted more than 300 families and 500 pets, including dogs, cats, hamsters, and rabbits.  ASN provides veterinary care, nourishing food, behavioral enrichment and temporary safe shelter to animals in the program.

Available as a download, the spcaLA Animal Safety Net manual has what an organization needs to start their own ASN program. ASN has been making a difference in the Los Angeles community for nearly 20 years due to donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. ASN is not government-funded; nor is there a national SPCA or humane society that provides support.

The link between domestic violence, animal abuse, and child abuse is well-documented. According to ASN, 62 percent of its clients reported they would not have gone into a shelter, had they not been able to place their animal with spcaLA. They had good reason to fear for their pets’ safety; clients reported 23 percent of ASN pets had already suffered violence at the hands of their abusers. Knowing that their animal was safe and that reunification was possible helps survivors make it through a difficult time.

For more information, please contact Ana Bustilloz at 323-730-5300 x252, cell 323-707-1271 or abustilloz@spcaLA.com.

Gerber names winner of Gerber Baby Photo Search 2016

January 26, 2017

Riley, winner of the Gerber Baby Photo Search 2016
Riley, winner of the Gerber Baby Photo Search 2016 (Photo courtesy of Gerber)

Gerber has announced that the winning entry of the seventh annual Gerber Baby Photo Search 2016 is a baby named Riley from Lewis Center, Ohio. According to a Gerber press release, the submission featuring the 7-month-old was selected by a panel of judges as the grand prize winning entry from more than 110,000 entries. Riley’s parents will receive $50,000, $1,500 in Gerber Childrenswear and the opportunity for Riley to star in a future Gerber advertisement as the 2017 Spokesbaby.

Riley’s mother, Kristin Shimes, commented in a statement: “Originally, my husband laughed at me for entering the contest because there were so many submissions! Now, we have the opportunity to start a college fund for our beautiful baby boy. Riley brings such joy to our family with his infectious laugh and big, gummy smile, and we can’t wait to share that joy with the rest of the world! We are truly honored to be joining the Gerber family.”

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, one winning entry was selected from each Milestone category – Birth+, Supported Sitter, Sitter, Crawler, Toddler and Preschooler. Milestone winners were determined by the highest number of consumer votes from each category on Gerber.com/photosearch.

The six Milestone category winners will each be awarded $3,500, plus $750 in Gerber Childrenswear.

This year’s Milestone winning entries are:

  • Birth+: Leo from Rockville, MD
  • Supported Sitter: Chase from Southport, CT
  • Sitter: Willow from Wichita, KS
  • Crawler: Bryce from Mount Holly, NJ
  • Toddler: Camden from New York, NY
  • Preschooler: Alanys from Humacao, Puerto Rico

Photos of the winners and additional information about Photo Search 2016 and Gerber can be found by visiting Gerber.com.

2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards announces deadlines

January 25, 2017

American Humane has announced the official start of the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast on September 16 as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel. The seventh annual event identifies and honors America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash.

According to a press release, key dates for the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

  • Nominations: January 25 to March 8
  • 1st Round Voting: March 29 to May 3
  • 2nd Round Voting: May 17 to June 28
  • 3rd Round Voting: July 12 to August 30
  • American Humane Hero Dog Awards event at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California: September 16

Dog owners across the country are invited to visit  http://www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of eight categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to the star-studded, red-carpet awards gala hosted by Beth Stern and James Denton at the Beverly Hilton. One of the category winners will be unveiled as the American Hero Dog of the year.

The eight categories for 2017 are:

  • Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis
  • Military Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation
  • Therapy Dogs
  • Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine
  • Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things
  • Arson Dogs
  • Search and Rescue Dogs
  • Guide/Hearing Dogs

Following the nominations period, which ends on March 8, two dozen semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of voting by celebrity judges and the public. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to eight category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2017 American Hero Dog.

Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for a designated charity partner and the overall winner’s charity partner will win an additional $5,000. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.

The Hero Dog Awards once again will feature a second campaign – the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards, sponsored by Zoetis. As of February 2, 2017, pet owners and animal lovers across America were invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 16.