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.

2017 Cat Camp: inaugural event in New York City will feature Jackson Galaxy, Lil Bub, Hannah Shaw

January 11, 2017

by Danielle Smith

Cat Camp

Jackson Galaxy
Jackson Galaxy (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

People who love cats are invited to attend the inaugural Cat Camp, a fan convention/adoption event which takes place March 11 and March 12, 2017, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. The event is co-founded by Christina Ha, owner of Meow Parlour, New York’s City first cat cafe, which opened in 2014.

The event will feature cat adoptions, panel discussions, meet-and-greets and vendors selling cat-related items, merchandise and services. The Petco Foundation is the presenting sponsor.

Cat expert Jackson Galaxy, the host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” will be the keynote speaker and will do a meet-and-greet. Celebrity cat Lil Bub and her owner Mike Bridavsky will also be in attendance. Guest speakers/panelists are well-known cat enthusiasts  involved in cat rescuing, spaying/neutering and adoptions, including:

  • Hannah Shaw, also known as The Kitten Lady, a Washington, D.C.-based kitten rescuer/foster parent who has become a star on social media
  • Kate Benjamin, founder of Hauspanther, an online magazine for cat-oriented designs
  • Adam Myatt, founder of the CatTown in Oakland, California, the first permanent cat cafe in the United States
  • Dr. Jennifer Conrad of The Paw Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to banning feline declawing and educating the public about the dangers of declawing.

Although this is an event for cat enthusiasts, the only cats allowed at the event are those that have been pre-approved for adoptions or guest appearances. In other words, people have to leave their pet cats at home (for legal and health reasons, obviously), and this policy will be strictly enforced, say event organizers.

March Madness-inspired ‘Meow Madness’ kitten basketball TV special debuts on Hallmark Channel

January 7, 2017

Kittens in the inaugural "Meow Madness" TV special.
Kittens in the inaugural “Meow Madness” TV special. (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel, the exclusive home of kitten  sports and the highly rated “Kitten Bowl” franchise , announces the network’s latest  pet-centric  programming  buzzer  beater , “Meow Madness ,” a Hallmark  Channel  Original  Special Event, will  premiere at 8 p.m. ET on April 3 , 2017.

“Meow Madness” features author and animal advocate  Beth  Stern as host and Peabody Award-winning  reporter  Mary  Carillo as commentator.  The  special will showcase adoptable kittens in the most competitive tournament the basketball world  has ever seen. Hallmark Channel  enjoys home court  advantage for the inaugural “Meow Madness” special as 100 adorable, adoptable “cat-letes” purr-fect an unstoppable zone defense while taking shots  from the “flea throw” zone as  each team claw s its way to “The Final Fur.”

“Meow Madness” is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment.  Executive Producers are Todd A.  Nelson, Ross Weintraub, DJ Nurre and Jeff Altrockm,  with Kathy Sutula serving as co-executive  producer.  3 Ball Entertainment credits include “Extreme Weight Loss” (ABC), “Bar Rescue” (Spike)  and “My Cat From Hell” (Animal Planet), among others.

Check out these “Meow Madness” videos: