2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Photos and Videos

May 15, 2024

The following is a press release from Westminster Kennel Club:

The Miniature Poodle “Sage” took home the highest title of Best in Show at the 148th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show presented by Purina Pro Plan. Under Judge Rosalind Kramer of High Point, NC, America’s most prestigious dog show came to a close at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

Sage, a 3-year-old female of Houston, TX, officially known as GCHG CH Surrey Sage, is handled by Kaz Hosaka and owned by Cathy Gauche. Sage bested a field of over 2,500 entered dogs among seven group finalists to win the coveted Best in Show title on Tuesday night after two days of Best of Breed, Group, and Best in Show competition.

After bringing Sage to a Best in Show victory, Hosaka announced he is retiring from shows after 45 Westminster Dog Shows. Hosaka last won Best in Show in 2002 with a Miniature Poodle named “Spice.”

The German Shepherd “Mercedes,” officially known as GCHG CH Kaleef’s Mercedes, won Reserve Best in Show with handler, Kent Boyles.

Best in Show was televised live on FS1. The Empire State Building illuminated the New York City skyline in Westminster’s iconic purple and gold to celebrate the 148th annual event.

For full results and video, visit westminsterkennelclub.org.

About The Westminster Kennel Club

The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of showing dogs. It hosts the iconic, all-breed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-longest, continuously held sporting event in the U.S. after the Kentucky Derby and, since 1948, the longest nationally televised live dog show. The Club’s mission is to enhance the lives of all dogs by celebrating the companionship of dogs and promoting responsible dog ownership and breed preservation. The Club advocates for purpose-bred dogs, with an understanding that each breed has a legacy and history that deserves to be taught, honored, and preserved. The Club uses education to raise awareness and encourage owners to conscientiously select dogs that are the right match for their families. The annual dog show—a conformation competition for purpose-bred dogs—and the Masters Agility Championship and Masters Obedience Championship—where dogs from all backgrounds are eligible to compete—make Westminster Week, with thousands of dogs from the U.S. and around the world, a pinnacle experience for any dog lover. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has captivated canine enthusiasts for more than a century. Learn more at westminsterkennelclub.org.

About Nestlé Purina PetCare
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 11,000 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 46 million dogs and 68 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition. 

Purina Pro Plan is a leader in the advanced nutrition category, with more than 140 targeted formulas to help your pet thrive throughout every stage of life. It is also the food of choice for 16 of the past 17 Westminster Best in Show winners*. For more information, visit www.proplan.com or follow @ProPlan on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. 

Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive. 

Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. For more information, visit purina.com or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news. 

*The handler or owners of these champions may have received Purina Pro Plan dog food as Purina ambassadors.

2024 Puppy Bowl: see photos and videos

January 11, 2024

Puppy Bowl XX (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery)

The following is a press release from Warner Bros. Discovery:

Puppy Bowl, the original and longest running call-to-adoption television event, returns for a 20th year on Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 2PM ET / 11AM PT and will be simulcast across Animal Planet, Discovery, TBS, truTV, Max and discovery+.

The three-hour television matchup will be the biggest yet, featuring 131 puppies, 73 shelters and rescues across 36 states and territories – including the all-time smallest pup, Sweetpea, at 1.7 lbs and the biggest, Levi the Great Dane at 72 lbs. Inspiring adoption stories will highlight the dedication and incredible work of rescues and shelters, as puppies from Team Ruff and Team Fluff take to the gridiron in the Puppy Bowl XX stadium to win the WAYFAIR® “Lombarky” trophy and find their forever homes. To celebrate 20 years of the game, four previous Puppy Bowl players return to be inducted into the all-new Puppy Bowl Hall of Fame.

The game kicks off when the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players take to the field. Dash, a Pomeranian/pug, and Maggie, a chow chow/American Staffordshire terrier representing the US Virgin Islands for the first time, will compete for Team Fluff while Tater, an Australian cattle dog/German shepherd, and Peanut Pretzel, a pug from Los Angeles, will look to bring Team Ruff to victory. As the game progresses, it will be revealed which puppy player has what it takes to be named the MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) or to win the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award. 

Six special needs puppy players will also be introduced including Riddle, a pug terrier who suffers from the neurological condition cerebellar hypoplasia; Mr. Bean, a papillon who only has his two hind legs; and four pups who don’t let their deafness slow them down on the gridiron.

For the first time ever, puppies are taking over the show’s production by operating the cameras and lighting, directing from the control room, stage managing on the studio floor and even coaching Team Ruff and Team Fluff. Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner returns for his 13th year and for the first time, will have a puppy assistant coach, Whistle, who helps him call the plays and fumbles. With new camera angles, including a ref GoPro camera and wide-angle shot from the goal posts, viewers will experience getting nose-to-nose with the puppies. Fan-favorite elements including the slo-mo cam, NEXGARD® Brand Products blimp, the coveted water-bowl cam and the TEMPTATIONS™ Skybox kittens will return alongside sportscasters Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks providing play-by-play commentary between Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

Puppy Bowl XX begins with the annual pre-game show at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT on Animal Planet, going behind-the-scenes on the Puppy Bowl draft with exclusive interviews with coaches and players. Puppy Bowl fans will also learn more about each player’s breed mix and other unique traits from the Wisdom Panel™ pet DNA test that could help determine who will have a furry leg-up on the field. The pre-game show will check in with the BISSELL® Pet Foundation to see how they are continuing to make an impact with their rescue mission efforts and will also provide a first-look at the Kitty Halftime Show presented by ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™.

Also returning are the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. “Pup Close and Personal” segments that share some of the all-star athletes’ backstories. Featured will be Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley’s rescue foundation which trains dogs, including hound Linus, to support people with special needs; and Beignet, a New Orleans dachshund, who gets a nose to tail makeover before the big game.

Puppy Bowl’s annual ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments sponsored by PEDIGREE ® features puppies – and a few kittens – from 14 shelters and rescues across the country that will be available for adoption during the game. Country singer and adoption advocate Miranda Lambert will introduce the first segment, as her non-profit, MuttNation, will feature a senior dog seeking their forever home.

Following Puppy Bowl XX, TBS’ new series hosted by comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, “Stupid Pet Tricks,” will premiere with a special multi-network sneak peek across TBS, Discovery, truTV and Animal Planet on Sunday, February 11 at 5PM ET/ 2PM PT.

In celebration of Puppy Bowl XX, Warner Bros. Discovery is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization, to help animals find their loving homes and will match donations to cover adoption fees for their pet lifesaving centers nationwide from February 7-14. Text PUPPY to 707070 or head to PuppyBowl.com/donate to double your impact or find a shelter near you.

Audiences can follow the conversation on social media with #PuppyBowl, and follow Animal Planet on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as Puppy Bowl on Facebook for more updates.

Keep checking PuppyBowl.com for more information on the participating pups, the full photo gallery, and to vote on which pup you want to win the Pupularity Playoffs. Enjoy the spirit of Puppy Bowl at home with the official Puppy Bowl XX Collection, a curated assortment of apparel and accessories for you and your dog, available at PuppyBowl.com/shop.

Official Puppy Bowl XX sponsors include ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™, BISSELL®, MAYTAG™, NEXGARD® Brand Products, the PEDIGREE® brand, RING, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, WISDOM PANEL™ and WAYFAIR®.

ANIMAL PLANET DRIVES IMPACT FOR PET ADOPTION WITH PARTNERSHIPS TO CELEBRATE 20 YEARS OF PUPPY BOWL

In celebration of the three-hour matchup featuring 131 puppies, 73 shelters and rescues across 36 states and territories, Animal Planet has paired with marketing and multiplatform partners to build opportunities for fans to experience Puppy Bowl. Best Friends Animal Society, Funny Face Bakery, National Football League Players Association, and Wag! join returning collaborators Bark Social, Grounds and Hounds, Pooch Perks, Southwest Airlines, and Valpak to support Puppy Bowl and raise awareness to find animals their forever homes.

“For the 20th anniversary of Puppy Bowl, we made this beloved pop culture event bigger and better than ever. In addition to working with a group of amazing brands and extending our reach, a big goal for our team was to drive more impact for pet adoption than ever before. Each one of our partnerships gives our fans fun ways to join the Puppy Bowl celebration but also drives awareness for shelters across the country,” said Karen Bronzo, Chief Marketing Officer, U.S. Networks Group, Warner Bros. Discovery.

This year’s Puppy Bowl partners include:

· Bark Social – Bark Social, the premier social club for dogs and dog lovers, will be hosting Puppy Bowl XX watch parties on Sunday, Feb. 11 from 1PM to 5PM ET at their Bethesda, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Alexandria locations. Bark Social’s venue hosts a professionally monitored off-leash yard and features a fully stocked bar/beer garden and cafe ready for happy hours, sports games, trivia, drag shows, and more. Cheer for Team Ruff or Team Fluff with your furry best friend while grabbing a drink, playing games, winning prizes, and enjoying delicious bites with lots of chances for social media-worthy moments. Attendees can even go home with their own new MVP from one of the on-site adoption experiences. For more details, please visit www.barksocial.com or @bark_social.

· Best Friends Animal Society – In celebration of Puppy Bowl XX, Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in Americas shelters by 2025, will be waiving adoption fees from February 7 – 14 at their pet lifesaving centers across the country. Additionally, over 150 of Best Friends shelter and rescue group partners will also be participating in the fee-waived week. To find a participating shelter or rescue near you, visit bestfriends.org/puppybowl.

· Funny Face Bakery – Funny Face Bakery has partnered with Puppy Bowl to offer the ultimate treat bundle for pets and their humans. Their meme-worthy decorated cookies will be offered alongside special dog treats to celebrate the big game. Visit Funny Face Bakery or follow them on Instagram and TikTok (@funnyfacebakery) for more information.

· Grounds and Hounds – Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. and Animal Planet have partnered together to create The Official Fuel of Puppy Bowl. For this limited release collaboration, the perfect blend was created to accompany a cozy winter morning with your best friend. Blending the highest-grade beans from Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, Grounds and Hounds developed the most aromatic and smooth Medium Roast blend to date. Each purchase of the exclusive Puppy Bowl Blend will include a complimentary official Puppy Bowl Game Day Bandana.

· Pooch Perks – Pooch Perks is the leading dog subscription box service dedicated to pampering furry family members. In collaboration with Puppy Bowl XX, a special selection of toys and treats have been curated to complement both Puppy Bowl and the month of LOVE in February. Each Pooch Perks Puppy Bowl Box comes with the official Puppy Bowl XX bandana, football & valentines themed toys and yummy treats and toys that both pets and owners will enjoy while watching Puppy Bowl.

· National Football League Players Association – The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) partnered with Animal Planet to connect dog lovers in the league with adoptable pups from Operation Paws for Homes for the ultimate puppy play date. Baltimore Ravens players Zay Flowers and Patrick Queen spent the afternoon with these pups as they tested their pet knowledge, discussed their experience with dog adoption, and participated in a few puppy piles. Follow @animalplanet and @nflpa on Instagram to see the fun moments.

· Southwest Airlines – Those flying on Southwest Airlines(R) during the month of February can enjoy Puppy Bowl content via the Inflight Entertainment Portal. Flyers can check out Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl On Demand TV series to watch past Puppy Bowl favorite games and moments, including Puppy Bowl XIX, and an exclusive video, “Journey to Puppy Bowl,” which follows three puppies as they flew on Southwest to the cutest game in sports. Want to bring your own four-legged friend with you onboard? Southwest allows small dogs and cats to travel in-cabin in an approved carrier.

· Valpak – From the mailbox to the gridiron, Valpak is all about tackling savings. Valpak is helping Puppy Bowl celebrate its 20th anniversary with a takeover of the iconic blue envelope, offering one fan the chance to score a $10,000 sweepstakes prize. Plus, inside select envelopes, there’s a chance to win $100 towards the adoption fee for a new best friend.

· Wag! – Wag! is partnering with Puppy Bowl XX to celebrate the love and joy of pets by offering $10 off pet care when you use code PUPPYBOWL. Plus, Wag! will be matching donations made through the Wag! app to Best Friends Animal Society, up to a total of $10,000, between now and the big game.

Multi-platform elements for Puppy Bowl XX can be found on PuppyBowl.com, including photo galleries, Meet the Players-style videos, and adoption page for animals in need of a home. The “Pupularity Playoffs” bracket returns for the fourth consecutive year as fans vote on the Most Pupular player in the starting lineup. Following a month of on-air placements and social promotion, the winner of the bracket will be revealed in the pre-game show on Animal Planet.

Puppy Bowl superfans can also show their team spirit using Puppy Bowl stickers/GIFs pack that are available on GIPHY and in-app on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more. These are designed to add game day flair to viewers’ social posts, texts, and emails. AR filters are also available on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok for fans to join the fun. The “Puppy Presser” allows users to share a spotlight moment with their pet, while “Puppy Bowl Gameday” creates an immersive experience, placing a viewer on the Puppy Bowl field for a touchdown and being chased by puppy players.

Viewers can also share their pets enjoying the game by posting photos on social media using #PuppyBowl for a chance to be featured on TV during the telecast.

Puppy Bowl XX is produced for Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company.

About Warner Bros. Discovery:

Warner Bros. Discovery is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of content and brands across television, film and streaming. Available in more than 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products including: Discovery Channel, Max, discovery+, CNN, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group, Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Bros. Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Games, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Discovery en Español, Hogar de HGTV and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.

Puppy Bowl XX Participants

‘Strays’ special screening at Universal City Walk: See photos of the adorable dog stars

August 18, 2023

On August 16, 2023, a special screening for Universal Pictures’ stray dogs comedy “Strays” (released in theaters on August 18, 2023) was held at Universal CityWalk in Universal City, California. Attendees included the dog stars of the movie: Sophie, a Border Terrier, who plays Reggie in the movie; Bennie, a Boston Terrier, who portrays Bug in the movie; Elsa, an Australian Shepherd, who protrays Maggie in the movie; and Dalin, a Great Dane who portrays Hunter in the movie. (Culture Mix’s review of “Strays” can be found here.) Here are photos from the event.

Review: ‘Strays’ (2023), starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher and Randall Park

August 17, 2023

by Carla Hay

Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell), Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher), Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) and Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx) in “Strays” (Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Universal Pictures)

“Strays” (2023)

Directed by Josh Greenbaum

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed U.S. city, the comedy film “Strays” features a cast of dogs and a predominantly white group of people (with some African Americans and Latinos) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Four stray dogs band together to get revenge on the sleazy and abusive man who abandoned one of the stray dogs.

Culture Audience: “Strays” will appeal mainly to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and anyone who doesn’t mind watching intentionally vulgar comedies about adorable animals that have some sweetness with the raunchiness.

Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) and Will Forte in “Strays” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

The purpose of “Strays” is to disrupt the image that people have of movies where cute animals talk. It’s the “Jackass” of talking animal movies: crude, comedic camaraderie. If you can’t tolerate a lot of jokes about bodily functions, then avoid this film.

Directed by Josh Greenbaum and written by Dan Perrault, “Strays” has been very clear in its marketing that this movie is not a “family-friendly film” that’s appropriate for people of all ages. This is most definitely a very adult-oriented film for adults who aren’t easily offended when watching movies filled with cursing, gross-out scenes involving body waste, and explicit talk about sex. The fact that domesticated dogs who talk like humans are supposed to be the source of all this raunch is the whole point of the movie.

In “Strays” (which takes place in an unnamed U.S. city but was filmed in and around Stone Mountain, Georgia), viewers are first introduced to the movie’s narrator. He’s an optimistic and eager-to-please Border Terrier (voiced by Will Ferrell), who has lived his entire life with a loser named Doug (played by Will Forte), who never gave this dog an official name. Instead, Doug calls the dog horrible names that usually have the word “shit” in the name. (In real life, this Border Terrier is a female named Sophie.)

In the beginning of the movie, bachelor Doug is unemployed and living in a messy house. Doug spends his days and nights getting stoned and masturbating. A phone conversation between Doug and his mother reveals that Doug can’t live near a school that has children, which is the movie’s way of saying that Doug is a registered sex offender. Because the Border Terrier doesn’t know any better, he thinks Doug is a great person.

Doug likes to do something that the Border Terrier thinks is a game called “Fetch and Fuck.” Doug throws a tennis ball far away, so the Border Terrier can run off and fetch the ball. Doug only does this because he hopes the dog will get lost and never find his way back home. When the dog inevitably does find his way back home, Doug says out loud in anger: “Fuck!”

One day, Doug drives the Border Terrier several miles away, into the inner part of a big city where the dog has never been to before. Doug throws the tennis ball, knowing that this dog will be too far away to walk back to the house. Doug then drives away. Doug’s heinous plan works, and the Border Terrier gets lost.

While out on the street at night, the Border Terrier meets a rebellious and tough-talking Boston Terrier named Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who sees how naïve this Border Terrier is and offers to teach him how to survive on the streets as a stray dog. (This Boston Terrier’s name is real life is Benny.) Bug calls this Border Terrier the name Reggie, since that’s the name that one of Doug’s girlfriends used to call this Border Terrier.

Bug tells Reggie that humans can’t be trusted and a dog’s life is better without having an owner because the dog has the freedom to do whatever the dog wants. Bug believes that humans “brainwash” dogs into thinking that dogs need humans. Bug also tells Reggie that stray dogs shouldn’t get too close to other dogs either, because all stray dogs should eventually learn to fend for themselves. Bug’s past is eventually revealed to explain why he detests humans. One of Bug’s quirks is that he is fixated on humping inanimate objects, including furniture (Sofia Vergara voices a character called Dolores the Coach) and lawn decorations.

Soon, Reggie is introduced to two of Bug’s closest dog acquaintances: Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher) is an Australian Shepherd who is intelligent and has a super-keen sense of smell. She is a stray because her previous owners preferred to have a puppy. (In real life, this Australian Shepherd’s name is Elsa.) Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) is a Great Dane who is insecure and often fearful. Hunter trained to be a police dog, but instead he was placed in a retirement home to be a therapy dog for the elderly residents, and he ran away. (In real life, this Great Dane’s name is Dalin.)

This motley canine quartet then goes on a series of misadventures. All other animals in the movie do not talk. The only living beings that talk in the movie are dogs and humans. An English bulldog named Chester (voiced by Jamie Demetriou) makes a brief but memorable appearance as a neurotic dog who imagines that there is an invisible, electrical fence surrounding his front yard. The four strays also encounter a German Shepherd named Rolf (voiced by Rob Riggle), a K-9 police dog who trained with Hunter at the same K-9 academy.

Two other noteworthy dog characters in the movie are a philosophical Labrador Retriever named Gus (voiced by Josh Gad) and a feisty Chihuahua named Shitstain (voiced by Harvey Guillén), who is almost as combative as Bug. And when there’s a movie about stray dogs roaming around a city, there are inevitable scenes of the dogs trying to evade capture from the animal control officers. “Strays” also has some scenes that take place in an animal shelter, where an animal control officer named Willy (played by Brett Gelman) has a job that’s similar to a jail guard/janitor.

Dennis Quaid makes a cameo portraying himself as a bird watcher. Why is Quaid in this movie? Quaid is the star of 2017’s “A Dog’s Purpose” and 2019’s “A Dog’s Journey,” two sentimental dramas about a “talking” dog (voiced by Gad) who gets reincarnated and whose thoughts are heard in voiceover narration. Quaid and Gad being cast in “Strays” is obviously the “Strays” filmmakers’ way of poking fun at family-oriented talking dog movies.

For a great deal of the story, Reggie is denial that Doug abandoned him and that Doug is not a good person. When the truth finally sinks in with Reggie, he decides that he’s going to get revenge on Doug, with the help of his new stray dog friends. If anyone watching “Strays” complains about how unrealistic this movie is, the question must be asked: “What part of ‘talking dog movie’ do you not understand?”

The comedy in “Strays” is far from award-worthy, but it does bring some laughs, and it doesn’t try to pretend to be lofty art. The biggest flaw in “Strays” is an over-reliance on jokes and gags about defecation. However, the best parts of the movie have to do with the friendship that develops between these four dogs. Hunter has a crush on Maggie, so there’s potential for more than a friendship between them.

The expressions on these dogs’ faces are enough to charm viewers who like dogs, although obviously much of what is in the movie involves visual effects using computer-generated imagery. The voice actors also play their roles capably, with Foxx and Ferrell being the obvious standouts. As long as viewers don’t have skewed or misunderstood expectations for “Strays,” it can be amusing entertainment with some genuine, laugh-out-loud moments. It’s not the type of comedy for everyone, but neither is “Jackass.”

Universal Pictures will release “Strays” in U.S. cinemas on August 18, 2023.

Review: ‘For the Animals,’ starring Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust

July 29, 2023

by Carla Hay

Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

“For the Animals”

Directed by Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and Sadhvi Anubhuti

Some language in Spanish with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in the Houston area, the documentary film “For the Animals” features a group of predominantly white people (with some Latin people and African Americans) who are involved in some way in giving animal care to stray domesticated animals, particularly dogs.

Culture Clash: Animal rescuers face an uphill battle against limited resources and limited shelter space for stray animals, as well as pet owners’ resistance to spaying and neutering animals to reduce overpopulation.

Culture Audience: “For the Animals” will appeal mainly to people who like dogs and are interested in behind-the-scenes stories of rescuing stray dogs.

Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

“For the Animals” is an educational and inspirational documentary about rescue efforts for stray dogs. The location is in Houston, but the lessons learned can apply to any area. The twin sisters who star in the movie are appealing and memorable advocates. Although the movie’s title implies that other animals will be prominently featured in this documentary, make no mistake: This documentary is all about rescuing dogs. And that’s okay, but the documentary’s title could have been more specific to the fact that this is a dog-oriented film.

Directed by Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and Sadhvi Anubhuti, “For the Animals” (which is Anubhuti’s feature-film directorial debut) chronicles the rescue work of identical twins Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust, the co-founders and co-presidents of the non-profit group Houston PetSet, which was founded in 2004. An unsourced caption shown in the beginning of the documentary says, “It’s estimated that over a million stray animals are roaming the streets of Houston.” There’s no way to verify that statistic, especially if you consider “stray animals” can be rodents, insects and birds, not just dogs and cats.

Whatever the real number is for stray animals in Houston, “For the Animals” shows that there’s an alarming number of stray dogs in the Houston area. Lundquist and Lundquist Faust are two of the people who are doing positive things about this overpopulation problem. Houston PetSet is one of the animal rescue groups that is aimed at giving a better life for these animals by providing the money and resources for food, medical care (including spay/neuter services), foster care and eventual adoption, if the animals are able to be placed safely in a home. Lundquist and Lundquist Faust personally go out on the streets of Houston to be part of these rescue efforts, as shown in several scenes in the movie.

The documentary mentions more than once what experienced animal rescuers and their advocates already know: It’s not enough to take stray animals off of the streets and find them good homes. There has to be enough low-cost or free spay and neuter resources available in the area, in order to reduce overpopulation of stray dogs and cats. Many of these stray animals have a parent that is not a stray, but the pet owners often can’t or won’t get these pets spayed and neutered. It’s mentioned that in certain cultures, it’s considered taboo or unnecessary to spay and neuter dogs and cats, with neutering especially disapproved of by people who think male animals should never be sterilized.

All of the animal rescuers interviewed in the documentary say that the stray animal overpopulation in Houston is getting worse. Government-run animal shelters are overwhelmed by not having enough space for stray animals, so these government-run shelters almost always use euthanasia on animals that don’t get adopted in a limited period of time, in order to make room for new animals who arrive at the shelters. It’s usually up to privately funded groups to have “no kill” animal shelters.

Who are these twin sisters who are a strikingly passionate duo of animal rescuers? “For the Animals” doesn’t go too deep into their backgrounds, but Lundquist and Lundquist Faust both say in separate interviews that they wanted to be animal rescuers because they developed a love of animals from a very early age. Lundquist is the grittier sister who’s more likely to be hands-on with dirty and sick stray dogs that they find on the streets. Lundquist Faust is the more glamorous sister who’s more likely to come up with business ideas.

Both sisters seem to be fairly affluent (based on what their homes look like in the documentary), and they’re capable of hosting million-dollar fundraisers with Houston’s high-society people, but the twins are not super-rich themselves. Susan Boggio, a philanthropist/animal rescuer/PetSet benefactor, is interviewed in the documentary. Not surprisingly, Boggio has nothing but good things to say about Houston PetSet.

Each sister has multiple dogs and tell the stories about rescuing at least one of their dogs. Lundquist talks about adopting her dog Sunny after finding him as a stray all by himself in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood, on a night of freezing rain. She was so upset by thinking about him being along in the cold rain, she went back the next day to find him and keep him for herself. Lundquist Faust shares her story about adopting her dog Benjamin, who was also a stray. Benjamin was severely injured with broken bones and gunshot wounds, but “I was the only person he trusted,” says Lundquist Faust.

Lundquist says in a documentary interview that the twins’ parents were strict Scandinavians who didn’t show affection easily, which is why she and her sister were drawn to getting affection from animals when the twins were children. They had to beg their parents to get a pet dog and were heartbroken when their parents made them give away a family dog that the parents thought was too difficult. Lundquist says that she has a particular interest in rescuing stray animals because they remind her of “my own pain as a child, feeling lonely, feeling isolated, feeling not good enough.”

Lundquist Faust echoes those feelings and says of the stray animals that she and her sister rescue: “We have to assume that they’re traumatized, and treat them as such.” Lundquist Faust says that her husband Tyson Faust (who appears briefly in the documentary) encouraged her to become a full-time animal rescuer, which led to the formation of Houston PetSet. Lundquist Faust says she was deeply affected and disturbed by going to Monterrey, Mexico, and seeing how stray dogs there are often killed by electrocution.

The beginning of “For the Animals” shows the twins going to a run-down, garbage-littered area of Houston nicknamed The Corridor, which is a “dumping ground” for living and dead dogs. The twins are shown interacting with a street feeder (someone who feeds stray animals) named Sonya Franklin, who is a dog owner herself. Street feeders (who are usually women) almost always do these activities with no financial compensation, and they use their own money to pay for all of the expenses involved in feeding stray animals.

Animal rescue groups such as Houston PetSet rely on street feeders to keep them informed about specific animals that are in most need of rescuing and to give alerts about emergency situations. “For the Animals” shows Lundquist Faust and Lundquist working with Franklin to rescue two starving male dogs in The Corridor: a black and white older Labrador retriever mix that they name Walter and a brown and white pit bull mix (with injuries indicating that he was used in dog fighting) that they name Ozzy. “For the Animals” shows what ends up happening to Walter and Ozzy.

Jane Anne Wesson is another Houston street feeder who is shown working with Houston PetSet. In the documentary, Wesson has nothing but praise for Houston PetSet but is very open about her criticism of Houston’s government-run BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions, which does euthanasia on animals. Wesson says she would never want a stray animal to go to BARC, because it would mean almost certain death for that animal. Wesson also comments that stray animals are better off on the streets where they’ll “at least have a fighting chance” to survive, rather than being sent to BARC.

BARC director Greg Damianoff is somewhat depicted as a villain in “For the Animals,” which strategically shows archival news interview footage of him whenever there’s mention of people who run animal shelters but who don’t really care about the animals. In the interviews, Damianoff comes across as defensive and cocky. In one archival news interview, he denies accusations that he doesn’t care about animals and says: “Am I going to make everyone happy? I don’t think so.”

However, there’s no mention in “For the Animals” if this documentary’s filmmakers made any efforts to contact Damianoff for an interview or comment for this documentary. Likewise, no one else who works at BARC is interviewed in the documentary, although Fort Bend County Animal Services director Rene Vasquez is interviewed to give the perspective of someone who runs an animal shelter that uses euthanasia as a last resort. The documentary has people giving criticism of BARC but no one representing BARC to get BARC’s side of the story. It’s one of the flaws in the documentary, which toward the end somewhat looks like a promotional video for Houston PetSet.

However, “For the Animals” does a very good job of pointing out that if a community has a major problem with an overpopulation of stray animals, it’s an indication of larger problems in the community. Lundquist says in a documentary interview: “I keep going back to [the belief that] if these animals are suffering in these places, the people are too. What can we do for all of them? How do we alleviate the suffering? It doesn’t seem right to me. It seems like we can help all of them.”

One of the best parts of “For the Animals” is in how it shows the power of animal rescue groups working together, instead of competing against each other. The documentary includes footage of the twins in meetings with Houston PetSet employees. In one of these meetings, it’s decided that Houston PetSet will form a strategic alliance with another Houston-based animal rescue group called Emancipet, which has stronger outreach to Spanish-speaking neighborhoods than Houston PetSet does.

Emancipet vice president Angelita Sampaio says in a documentary interview: “Houston is very international … People move from another location where it’s normal for animals to roam.” Sampaio believes that part of solving the stray overpopulation problem is in helping people rethink some of their harmful beliefs that they might have been raised with about animals and animal care. For example, some cultures believe that taking pet animals for a veterinary checkup is unnecessary, even if a pet owner can afford to do it.

This rethinking about giving better animal care includes spreading the word about how animals that are not being raised for breeding can benefit from being spayed and neutered by having better health and longer lives. However, one of the obstacles is that even when people are offered free spaying and free neutering for their pets, many pet owners still resist the idea for cultural reasons. Sampaio says that when it comes to getting pet owners to give better animal care, she doesn’t like to use the word “educating,” because it sounds condescending. She likes to use the term “information sharing.”

“For the Animals” shows how Houston PetSet and Emancipet joined forces to get the word out in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood about a free spay/neuter event hosted by Houston PetSet. Emancipet community outreach worker Stephanie Plata and community member Ernestina Zamarripa are shown being crucial allies in this outreach alliance. The event is said to be a success, although “For the Animals” doesn’t actually show this spay/neuter event, for reasons not explained in the documentary.

Part of running a successful animal rescue group is inevitable interaction with government officials. The twins are shown meeting with two of them: Greg Travis (a former member of the Houston City Council) and John Whitmire, a Texas state senator for District 15. At the time “For the Animals” was released, Whitmire was a candidate to be Houston’s mayor, with the outcome to be decided in a November 2023 general election.

Travis is one of the people in “For the Animals,” who speaks out against BARC, by sharing his own personal experience of adopting his dog Chloe from BARC. He says that he adopted her in part because BARC told him that Chloe was about to be euthanized for heartworm problems that BARC did not have the funds to treat. However, after adopting Chloe, Travis said medical tests proved that she did not have heartworm. Travis believes that BARC was using heartworm as a false reason to euthanize Chloe.

Travis also says in the documentary that Whitmire is one of the few Houston politicians who would actually work with rescue groups to do something about the stray overpopulation problem. Travis also makes it known that if Whitmire would be elected mayor of Houston, then Travis would want to be appointed the new director of BARC. Although Travis appears to be helpful in recommending Whitmire to Houston PetSet and seems to have good intentions, it appears that Travis has his own political agenda in doing so.

As for Whitmire, he claims to be a staunch supporter of animal rescue groups, but he gives a lot of canned politician talk in this documentary footage, such as saying, “You can’t fix the problem until you admit that you have one.” It would’ve been better if someone had asked him in the documentary what his specific plans were for improving animal care in Houston, instead of just letting Whitmire make vague statements. Other candidates in the 2023 Houston mayoral election are not interviewed in the documentary.

“For the Animals” isn’t a completely “feel good” documentary where everyone gets a happy ending. There are heartbreaking stories of animal abuse and neglect that result in death. The documentary also mentions the real-life dangers of feral and hungry stray dogs that can and have killed people. It’s probably why stray dogs, rather than stray cats, get more of the focus when there’s talk about stray domesticated animals being a public health problem.

The twins candidly talk about the emotional and physical toll that can happen from the stress of being an animal rescuer. They both say that this type of work takes a lot of time away from their loved ones. The twins worry about the damage that it does to their relationships and their physical well-being. That doesn’t mean that the twins are giving up anytime soon, but they know there will come a time in their lives when they have to slow down.

Lundquist’s adult son Cole Owen, who is briefly seen in the documentary, says that his mother’s life revolves around animal rescuing. Later, in the documentary, Lundquist breaks down and cries when she thinks about how she was preoccupied with a Houston PetSet fundraiser during a summer that she did not know would be the last summer she would spend with her father, who died in a car accident that December. She expresses regret that she didn’t spend more time with her father that summer.

Lundquist admits that when it comes to the problem of stray animal overpopulation, “I get so fucking mad at the people who don’t do anything, because if everybody could do a little bit, we could fix it.” Franklin makes a comment that is the biggest takeaway from the documentary and which sums up what motivates many animal rescuers/caregivers to get involved in saving helpless animals: “Everybody’s looking for someone else to do it, but we have to be the change we want to see.”

RouTTe One Productions released “For the Animals” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on July 28, 2023.

‘For the Animals’: see photos and trailer for Houston animal rescue documentary, starring Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist

July 6, 2023

Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

The following is a press release from RouTTe One Productions:

“For the Animals”

In select theaters and on VOD on July 28, 2023

With catastrophic numbers of stray dogs roaming the streets of Houston TX, twin activists and philanthropists Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist lead the charge and take matters into their own hands to save the animals they love. As more and more strays plague the city causing a public health crisis and attacking its residents, the sisters take to the streets for a hands-on approach.

There are too many citizens not caring for their pets and this problem has gone unchecked for decades, resulting in the worst animal crisis the city and county have seen. Through community outreach, direct work with local shelters and stray dog “feeders,” the sisters rescue strays right off the street, run weekly programs to provide free spay and neuter services to the community and work with politicians to take on the dark practices of Houston’s largest shelters that euthanize due to overcrowding. This was all exacerbated by COVID and the new policy of “managing the animal intake/limiting animal intake” in the shelters. As Tena and Tama seek to create a better life for the animals they love, they fight to prove that it takes just one person caring to make a difference.

Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist in “For the Animals” (Photo courtesy of RouTTe One Productions)

Although For The Animals is set in Houston, it reflects the same issues cities across the U.S. face where approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter shelters yearly, according to the ASPCA. The film highlights both the grassroots efforts and the multiple animal welfare organizations struggling with the complex nature of solving this overwhelming issue where lack of resources and local bureaucracy each play a role.

Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and Sadhvi Anubhuti co-directed and co-produced the film with the support of human and animal rights activist Alyssa Milano as an Executive Producer.

Review: ‘Hachiko’ (2023), starring Feng Xioagang and Joan Chen

May 3, 2023

by Carla Hay

Feng Xioagang and Joan Chen in “Hachiko” (Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“Hachiko” (2023)

Directed by Xu Ang

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in China, the dramatic film “Hachiko” (based on a true story) features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A college professor convinces his wife to let their family keep a stray Akita puppy that he found, and the puppy grows up to be a very loyal companion, even after tragedy strikes the family.

Culture Audience: “Hachiko” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching heartwarming stories (with some tearjerking moments) about family pets.

Pictured clockwise, from far left: Yang Bo, Feng Xioagang, Eponine Huang and Joan Chen in “Hachiko” (Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“Hachiko” is a worthy remake of the original film of the same name. This drama about a loyal family dog has some dull moments, but the movie has good performances. The tone is sentimental without overloading on schmaltz. Because the movie is based on a true story, many people might already know how this story is going to end. That doesn’t make watching the movie any less emotionally poignant.

Directed by Xu Ang, “Hachiko” makes some changes to the real story, as well as to previous movie versions of this true story. Xu co-wrote the “Hachiko” screenplay with Zhang Hansi, Li Liangwen and Li Lin. The movie is based on a true story of a male Akita dog named Hachikō, who lived in Japan, from November 1923 to March 1935. Hachikō showed unusual loyalty to his closest companion: a Tokyo-based college professor named Hidesaburō Ueno, who adopted Hachikō from a farm when Hachikō was a puppy.

This story has been made into several movies, beginning with the 1925 Japanese film “Hachikō.” The most famous and most commercially successful movie about this story is the 1987 drama “Hachikō Monogatari,” which was Japan’s biggest hit film of the year. An American movie version of the story, titled “Hachi: A Dog’s Story,” starring Richard Gere, was released in 2009.

The 2023 “Hachiko” movie is the Chinese version of the story. The movie takes place over a 15-year period. The dog is still an Akita, but the entire movie takes place in early 21st century China, not in the 1920s or 1930s.

The name of the dog in “Hachiko” is actually not Hachiko but is BaTong. That’s because in real life, Hachiko (which means “eighth prince” in Japanese) was the eighth puppy born in his litter. In the Chinese “Hachiko” movie, the dog is not adopted from a farm but is found as a stray puppy in a rural area. The professor who finds the dog and keeps him has no idea what the background information is for this puppy.

In the beginning of “Hachiko,” Chen Jingxiu (played by Feng Xioagang) is a mild-mannered professor who is living a comfortable but dull and stagnant life. The main disruption to his peace is when his cranky homemaker wife Li Jiazhen (played by Joan Chen) nags Jingxiu about the fact that he could be making more money if he had the talent and ambition to become a tenured professor. Jingxiu has been an associate professor for years without getting a job promotion.

Jingxiu and Jiazhen have two children—a son (played by Yang Bo) and a daughter (played by Eponine Huang)—who are teenagers at the beginning of the story and are in their 30s by the end of the story. Jiazhen spends a lot of time play mah jong with her female friends. And because Jiazhen gets irritated easily, she often says, “So annoying,” when she doesn’t like something.

The movie’s opening scene shows Jiazhen and her two children going back to visit the house that they lived in for years before moving away, for a reason explained later in the movie. The house is now abandoned and in a state of disrepair. This visit leads to Jiazhen to reminice about the years that she and her family lived there, beginning 15 years earlier. Most of the “Hachiko” is a flashback to those years.

During this flashback part of the movie, it shows early on how BaTong came into Jingxiu’s life. He and six or seven colleagues are riding on a private bus together, because they’re attending an event. The bus is going though a rural area in Yunyang County, China, when it gets stuck in the mud.

The passengers disembark from the bus to help the driver get the bus un-stuck. When all of a sudden, they see a 3-month-old Akita puppy underneath the bus. Jingxiu is immediately charmed by this frightened puppy. He picks up the dog and comforts the dog.

While the others are tending to the bus, Jingxiu walks around in the area to ask people in nearby houses if they know anything who might own this puppy. No one he asks knows anything about the dog, so Jingxiu decides to keep the dog, even though he knows that his wife Jiazhen doesn’t like dogs. He decides to name the puppy BaTong.

Jiazhen is predictably upset at the sight of the dog. She has a fear of dogs, ever since she was bitten by a dog when she was a child. Before she and Jingxiu got married, she made him promise that they would never have a dog in their household. Jingxiu tells her that he’s only going to keep this stray dog temporarily until he can find a permanent home for this adorable pup.

Jingxiu goes through the motions of putting up flyers around town to solicit adoption of the puppy. But he rejects people who answer the ads, for various reasons. Of course, we all know that Jingxiu doesn’t really want to give away this dog, and he ends up keeping it. Jingxiu becomes very attached to BaTong, by treating the dog as his best friend. Eventually, Jiazhen warms up to the dog and considers BaTong to be a member of the family too.

“Hachiko” shows that it isn’t all smooth sailing for Jingxiu and BaTong. When BaTong is a puppy and small enough to hide in a backpack, Jingxiu secretly brings the dog to work (he keeps the dog in his office), even though it’s against the campus policy for pet dogs to be the work offices.

BaTong’s presence on the campus isn’t a secret for long: One day, the escapes through an open office door while Jingxiu is teaching in a classroom. And you can easily predict the rest. Jingxiu doesn’t get in a lot of trouble for it, but BaTong is now officially banned from being in any building on the campus.

As BaTong grows up, he has a routine of accompanying Jingxiu to and from work, with BaTong patiently waiting outside in a campus area for his Jingxiu at the end of each day. BaTong has a routine of sitting on the same seat. A newsstand operator (played by Qian Bo) nearby gets to know BaTong and is friendly with the dog. The newsstand operator sometimes feeds treats to BaTong.

Jingxiu’s close bond with Batong comes at a price. It’s later revealed that Jingxiu’s son feels that Jingxiu treats the dog better than Jingxiu treats his own son. After the on graduates from college, there’s a subplot about the son contemplating taking a job as a web designed in Beijing. Jingxiu doesn’t seem very concerned about the son’s decision will be and tells him that the son can make his own decisions.

The son interprets it as Jingxiu not really caring at all, because what the son really wants are for Jingxiu to give him some advice or some indication that the son will be missed if he moves away from home. Surprisingly, the usually prickly Jiazhen is the more nurturing parent in this situation.

“Hachiko” then takes a tragic turn, which won’t be revealed in this review, because some people watching this movie won’t know what happened in real life. It’s enough to say that it’s a bittersweet part of this story about family love and loyalty. The cast members’ performances, as well as directing and screenplay, are perfectly competent but not outstanding. Overall, “Hachiko” is exactly what you might expect from a movie about a beloved family pet and how that family copes with loss and grief.

CMC Pictures released “Hachiko” in select U.S. cinemas on April 14, 2023. The movie was released in China on March 31, 2023.

2023 Puppy Bowl: See photos and videos

January 25, 2023

Effie in “Puppy Bowl XIX” (Photo by Elias Weiss Friedman)

The following is a press release from Animal Planet:

Puppy Bowl returns for its 19th year on Sunday, February 12, 2023, at 2:00PM ET / 11:00AM/PT, and for the first time will be simulcast across Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, TBS, HBO Max and discovery+ — a rare opportunity for new viewers to experience the original and longest running call-to-adoption TV event. This year’s program will feature Bleacher Report host Taylor Rooks, sports commentator Steve Levy, Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson (“Married to Real Estate”), Faruq Tauheed (“Battlebots”), Zak Bagans (“Ghost Adventures”), Alex Guarnaschelli (“Supermarket Stakeout”) along with talent from Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws” franchise, New Line Cinema’s upcoming film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” and some of the biggest sports personalities from Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.

With more puppies and more inspiring adoption stories than ever before, Puppy Bowl XIX will highlight the incredible work of rescue and shelter workers who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their forever homes. Puppy Bowl XIX will feature 122 puppies, 67 shelters and rescues across 34 states — and for the first-time will feature a Native American animal organization and a puppy player from Dominica, West Indies.

Puppy Bowl XIX will start with a pre-game show at 1:00PM ET/ 10:00AM PT to give audiences the inside scoop on the Puppy Bowl draft with exclusive interviews with coaches and players. Audiences will also learn more about each puppy player’s breed mix and other unique traits from Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test that could help determine which puppy player will have a furry leg-up on the field. The pre-game show will also provide a first-look at the ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™ Kitty Halftime Show.

The game kicks off when the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players take to the field and as the game progresses, it will be revealed which puppy player has what it takes to be named the BISSELL® MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) or to win the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award.

Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner returns for his 12th year of overseeing the stumbles & tumbles and calling all the puppy penalties and touchdowns while sportscasters Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks return to provide play-by-play commentary. Audiences will also see the return of Puppy Bowl’s ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments sponsored by PEDIGREE ®. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their puppies (and 3 shelters with kittens during KITTY HALF-TIME) that are all up for adoption during the game! Other fan-favorite elements return, including the Puppy Cheer Squad, the coveted water-bowl cam, the slo-mo cam, end zone pylon cameras to catch all the action, in addition to an all-new backstage look at the puppy players’ red-carpet arrivals ahead of the game.

Also returning are the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. “Pup Close and Personal” segments that share the back stories of the adorable star athletes. Viewers will meet Cooper, a Boston terrier/ boxer mix from Seattle Humane, who marks the Emerald City’s debut in Puppy Bowl with a visit to the Seattle Seahawks’ Training Camp where Defensive End Shelby Harris coaches Cooper on his signature moves, and Inya, a Chihuahua/ miniature Pinscher mix rescued by the Phoenix-based NAGI Foundation working to restore the sacredness of the Native American community by uniting people and animals. For more “Pup Close and Personal” stories featured in Puppy Bowl XIX, please click HERE.

During the game, audiences will also meet eleven special needs puppy players looking for their forever homes that will include Julius, a hearing-impaired Dalmatian, Marmalade, a sight and hearing-impaired Border Collie/ Australian Cattle Dog; Mykonos, a American Staffordshire Terrier/ Bulldog with a cleft palate, among others.

Official Puppy Bowl XIX sponsors include BISSELL®, WAYFAIR®, ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™, NEXGARD®, The PEDIGREE® brand, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, and WISDOM PANEL™ pet DNA test.

Viewers can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #PuppyBowl and following Animal Planet on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for the latest updates.

Keep checking PuppyBowl.com for more information on the participating pups and to learn how you join in on the fun.

Puppy Bowl XIX is produced for Animal Planet and discovery+ by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company.

About Animal Planet

Animal Planet, one of Discovery, Inc.’s great global brands, is dedicated to creating high quality content with global appeal delivering on its mission to keep the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way. Available to 360 million homes in more than 205 countries and territories, Animal Planet combines content that explores the undeniable bonds forged between animals and humans, optimized across all screens around the world. For more information, please visit www.animalplanet.com.

About Discovery

Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 224 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information, please visit www.discovery.com.

About TBS

TBS, a Warner Bros. Discovery brand, is a top-rated destination for television among young adults and known for escapist, good-time entertainment, featuring smart, imaginative characters with heart and comedic edge. From unscripted and scripted comedy series to game shows, and animated programming, TBS’ Originals slate is comprised of some of the most popular shows on cable — “AEW: Dynamite,” “American Dad!,” “Miracle Workers,” “Wipeout,” “Friday Night Vibes,” and “The Cube” along with upcoming series “Stupid Pet Tricks”. TBS’ lineup also includes comedy hits like “Young Sheldon” and “The Big Bang Theory,” classic sitcom favorites such as “Friends,” blockbuster movies, and live event coverage of Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and “ELEAGUE,” Warner Bros. Discovery’s eSports gaming competition. Website: www.tbs.com

About HBO Max

HBO Max™ is a streaming platform that offers best in class quality entertainment, delivering the greatest array of series, movies, and specials from the iconic brands of HBO, Warner Bros., and DC, as well as Max Originals and blockbuster films. The platform launched in the United States in May 2020 and introduced a lower priced, advertising-supported tier in June 2021. Currently available in 61 countries, HBO Max began its global rollout launching in markets across Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, followed by European launches in the Nordics, Iberia, the Netherlands and Central and Eastern Europe.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery. With the largest-ever content offering at launch, discovery+ features a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular passion verticals including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com, or find the discovery+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.

About WBD Sports

WBD Sports is a global leader in premium sports content across all platforms, engaging fans in more than 200 markets and in over 20 languages. The WBD Sports U.S. portfolio includes multi-platform partnerships with the National Basketball Association (“NBA”), Major League Baseball (“MLB”), National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”), National Hockey League (“NHL”) and United States Soccer Federation (“USSF”). WBD Sports Europe features Eurosport, the leading sport destination and the Home of the Olympic Games in Europe, as well as Global Cycling Network (GCN), Global Mountain Bike Network (GMBN) and Golf Digest. In 2022, Eurosport UK combined with BT Sport to create an extensive collection of live sports coverage for fans in the UK and Ireland.

WBD Sports’ owned-and-operated platforms include Bleacher Report – the #1 digital destination for young sports fans, reaching more than 175 million users each month – Eurosport.com, Europe’s #1 online sports news website, House of Highlights, HighlightHER and a full suite of digital and social brands. TNT Sports is WBD’s sports content brand in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Several regional sports networks, serving fans live sports in each of the respective U.S. markets, are also owned and/or operated by WBD Sports in the U.S.

2023 National Dog Show: See photos and videos

November 24, 2022

Pictured left to right: Annie Balotti, Purina Executive; Frank DePaulo, Kennel Club of Philadelphia Show Chairman; Vicki Seiler-Cushman, Best In Show Judge; 2022 National Dog Show Best In Show Winner French Bulldog named Winston; Perry Payson, Handler; Wayne Ferguson, Kennel Club of Philadelphia President; Corey Benedict, Purina Executive  at the 2022 National Dog Show (Photo by Bill McCay/NBC)

The following is a press release from NBC:

A bouncy, crowd-pleasing French Bulldog, Winston, was declared Best in Show at Philadelphia’s prestigious National Dog Show Presented by Purina, emerging victorious before a raucous Thanksgiving Day crowd and national TV audience on NBC. 

The #1-ranked all-breed canine in America, Winston spent his puppyhood being raised by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Morgan Fox, who is part of the ownership group. Winston now has 78 Best in Shows in his career, was the #1-ranked dog in the Non-Sporting Group last year and won Reserve Best in Show (second place) at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York this past June.  Perry Payson of Bixby, Okla., guided Winston to the big win as handler and is also the breeder and a member of the ownership group. Winston’s registered name is GCHP Fox Canyon’s I Won The War at Goldshield.

“He’s a showdog with personality and beauty and a perfect fit for the breed,” said Best in Show judge Vicki Seiler-Cushman of Xenia, Ohio. “He has a razzle dazzle that says ‘I’m here to win tonight.’ You can just tell that he can also go home and be the perfect pet.”

“I get excited every time and so does Winston,” Payson said about the Best in Show stage in which just seven dogs compete for the ultimate title. “The National Dog Show in Philadelphia with the television exposure on Thanksgiving Day is obviously special. We’ve had a lot of support and that’s what happens with a dog of this quality.” Payson had a crowd-pleasing response to the victory, lifting his charge into the air in celebration as the announcement was made. Winston and Payson choose Purina Pro Plan as their nutrition of choice.

Coverage of the show and Winston’s triumphant moments were broadcast to a holiday audience on NBC following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the holiday special, which has become a family viewing tradition since its inception in 2002. NBC will an encore presentation of the two-hour special on Saturday, Nov. 26 from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT (7 PM CT/MT).

Reserve Best in Show (second place) went to an English Toy Spaniel named Cooper and handler Christopher Keith of Dallas, TX. Winner of the Toy Group, Cooper’s registered name is GCCH Ringo Star OT Nevskoop Hobbita.

The following are the other 2022 National Dog Show Group Winners:

•    Sporting – an Irish Water Spaniel named “Sloane” of Hamden, CT
•    Working Group – an Alaskan Malamute named “Reus – the Italian Stallion.” originally from Palermo, Italy and now a resident of Wisconsin
•    Terrier Group – a American Staffordshire Terrier named “Trouble” of St. Augustine, Florida
•    Hound Group – a Treeing Walker Coonhound named “Nate” of Somerset, KY
•    Herding – a German Shepherd named “River” of Woodstock, GA

‘Free Puppies!’ documentary focuses on rescue dogs from the rural South in the U.S.

August 8, 2022

A rescue puppy arrives on transport and meets her new owner at the Vince Lombardi Service Station in New Jersey , as seen in “Free Puppies!” (Photo courtesy of First Run Features)

The following is a press release from First Run Features:

Millions of rescue dogs from the rural South have been transported to new homes thanks to the tireless efforts of a vast, grassroots network of dog rescuers. “Free Puppies!” is the true story of where those dogs come from and how a group of feisty and intrepid women rescuers are working together to save them.

Although transports have moved dogs from the South for decades, when Hurricane Katrina left more than 250,000 pets stranded, the infrastructure of modern pet transport for a nation-wide dog rescue effort was born. Since then, individual volunteers, transporters, shelters and rescue groups have created a movement to place millions of southern dogs in areas of the country with high demand for adoption but low supply.

By following a group of women dog rescuers from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, “Free Puppies!” reveals the challenges that contribute to the rescue dog crisis in the first place. These women not only save dogs from euthanasia, but also organize affordable and accessible spay and neuter, reform local ordinances, advocate for humane education, and fight urgent and complex challenges facing underserved areas of the rural South. The film includes interviews with the ASPCA, Atlanta Humane Society, McKamey Animal Center, My Kids Have Paws Veterinary Clinic, Dixie Day Spay, and dozens of rescue organizations, shelter directors, healthcare providers, and local officials.

“Free Puppies!,” a film by Samantha Wishman and Christina Thomas opens August 12, 2022, in live cinemas.

70 minutes | Color | English

Credits:

  • Samantha Wishman – Director, Producer, Editor
  • Christina Thomas – Director, Co-Producer, Editor
  • Muffie Meyer – Story Editor
  • Carter McCormick – Director of Photography Eliot Popko – Director of Photography
  • Joey McCormick and Willard Hamilton – Original Music
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