American Kennel Club announces first set of 2017 AKC Paw of Courage winners

March 6, 2017

AKC Paw of Courage 2017 winners
(Photos courtesy of American Kennel Club)

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the world’s largest purebred dog registry, has announced the first set of 2017 AKC Paw of Courage awards to recognize the working canines that put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. This award specifically recognizes those who are serving or have served their departments honorably.

Any working dog is eligible to receive the AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. To nominate a dog for the next set of Paw of Courage awards, click here. Recipients of the award, or their human partner, will receive a 2017 AKC Paw of Courage medal along with a certificate. In addition, the recipients will receive a photo and profile on akc.org.

The first set of 2017 AKC Paw of Courage recipients are:

K9 Mattis of the Alpharetta Police Department, Georgia

K9 Mattis, a 3-year-old German Shepherd Dog, serves with the Alpharetta Police Department. In October of 2016, while his handler, Officer Mark Tappan, and K9 Mattis were in a foot pursuit, the suspect leapt off a 30-foot retaining wall, and Mattis followed without hesitation, leading to his surrender. Mattis was checked for obvious injuries and was quickly on his way to respond to the next call with Officer Tappan. They were able to track down and apprehend the second suspect shortly before Mattis collapsed from internal injuries from the earlier fall. He was rushed to the emergency vet where he was treated for a lacerated liver and a contusion of his right lung.

Mattis has since made a full recovery and returned to active duty. In his short time with the department, Mattis has contributed to over 100 arrests and has assisted in removing countless amounts of narcotics from the streets. Additionally, he has performed several demonstrations for church groups, schools and various other community groups, often surrounded by the children of the community. Officer Tappan describes K9 Mattis as a very special blend of tenacious working dog and friendly family pet. Mattis’ lack of hesitation jumping off the wall demonstrates his dedication and loyalty to his work. The sacrifice Mattis made that day to protect his community is truly appreciated by Officer Tappan, the Alpharetta Police Department and the community he serves.

K9 Jardo of the Boise Police Department, Idaho

K9 Jardo was a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois of the Boise Police Department in Idaho when he was shot in the line of duty while confronting an armed suspect. Jardo was rushed to WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Center with at least one gunshot wound to the chest. He underwent surgery and two dogs, both pets of staff members at WestVet, donated blood to Jardo, giving him a life-saving transfusion. The surgery and transfusion were successful and Jardo was expected to make a full recovery. However, about a week later, he succumbed to his injuries.

K9 Jardo was trained to track and apprehend dangerous criminals, find evidence relating to crimes and locate street drugs. He successfully apprehended a dangerous gang member in his very first week on patrol. When he was not on duty, Jardo enjoyed playing with his dog friends and swimming in the canal by his house. K9 Jardo made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty to protect his community. He will be missed dearly by his handler, Officer Shane Williams, as well as the entire Boise Police Department and each person he has touched throughout his life.

K9 Peydro of the Woodland Police Department, California

K9 Peydro is a 3-year-old German Shepherd Dog, handled by Officer Juan Barrera. He served the Woodland Police Department honorably for a little over a year. In May of 2016, Peydro was struck by a vehicle while he and Officer Barrera were in pursuit of a wanted man. K9 Peydro was immediately transported to a veterinary hospital and after a successful surgery and blood transfusion, he made a full recovery, but was medically retired in October of 2016. The suspect involved in the incident later turned himself in to the Woodland Police Department. Peydro was a dual purpose police K9 trained in narcotics, apprehension, and article searching. He weighs about 80 lbs, but Officer Barrera and his family are convinced that he thinks he’s a lap dog. When he’s not on duty, he loves to cuddle up on the couch and balance toys on his nose. Peydro’s sacrifice in the line of duty was an indication of his courage and commitment to his community. He is now enjoying his retired life with his family.

K9 Bruno of Anaheim Police Department, California

K9 Bruno, a 7-year-old German Shepherd Dog, served with the Anaheim Police Department for six years at the time of his injury. He was given an AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) by the American Kennel Club in 2014 after being shot while assisting the SWAT team with a search. The bullet went through Bruno’s lower jaw and lodged in his chest, only about an inch from his heart. After the incident, Bruno retired from his K9 duties and lived at home with his partner, Officer R.J. Young. About two years later, K9 Bruno succumbed to complications from his initial injury.

Bruno was one of two dogs who trained to become part of the SWAT team. He graduated first in his class from the K9 academy and also won first place overall in narcotics during his first ever K9 competition. Bruno was credited with finding millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics and narcotic-related money. He was always full of energy and was well known around the department for disrupting briefings by chewing on his red toy. K9 Bruno was a cherished officer, partner and family companion and will be missed dearly by Officer Young and the Anaheim Police Department, as well as every one of the many lives he has touched.

Here are more photos of the winners:

Honda partners with spcaLA to help people adopt dogs

March 2, 2017

Carlos PenaVega in Honda's 2017 CR-V SUV campaign
Carlos PenaVega in Honda’s 2017 CR-V SUV campaign that promotes the car and dog adoption. (Photo courtesy of Honda)

Honda has teamed up with spcaLA in a campaign to help people adopt dogs. The campaign (which runs from March 2  to March 31, 2017) is also aimed at boosting awareness for the 2017 Honda CR-V SUV. According to a Honda press release, the  promotion will be primarily on Honda’s Latino-oriented social channels, such as @HondaLatino Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The campaign incorporates the brand’s belief in “The Power of Dreams,” which has been a key theme throughout the CR-V’s marketing launch. Actor/singer Carlos PenaVega (formerly of the group Big Time Rush) stars in a series of three videos for the campaign. The dogs featured in the videos are pets from the spcaLA that are up for adoption.

Honda’s “CR-V Pet Adoption Drive” follows the CR-V’s “Best Friends” Spanish-language TV spot, which debuted on Fox Deportes during football’s big game in February, marking a first for Honda. The spot focuses on the notion that sometimes a dream means helping others realize theirs. It tells the emotional story of a young boy and his mom adopting a puppy together. Over time the boy and his dog develop a fun and loving relationship and the whole family comes together to train the dog. One day, they receive a call they’ve been expecting. In the final moments of the spot, it is revealed that the months-long training activities have been done so that they could gift the dog to another family as a service dog to help a child with special needs.

‘Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation’ features Cesar Millan and son on road trip to help dogs

February 9, 2017

Cesar Millan's Dog Nation
(Photo courtesy of Nat Geo Wild)

Celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan is back for a new TV series called “Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation.” The show premieres in the U.S. on Nat Geo Wild on March 3, 2017, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Here are more details from a Nat Geo Wild press release:

The series will present new challenges for Cesar as he does more than just help dog owners with their pets’ behavioral problems. We uncover inspirational K-9 stories and connect with those that are working to make our world a better place for us and our pets, such as organizations helping veterans and their service dogs, community-run animal rescue groups training K-9 police dogs and therapy dogs that help children with autism. From canine heroes to issues affecting local dog communities, no pup is off limits as the Millans hit the road to help dogs across the country.

During production of “Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation,” the father-and-son duo traveled to seven different cities across the country to find the most unbelievable and inspirational canine stories America has to offer. They met with local hero dogs from Philadelphia, Chicago, the District of Columbia, St. Louis, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Cesar is also sharing the life-changing lessons he learned from the dogs he has worked with, in an exciting new book. For the first time, the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author shares personal insights from decades of experience and eight very special dogs in his life, in “Lessons From the Pack: Stories of the Dogs Who Changed My Life” (National Geographic Books; on sale now everywhere books are sold; ISBN 978-1-4262-1613-8; 240 pages; $24.95).

Premiere Episodes Include:

City of Angels
Premieres March 3 at 9/8c
World-renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan and his protege son, Andre, crisscross the United States to work with nonprofit organizations and dog lovers that are helping save millions of canines around the country. Their first stop is in Los Angeles, where they help an amazing golden retriever named Fergus who survived a horrific burning. Fergus’ owners hope that he can someday become a therapy dog for other burn survivors, but they need Cesar to help with the dog’s behavior while on his leash. Then Cesar and Andre pay a visit to The Help Group, a nonprofit that uses dogs to help kids with autism and other special needs. The dogs seem to help with verbal and mental skills, and even motor skills, helping some kids through an obstacle course. Andre has an emotional moment as he reveals a personal connection.

Borderline K9s
Premieres March 10 at 9/8c
Cesar and Andre Millan journey down the West Coast to visit with heroes of the canine communities of San Diego. After Cesar’s live demonstration downtown, where hundreds of fans have brought their dogs to get real-time take-home tips, Cesar takes Andre to Tijuana, Mexico, to visit with Dog Rescue Without Borders, an organization that works to help lessen the city’s massive stray dog population. The Millans go on a ride along and help rescue from the streets a stray that is in very poor condition, suffering from mange and a variety of other diseases. While in Tijuana, they pay a visit to Mrs. Franco, a woman who runs an animal sanctuary there.

A Whole New Ball Game
Premieres March 17 at 9/8c
World-renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan and his protege son, Andre, travel to San Francisco, California, to help locals with their problem dogs and meet some of Dog Nation’s heroes. The first stop is Cesar’s live event at the Pet Express Dog Adoption Fair, where hundreds of fans have brought their dogs to get real-time take-home tips from the experts. Then, the Millans meet Pali, the founder and president of Rocket Dog Rescue, who canvasses local San Francisco shelters trying to find homes for dogs on the euthanasia list. Pali grew up homeless herself, so she identifies with these dogs that society has forgotten. They travel to an Oakland shelter to see Cassie, a pit bull that has behavior issues that make her a tough dog to home. Finally, Andre visits San Quentin State Prison to learn about a program that matches minimum security inmates with shelter dogs. Both parties benefit here — the shelter dogs have a home, and the inmates gain comfort and connection they otherwise would lack.

Meet Me in St. Louis
Premieres March 24 at 9/8c
World-renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan and his protege son, Andre, road trip to St. Louis, Missouri — the Gateway to the West — to help as many members of our dog nation as they can. In this episode, Cesar and Andre work with an organization called Serendipity German Shepherd Dog Rescue. The duo hopes to help the organization with a dog named Bruce Wayne that was recently rescued from a puppy mill and shows signs of anxiety and fear around people. Missouri is considered the capital of the puppy mills of the United States, so Bruce Wayne’s story is sadly a common one in the area. The Millans take this opportunity to meet with some local heroes who have been fighting puppy mill abuse in the state. Finally, Cesar and Andre work with a local shepherd mix named Roxie whose owner abruptly passed away. Both Roxie and her new owner, Arian, are still living with their grief, causing extreme separation anxiety for Roxie.

Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation is produced for Nat Geo Wild by Leepson Bounds Entertainment. Executive producers are Cesar Millan, Bob Aniello, Richard Hall and David Leepson. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer and senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.

2017 Puppy Bowl: see all the cute photos and videos

February 6, 2017

Rory, the poodle mix that was voted Puppy Bowl XIII MVP.
Rory, the poodle mix that was voted Puppy Bowl XIII MVP. (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XIII was the first Puppy Bowl to air simultaneously on both coasts when it premiered on February 5, 2017 (Super Bowl Sunday) with three hours of puppies playing a mock football game. The inaugural Petco Lombarky trophy was awarded in Puppy Bowl XIII at Geico Stadium, a miniature set built for the TV show.

According to an Animal Planet press release, Puppy Bowl XIII kicked off at Geico Stadium with a special appearance by weather forecaster Mr. Punxsutawney Phil. The famous groundhog and two of his inner circle officiated the coin toss to start the game. This year’s Pedigree Starting Lineup boasted 39 puppies who also competed for the individual Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by Petco. This year’s Bissell MVP was Team Fluff’s Rory, a 17-week-old male poodle mix from Little Dog Rescue in Florida.

For the sixth year in a row, America’s favorite “ Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, returned to call the puppy  penalties, furry fumbles and terrier touchdowns.Award-winning animal advocate and television  correspondent Jill Rappaport introduced the Subaru Pup Close and Personal segments that highlight  some of the  heartwarming stories of the adorable athletes.

For Puppy Bowl XIII, Animal Planet worked with 34 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from across 22 states to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with 78 adoptable players for this puppy pile-up. This year, the Bowl also featured three pups with special needs: Doobert (deaf), Lucky (three-legged) and Winston (hearing-and-sight impaired). One special player is drafted to play in Puppy Bowl XIII by celebrity dog Chunk  Handler. Plus, viewers got to see the canines conduct their pre-game rituals when the cameras were allowed in the locker room.

While the puppies broke for a cat nap, the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Kitty Half-Time Show got underway with a performance by the feline musical group Chicago Rock Cats with Kitty Gaga singing “Puparazzi ” to her little monsters of adoptable rescue kittens.

The puppy teams added rescue mascots to their cheering section. Team Ruff gained the watchful eye of Orlando the Screech Owl, and Team Fluff recruited Muffin the Chinchilla who adds  another layer of fluff. Getting the fans excited on the sidelines are rescue rabb its and guinea pig  cheerleaders who hop into action. “Meep the Bird” got a ma keover and returned as a rescue African Gray Parrot. Meep talked sports with Geico The Gecko and live tweeted updates throughout the big game.

Plus, Puppy Bowl fans got a glimpse of celebrity dogs Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Chloe Kardoggian, Ella Bean, Marnie the Dog, Manny the Frenchie, Mervin the Chihuahua,  Sometimes Carl and Toast Meets World with her siblings Muppets Revenge and Underpants the Dog who watched the biggest game of the year from  the stands. As always, fans witnessed Puppy Bow’s water bowl cam, slow-motion playback cam and fan-favorite Dairy Queen kiss cam. Viewers won’t miss a minute of excitement with aerial shots of the field  from the Sheba Sky Box, and Surge the Hamster was back on his wheel powering the Puppy Bowl score board.

Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality, sponsored by Pedigree, gave viewers a pup’s eye view of the action on the Geico grid iron through the eyes of Buttons, one of this year’s Puppy Bowl XIII players. Not letting her diminutive size hold her back when tackling opponents in a scrimmage spanning two  video halves, Buttons played her way through the piles of puppies, chew toys and assistant coaches to score a winning touchdown.

On game day, puppy supporters were invited to vote in the Most Valuable Puppy poll . Viewer votes determined which heavenly hound gets barking rights and the title of Bissell MVP, which will be revealed at the  end of the broadcast. Before and during the action, keep an eye out for guest takeovers on Animal Planet  Instagram and  Snapchat. This year’s roster includes players from AHeinz57 (Iowa), Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (Tennessee), Citizens for Animal Protection (Texas), Last Hope K 9 (Massachusetts), Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Florida),  Mr. Bones & Company (New York), Nevada SPCA, Paw Works (California), Stray Rescue (Missouri),  among others.

The ASPCA in New York provided adoptable kittens for the Kitty Half-Time Show; the cheerleading rescue rabbits and guinea pigs are from Luv-N- Bunns (Philadelphia) and Helping All Little Things (New Jersey). The chinchilla mascots were provided by Chin Friends Chinchilla Rescue (New York) and the owl flew in from Volunteers for  Wildlife (Long Island). The African parrot was provided by Phoenix Landing rescue (Washington, DC).

(All photos courtesy of Animal Planet)

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.

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.

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.