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The Neuticles story: How fake dog testicles made this Missouri man a millionaire

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Just in case you didn’t get enough of dog testicles yesterday, today we bring you the story of a man who built an empire atop them — specifically, silicone prosthetic implants than can make a neutered dog feel “whole again.”

Neuticles are nothing new.

Gregg Miller came up with idea well nearly two decades ago, persuaded a veterinarian to join him in the venture, and the rest is history.

For those interested in delving into that history, the book is entitled “Going…Going…Nuts.”

CNBC reported this week on how Miller’s idea — thought insane by most — became, after more than a few ups and downs, a viable business

In the mid-90’s, Miller’s bloodhound, Buck, ran away from home — apparently after the unneutered hound picked up the scent of a female dog in heat. He was found four days later a few miles away.

buckleashes1That’s when Miller said he realized he needed to neuter Buck, or “this is going to happen again.'”

Even before the surgery, Miller says he asked his veterinarian if anyone made implants for neutered dog. The vet told him that was “the craziest damn thing I’ve ever heard of.”

Miller said he wanted Buck to “maintain his God-given natural look.”

After the surgery, he said, Buck would would give him looks. “He was telling me, ‘They’re gone. What happened?'”

Miller eventually sold his veterinarian on the idea and they lined up 32 local investors who spent over $100,000 to develop Neuticles.

The veterinarian tested the first prototypes on 30 different pets without any problems, and the first commercially implanted Neuticles went into a dog in 1995.

Was that a proud day for his parents? Not exactly. “My parents, who were alive back then, thought I was absolutely crazy,” Miller says. “Everybody that I knew thought that was the sickest thing you could possible think of.”

Still, the product received lots of media attention, early on. It soon wore off, and Miller found himself strapped for cash.

Miller invested more, though, and began advertising in dog magazines.

“He did radio interviews around the country and offered free Neuticles to listeners. He built up a network of veterinarians, and business finally boomed,” CNBC reported.

Another problem came when customers started complaining their Neuticles-equipped dogs made a “clacking” sound when they walked.

Miller switched to making them from silicone instead of hard plastic, and that took care of that.

51P56DVC14L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Neuticles now come in 11 different sizes to fit a variety of pets, costing as much as $469 a pair, and Miller has expanded his product line to include eye implants for animals, stays for holding up cropped ears and allergy products for sensitive pet skin.

He’s a millionaire now, living outside Independence, Missouri, in what he likes to call “The House that Neuticles Built.” He likes to drive his new Mercedes down I-70 and look at one of the six billboards across the country advertising Neuticles.

Buck has since died, and Miller now has a bulldog named Humphrey, neutered and equipped with Neuticles.

He showed off his estate for the CNBC (see video here), and dished a little too, noting that his celebrity clients include the Kardashians, who — it should come as no surprise — bought a pair a few years ago for their dog Rocky. They chose the earlier hard plastic version that make noise.

New kids film “Show Dogs” draws fire from parents groups

In the somewhat bizarre world of dog shows, the one traditional practice that most strikes outsiders as weird comes at that point in judging when a judge cops a feel of a male dog’s testicles.

As part of what’s called conformation — or seeing how well a dog conforms to “standards” — the process is usually a quick check, aimed at making sure the dog is intact (not fixed) and that his testicles have properly descended.

But to dog show spectators, who traditionally include families and children, it’s hard to miss.

It is also hard to miss in the new film “Show Dogs,” a family-oriented movie that stars Ludacris as the voice of a talking police dog named Max who infiltrates a prestigious dog show to investigate a suspected animal smuggling ring.

One subplot of the movie involves Max becoming comfortable, as a dog show contestant, with strangers touching his genitals.

In the PG-rated film, Max must learn how to “get used to” the groping, and it’s that aspect that has some parenting groups fuming about the movie.

showdogsWhatever parents teach their children about “inappropriate touching” and sexually predatory behavior, they say, this movie seems to be sending an opposite message: Grin and bear it, accept it, it’s no big deal.

Valid a concern as that may be, it’s funny — to me at least — that the practice is so accepted and goes so unquestioned at dog shows, also aimed at being fun for the whole family, but is proving so irksome in a comedic family movie.

Does that piece of a dog show really have to be performed before an audience of adults and children? Couldn’t it be done backstage, or as part of a behind the scenes pre-show screening procedure?

You don’t hear those concerns voiced so much among the high society dog show crowd — just as you don’t hear too much discussion about why a similarly sized, fully descended pair of testicles is so important in the first place in such competitions.

It’s because the American Kennel Club and other dog show operators see the competitions as a way to select and crown dogs that are prime breeding stock — those healthy and perfect dog that comes closest, appearance wise, to standards. (Standards set, by the way, by the AKC and other groups.)

Standards? How about one that doesn’t require a dog to to through a public groping in front of thousands, or maybe one that doesn’t require him to go through it at all.

From the makers of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” the movie opened in theaters May 18. It tells the story of a human detective (Will Arnett) and his canine partner Max, a Rottweiler whose voice is provided by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. Together they go undercover at the world’s most exclusive dog show to solve a big case involving a stolen panda.

Since it opened, the movie has caught the attention of several parenting blogs, Entertainment Weekly reported.

“Max’s success is riding on whether or not he lets both his partner (for practice) and a stranger (the competition judge) touch his private parts. IN A KIDS MOVIE. WHAT??? Newsflash, folks: THIS IS CALLED GROOMING and it’s what sexual predators do to kids!” wrote Jenny Rapson in the blog “For Every Mom.”

In reality, those who show dogs do condition their dogs to get used to the groping to ensure they will behave properly during the judging practice.

“The movie ‘Show Dogs’ sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse,” said the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, previously known as Morality in Media. “It contains multiple scenes where a dog character must have its private parts inspected, in the course of which the dog is uncomfortable and wants to stop but is told to go to a ‘zen place.’ The dog is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the dog show after passing this barrier.

“Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children — telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort. Children’s movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say ‘no’ and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”

The filmmakers responded to the concerns with this statement:

“It has come to our attention that there have been online discussion and concern about a particular scene in Show Dogs, a family comedy that is rated PG. The dog show judging in this film is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world; and was performed by professional and highly respected dog show judges.

“Global Road Entertainment and the filmmakers are saddened and apologize to any parent who feels the scene sends a message other than a comedic moment in the film, with no hidden or ulterior meaning, but respect their right to react to any piece of content.”

Yesterday, though, the studio announced it would be removing two of the most controversial scenes from the movie, according to CNN.

Guess us kids will have to wait for the next Westminster Dog Show to see the grabbing of the gonads.

“Show Dogs” is clearly not an exercise in reality, what with its talking dogs and all, but it did pretty accurately nail this particular aspect of dog shows.

So why is it people are so quick to jump on, edit and whitewash a portrayal of a reality and fashion it more to their liking — all while not giving a second thought as to whether the reality deserves some scrutiny and reconsideration, too?

Miss Babe Ruth, the Greensboro Grasshoppers beloved bat dog, dies of cancer

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Miss Babe Ruth, the popular black Lab who served as the Greensboro Grasshoppers bat dog for nearly 10 years, died Friday night of cancer.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Donald Moore, Grasshoppers president and general manager. “She had an incredible life. She was all you could want from a dog and more. She loved people, loved kids. She was very loyal. That dog knew she was putting on a show, and she did it with such dignity. There will never be another Babe.”

The Moore family owned Babe, as they did her brother, Master Yogi Berra, who died last year, also of cancer, at age 9.

Miss Babe Ruth retired in 2015, taking a final lap around the bases even though she was having difficulty walking by then.

The two dogs were fixtures at Hoppers games. The dogs delivered buckets of baseballs to the umpire, retrieved Grasshopper bats and ran the bases when the game is over.

Babe was diagnosed with inoperable cancer but to the surprise of everyone, veterinarians included, lived another two years.

Babe came out of retirement late in the 2016 season and worked eight final games while her niece, current Hoppers batdog Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, recovered from an illness. The team estimates Babe delivered more than 3,500 baseballs and fetched more than 4,600 bats.

“She fought an incredible fight,” Moore said. “We didn’t think she would see opening day, but we had her for four more months. You try to prepare for this. But as hard as you try to prepare, no matter what you do, when it comes it devastates you.”

Babe’s health deteriorated rapidly in the last two days, the Greensboro News & Record reported.

“Up until (Thursday) night, she seemed to be OK,” Moore said. “She was taking her medicine, eating well, barking and talking junk like she always did. She was happy. But all of a sudden, it was like a switch flipped. She told us in her own way, ‘I can’t do it anymore.’ She stopped eating. She didn’t want to drink anything. It was clear she was ready to go.”

Memorial contributions can be made to either the Babe and Yogi Scholarship Endowment at N.C. State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, N.C. 27607 or to Greensboro Grasshoppers Charities, c/o the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, 330 S. Greene St., Suite 100, Greensboro, N.C. 27401.

The scholarship at N.C. State is earmarked for Guilford County residents who are veterinary students at the university.

Funds from the Grasshoppers Charities donations will go to establishing permanent memorials of Babe and Yogi at First National Bank Field.

(Photo by Jack Horan / Charlotte Observer)

Here’s the poop on the new royal dog


After this weekend’s royal wedding — which I was about as interested in as I am in, well, royal anything — there’s a new dog in the royal family: a once down and out Kentucky beagle named Guy.

I avoided coverage of the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry like the plague, instantly flipping away from any channel that mentioned it, but in my efforts to stay on top of dog news, I couldn’t miss this.

Much like the marriage of the American actress and the prince, Guy’s story is “a total fairytale,” said Alison Preiss of Pet Valu, the Ontario pet store where Guy was adopted by Markle in 2015.

“Here is this dog that was in a shelter, nobody wanted him, and through this wonderful adoption he’s now living in a palace, running around with the royal family.”

Guy was a stray who had been picked up in the woods and held in a Kentucky shelter. It was a kill shelter, and Guy’s days were numbered when shelter staff contacted Dolores Doherty, who runs an Ontario-based rescue called A Dog’s Dream. The organization focuses on saving beagles scheduled to be euthanized.

Guy was shipped to Toronto and ended up, the day after his arrival, being featured at an adoption event at a Pet Valu store.

Among those who showed up at the store that day was Markle, who adopted him. Markle at the time was living in Toronto while her TV series, Suits, was being filmed there.

Doherty had never heard of Markle, but the next thing she knew Guy started showing up in Instagram posts.

New of Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry, Doherty said, was “just beyond my wildest imagination. How is that for a rags to riches story from a good old Kentucky beagle?”

guyandbogartIn November, Prince Harry’s communication secretary confirmed that Guy had moved to the UK and was living with Markle, The Guardian reported. Her other dog, Bogart, is believed was too old to make the journey is staying with Markle’s close friends.

Guy was photographed over the weekend, riding in the back seat with the queen.

Doherty said about 1,600 dogs have been adopted through her organization.

“The dogs that have come up here have really impacted a lot of lives. So there’s a lot of happy endings, but his certainly is the most outstanding.”

(Photos: At top: Markle’s dogs Guy and Bogart, by Meghan Markle / Instagram; lower Guy, spotted riding in the backseat with Queen Elizabeth II / Twitter)

104-year-old man, after many rejections, finds a dog he can love

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At age 102, Milt Lessner had a little trouble locating a shelter or rescue that was willing to let him adopt a dog.

The retired psychiatrist has had dogs through most of this life and being without one — especially since the passing of his wife and their dogs several years ago — wasn’t acceptable.

So he began contacting rescue organizations and shelters, most of which, after learning his age, opted to decline his offer of a forever home — given his forever likely wasn’t all that long.

Finally, he found success through Lionel’s Legacy, a rescue in San Diego that specializes in older dogs. They arranged for him to foster a dog name Layla for as long as he’s able.

lessner2Layla is a senior herself, a mellow and affable little mutt and former stray, and as you might expect they have bonded. They’ve been together almost two years.

Milt is 104 now.

“In no time at all, we were quite friendly with each other,” Milt told the BBC. “She’s very conciliatory and very agreeable. “We’re trying to stay in good health, both of us. So far, we’ve succeeded and we’re still alive.”

As a psychiatrist, Milt used to bring dogs to his sessions to help relax his patients. He knows the health benefits — physical and emotional — they can provide.

“I enjoy the familiarity with them, and the pleasantness, and the bonding – especially the bonding. I can’t think of anything better,” he says.

Laura Oliver, founder of Lionel’s Legacy, says the pairing has benefited all involved.

“You can tell they’re both smitten,” she said.

(Photos: By Dona Tracy, via BBC)

He made his hallway a ball pit — for his dog

I don’t think you want this guy speaking at your next church function, but the video he made of his Siberian Husky playing amid 5,400 balls is worth a look.

Maybe not a listen — I’ll let you decide that for yourself — but definitely a look.

The man, who calls himself penguinz0 on YouTube, heard his local Toys “R” Us was going out of business, bought 5,400 ball pit balls and filled his hallway with them.

The balls had been marked down to $2 for a pack of 200 — or a penny a piece.

His video, posted Monday, is already nearing 1 million views.

And we’re guessing he’s pretty f—ing happy about that.

Clifford, that big red dog, coming back to TV


Clifford the Big Red Dog has found his way back to television.

Scholastic Entertainment announced yesterday that the new series, inspired by the books of Norman Bridwell, will run concurrently on Amazon Prime and PBS Kids, starting in the fall of 2019.

The rebooted show will have a strong emphasis on social-emotional skills such as empathy, along with a curriculum designed to boost early literacy and encourage imaginative play, Scholastic said.

“There is something enduring in Clifford’s gentle, loyal spirit that touches fans even after they become adults,” Iole Lucchese, the executive producer of the series, said in a statement. “We see it in tributes on social media and in fan art, and of course, in every parent who grew up with Clifford and now shares their love of him with their preschoolers.”

The Clifford books began being published in the 1960’s, relating the story of the loveable red dog who grew from a small pup to larger than a house.

The original version of the series debuted on PBS in 2000 and ran for three seasons, airing in 110 countries and picking up several Daytime Emmy nominations. John Ritter provided the voice of Clifford until his death in 2003. He was posthumously nominated for an Emmy in 2004.

A spinoff series, “Clifford’s Puppy Days,” starring Lara Jill Miller and Henry Winkler, ran from 2003 to 2006.

The new series will offer fresh and colorful new locations, as well as introduce all-new designs for main characters Clifford and Emily Elizabeth, according to Scholastic.

To accompany the series, Scholastic Entertainment will launch a global publishing, broadcast, merchandise and licensing program.

Scholastic published the first “Clifford The Big Red Dog” title in 1963. There are dozens of titles and more than 133 million Clifford books in print in 16 different languages.

Bridwell was a freelance artist who found little success with children’s book publishers until one suggested he make his own story to accompany one of the sketches.

(Image: Courtesy of Scholastic)