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Shelter dogs get makeovers in new show

Take “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” replace the straight guys with dogs, throw in some firm tugs on the old heartstrings, and you have a basic understanding of the Animal Planet’s soon to premier program, “Underdog to Wonderdog.”

Every episode will feature the “Wonder Team” — made up of a groomer, carpenter, trainer and, of course, good lookin’ and energetic host  — transforming an “unkempt, undernourished, unloved” shelter dog into a well coiffed, housed and trained family dog.

Having not seen it yet, we give it a D for originality, a C for the inadvertent slap in the face to shelter workers, and a B for meaning well.

The show promises to send each dog through “a complete metamorphoses, becoming the dog it was always destined to be. Every shelter dog is rescued, groomed, trained and rehabilitated before finally being placed into a loving home – equipped with its very own custom-designed dog house.”

The show starts Saturday, January 3, at 8 p.m.

“Celebrity makeovers, home makeovers and now finally doggie makeovers,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media. “These surprising makeovers truly change the lives of the dogs and their new families.”

The series begins with the rescue of a Yorkshire terrier, named Lucky. After being hit by a car, Lucky  needed a surgery that her previous owners could not afford. The show follows her from a shelter in Brooklyn through her transformation and finally to her new life with the Maryanski family and their 11-year-old daughter Olivia.

“(The show) really pulls on your heartstrings and gives you a different perspective on what’s important in life,” says host Ryan Smith. “It is truly amazing to see the dogs go from living in shelters to being part of amazing families in only a few short weeks.”

Smith is joined on “Underdog to Wonderdog” by professional dog trainer and author Andrea Arden, who has also appeared on Animal Planet’s “Dogs 101;” groomer Ali McLennan and the show’s “big-hearted canine carpenter,” David Leon, who builds doggie dream homes.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 16, 2008 at 9:18 am

I probably won’t watch it, but there is a point in there somewhere: Dogs may not look their cosmetic best when they’re in shelter care. That’s not the fault of shelter workers, who are doing their best. I guess anything that brings adoption into the public eye is a good thing.