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Archive for January 9th, 2009

Support seems thin for dumping Westminster

PETA’s suggestion that the USA Network discontinue its broadcast of the Westminster Dog Show — on the grounds that the show reinforces unhealthy breed standards — doesn’t seem to be garnering a lot of pubic support, if a poll by the Los Angeles Times animal blog, “Unleashed,” is any indication.

PETA’s request came on the heels of the BBC’s announcement that it won’t be airing the prestigious Crufts dog show because of concerns that purebred breeders, in their quest to meet dog show appearance standards, are endangering the health of some breeds.

Unleashed puts this question to readers: “Do you agree with PETA that the USA Network should refrain from airing Westminster?

“Yes — breeding dogs for the show ring is unethical and shouldn’t be supported.

“No — dog breeders promote responsible pet ownership and dog shows are fun to watch.”

As of 7:30 last night, the “No” votes held a 4,682 to 356 lead.

To see the comments, and vote, click here.

(Image: Commemorative poster for the Feb. 9-10, 2009 Westminster Dog Show)

NOVADog magazine debuts

A new magazine, devoted to dogs and dog owners in Northern Virginia and metro DC, has hit the newstands.

NOVADog Magazine will be published quarterly, and subscriptions are $17 a year, but if you input coupon code “NOVAD2″ at checkout, you can bring it down to $16.

Regular features will include “Destinations” to take your pooch, “Eco Dog” for Earth Friendly dog products, “Expert Advice”, “The Source” which details must-have products and local news, “The Scene” featuring local dogs, “Hit the Trail” for great dog-friendly hikes, and “Wags to Riches” with heart-warming adoption tales and more.

The Winter 2009 issue has articles on why visiting Mount Vernon with your dog should be on your to-do list this winter, an insider’s hiking guide to Scott’s Run Nature Preserve and a winter calendar of upcoming doggie events.

Chitty Chitty Woof Woof

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the whimsical musical that opened at Baltimore’s Hippodrome this week, features eight dogs in the cast — all owned, in real life, by a former circus performer who turns abandoned dogs into show biz dogs.

Joanne Wilson is the trainer, handler and owner of Samantha (who stars as Edison in the play) and the other seven dogs with supporting roles.

The musical, which runs through Jan. 18, focuses on a whimsical family of inventors trying to harness the powers of a magical car. That has little to do with dogs, admits Ray Roderick, the director who adapted the Broadway show into the touring production, but he decided to include them as an homage to the 1968 movie, which was peppered with pooches.

“Everyone says never work with children or dogs,” Roderick told the Baltimore Sun. “Clearly, I disagree.”

In the show, the pack of dogs bursts onto the stage and sprints across it at full speed, controlled by a hot dog that Wilson is holding offstage.

Wilson, a longtime animal trainer, began rescuing dogs from the streets after leaving the circus, which led her and her sister to establishing Wonder Dogs, a program that rescues dogs from shelters and turns them into show dogs.

Any dog that can no longer perform remains with the Wilson sisters after retirement, their website says. 

The canine cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang includes Buddy, a rat terrier; Penny, a a Pomeranian, as well as Lucky, Bear, Cory, Percy and Sugar.

Wilson and her husband follow the show from town to town in their dog-filled van — including the eight dogs in the show, five more of Wilson’s other dogs and another that belongs to a cast member.

(Image from wilsondogs.com)