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For Quasi Modo, the humiliation continues

The freak show just got freakier.

However well-intended, this segment from Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live serves to intensify our growing disdain with the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest — for turning what was originally a sweet idea into a circus.

Here, Quasi Modo, who won the annual competition last weekend, visits Jimmy Kimmel Live to receive a “makeover” from fashion expert Carson Kressley (of “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” fame).

As if the humiliation of competing for the title wasn’t enough.

The selection of Quasi, whose deformity results from being born without some vertabrae, wasn’t quite as disturbing as the choice of last year’s winner — whose appearance resulted from being abused earlier in life — but it’s another sign that the contest, which is supposedly all about compassion, has become even more about ratings.

Just maybe, the contest has become the ugliest beast of all.

quasidressKressley gives the dog a “complete makeover” that includes a spa session, mani/pedi, accessories (made of fur no less) and a wig.

Quasi, a patient soul, seems to tolerate all the silly human behavior — and more than a few snide comments.

Kimmel, after the reveal, called Quasi’s new look “a cross between Honey Boo Boo and a hooker.”

I don’t think he realized just how fitting an analogy that was — maybe not so much for Quasi, but definitely for the contest, and for the news media that continues eat it up without bothering to sniff first.

(Photo: ABC)

But wait! There’s more

Sometimes, technology is little more than putting a bygone relic to new use.

Witness the Woof Washer 360 — basically a Hula Hoop with holes in it that attaches to your garden hose, allowing you to squirt your dog clean with the kind of coverage Anderson Cooper might envy.

It’s currently being direct-marketed to consumers with the kind of goofy ad direct-marketers are famous for.

“Rover loves to play, but he ends up filthy from the day,” we are told, as if we are second graders who wouldn’t otherwise realize that.

Simply connect the magic wand to a hose, add soap, slip it over your dog and the “sudsy solution” will “scrub” Rover clean — in less than one minute.

The secret, we’re told, is the “360 degree design…Amazing…like a soothing massage for your pet.”

Somehow, we are supposed to conclude that “Rover” will not be as frightened by a giant hoop producing dozens of streams of water as he is by a garden hose.

We are supposed to “Act now!” of course, because this item is “not available in stores.”

And what would any TV/Internet only offer be without the ubiquitous added incentive: “But wait, there’s more” — in this case a bonus “Woof Washer 360 Microfiber Quick Drying Mitt” to dry your dog even faster.

Woof Washer 360 comes in two sizes — small ($19.99) and large ($24.99).

One one level, it makes a weird kind of sense. Then again it looks like the kind of contraption that ends up stashed in the corner of the garage, gathering cobwebs.

But worry not; decades from now, when its unearthed anew, the grandkids can always use it as a Hula Hoop.

Woof in Advertising: Whose behind this heartwarming tear-jerker? Kleenex of course

Leave it to a tissue-making company to come up with a tear-jerking dog ad.

And while I’m surprised it has taken them this long, I’m very glad they did.

This Kleenex social marketing video features Chance, a dog who was left partially paralyzed after he was hit by a car. He was scheduled to be euthanized when a San Antonio rescue organization pulled him from the shelter and found him a home.

That home was with Mike, who isn’t “wheelchair-bound” by any means, but also uses one to get around.

“My husband was like we have to get him because nobody is going to love him like we’re going to love him,” his wife Stacey recalls.

wiaThe ad, part of Kleenex’s “Messages of Care” social media campaign, is a beauty. It’s sweet. It’s real. It’s neither overdone nor overwrought.

San Antonio Pets Alive reports on its blog that Chance was “more than ready to be in the spotlight.”

The video depicts how Chance and Mike don’t let too many things get in their way, and how they seem to bring out the best in each other.

“I knew his struggles as well as mine, and I knew we could overcome those obstacles together,” said Mike.

“The difference Chance makes in my life is the happiness and the courage to know that there isn’t anything that anybody can’t do.”

(This series looks at how dogs are used in advertising. You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts here.)

Young actress lends hand to old dog

A young actress helped save an old dog in New Mexico last week, and Grandpa, as he’s being called, is now resting comfortably at a dog hospice and animal sanctuary that provides elderly animals with acupuncture and other Western and alternative medication.

“His life force is not strong,” said the founder and director of Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary, in (you guessed it, didn’t you?) Santa Fe. “It’s hard to tell how long he’ll be with us.”

But, Ulla Pedersen told the New Mexican, “you’d be surprised how some make a complete turnaround after they’ve been with us only a few weeks.”

The dog — thought to be about 15 years old — had apparently been abandoned at Santa Fe’s Frank Ortiz Dog Park, where actress Rachel Brosnahan came across him last Friday while at the park with her boyfriend and two dogs.

Others at the park had already reported his condition to animal control, but Brosnahan  sat with Grandpa until help arrived.

“We thought he was injured because he couldn’t stand up,” said Brosnahan, who stars in the television series Manhattan, which is filmed in the area.

“I think he was in shock,” added Brosnahan, who also appeared in the Netflix series House of Cards. ” He was panting a lot and we brought him some water, but he only drank a little.”

Grandpa seemed to appreciate the company, she said, especially that of her own dogs, including Nicky, a pit-bull mix.

Jennifer Steketee, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter’s director of veterinary services, said staff gave the dehydrated dog IV fluids, and that — other than arthritis and other symptoms associated with his advanced age — he showed no other signs of illness.

The dog was not microchipped and had no tags or other identification.

Because of his age, the shelter contacted Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary.

Pedersen, who met the dog on Tuesday, said Grandpa would be a perfect fit for her sanctuary, which provides eldercare and hospice for dogs, horses and poultry.

Brosnahan, who offered to foster the dog, said she was happy to hear Grandpa would be living the rest of his life there — and that she plans to visit him soon.

“I am so happy he’s going to be cared for at such a wonderful place,” she said.

Trying to save his dog, man in wheelchair is killed by train in California

    A man in a wheelchair who witnesses say was trying to save his dog was struck by a train and killed Friday.

    Jim Boswell, an amputee who lived at a mobile home park in Wheatland, Calif., was said to be a quiet man in his 60’s, and a good friend to his dog, who was also killed.

    Boswell had left his prosthetic leg at home and taken his wheelchair to a store down the road, his dog at his side.

    “He had just come in,” said Rachel Sewell, an employee at Big Al’s Market. “We had literally just helped him less than five minutes before it happened.”

    After he left the store, around 7:45 p.m., she and others in the neighborhood heard the squeal of train brakes.

    While no one witnessed the accident, CBS 13 in Sacramento reported that they think the dog got away from Boswell who then tried to catch him before the train roared through.

    Neighbors say Boswell and a female relative who acted as his caretaker had been living in the mobile home park a few months.

The fastest dog on two (front) paws

There’s a new “fastest dog on two feet,” Guinness World Records reports.

While Jiff, a pomeranian who once appeared in a Katy Perry video, is listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records as the fastest dog to walk on two legs, a new two-legged runner has laid claimed to at least part of the title.

Konjo, a Papillon-Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix from California, wrested the title away from Jiff after scooting 5 meters on front paws in 2.39 seconds, breaking Jiff’s record of 7.76 seconds.

Jiff still holds the record for being the fastest while using only back paws.

Konjo started walking on her front feet when she was a puppy, explains her owner, Julia Pasternack.

“My theory as to why she started doing this is that her center of mass resides primarily in the front, allowing her better balance,” Pasternack said.

Growing up in a two-story home, Konjo probably became used to putting all her weight on her front feet when she went down stairs.

All the positive affirmation she received when walking on just her front paws while on level ground probably led her to continue to demonstrate the talent, Konjo’s veterinarian thinks.

Denali: A “little” film with a big message

Denali from FELT SOUL MEDIA on Vimeo.

Denali is a short film, but definitely not a “little” one.

Documenting the bond between a nomadic photographer and his dog, it is beautiful and sweeping, both in its photography and in what it says about the human soul, the dog soul, and that “team soul” that often forms when dog and person are thrown together.

Ben Moon and Denali came together in 1999, when he and his girlfriend adopted the dog from a shelter. After breaking up with the girlfriend, Moon and Denali hit the road, traveling around the Pacific Northwest as Moon photographed surfers, rock climbers and other adventurers.

In 2004, Moon was diagnosed with cancer. While in the hospital for surgery and, later, long chemotherapy sessions, nurses permitted Denali to be in the room — and you get the impression neither of them would have allowed it any other way.

Moon beat the cancer, and the pair hit the road again.

More than a few times, in the years that followed, Denali was featured in Moon’s published photography.

In 2014, Denali, at the age of 14, was diagnosed with cancer.

One month later, he was gone.

In Denali’s last weeks, Moon began compiling what would turn into the movie, Denali — his tribute to the dog he’d traveled with, over peaks and valleys both literal and figurative, for nearly 15 years.

A collaboration between Moon, director Ben Knight, and cinematographer Skip Armstrong, the film premiered at 5Point Film Festival, winning both Best of Festival and People’s Choice.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and I highly recommend viewing it on your full screen. And given it’s a work aimed at exploring emotions — not tugging at them — you may also watch it with a fully open heart.

It shows us how resilient humans can be, how resilient dogs can be, and how that resiliency — and the joy of life — can reach even greater heights when dog and human bond.

In his eulogy for Denali, Moon noted that, painful as losing him was, it was a time to celebrate.

“…However difficult the transition, it’s cause for reflection and a celebration of how much love and joy this incredible dog brought into my life.

“Thank you Denali for giving me the courage to hit the road with a camera, a van, and no plan back in 2001, for never taking your eye off me through a year of cancer treatments, surgeries and countless other challenges. Thank you for your uncanny ability to walk into a frame at precisely the right moment to elevate an image, for teaching me patience and the joy in the simple quiet moments as I watched you grow older, and most of all, giving selflessly the unconditional love that only a true friend can give. It’s impossible to put into words all that you were and will always be to me — I was always convinced you were more human than dog, and all of the countless lives you touched felt the same.

“Thank you for your unwavering belief in me, happy trails my friend!”

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