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Tag: calendar

Making the best of a sticky situation


I’ve got to admit, when I saw the story about how a photographer is turning his photos of dogs eating peanut butter into a book … and calendar … and more, I got a little jelly.

Jelly as in jealous, that is, and not so much of the photographer’s skills — but of his entrepreneurial abilitities.

You see, I barely have enough of those to spread on a Saltine.

I can take a decent picture, write a decent story, but when it comes to creating anything you might call cash flow, well, it gets sticky.

Cleveland photographer Greg Murray, on the other hand, is managing to turn a simple idea — a very simple idea — into a potential empire.


A couple of years ago, trying to make a mastiff in his studio have an expression that looked less sad, Murray fed the dog some peanut butter.

“I wanted to make her happy, you know. I wanted to get her to drool and hang her tongue out and nothing was really working,” he told TODAY.com.

Now he’s turning that concept — dogs eating peanut butter — into a book and calendar, expected to go on sale sometime between this summer and October.

First, to cover his costs, he launched a Kickstarter campaign, setting a goal of $3,750. As of today, it has raked in $14,348.

That’s a lot of Jif.


Pledge $40 and you’ll get a copy of the calendar when it comes out. Pledge $75 or more and you’ll get a softcover copy of the book. Pledge $390 or more and he’ll put a photo of your dog eating peanut butter in the book (assuming you bring the dog to Cleveland) and give you a hardcover copy.

Pledge $2,500 and he’ll come to your house and take photos of your dog, and you’ll get the book, and he’ll sign it for you. (I’d don’t think he’ll wash your windows, or scoop up poop, but you could ask.)

It’s really quite an ingenious set up. Publicity about the book — and there has been a lot — boosts his contributions, will add to his book sales, and will likely benefit his photo business.

On his Kickstarter page, Murray does point out that peanut butter can be bad for dogs (if it is a brand that contains Xylitol, which, he points out, Jif does not).

Some of the photos I’ve seen are quite charming, others strike me as little more than dogs with dirty faces.

To me, they don’t quite have the appeal of those Underwater Dogs.


Nevertheless, the news media — always in search of stories allowing them to use the word “adorable” — gobbles it up. His venture has been reported on in, among others, the Huffington Post, BarkPost, Mashable, Fox News, the Daily Mail and the aforementioned Today.com.

On his Kickstarter page, there is a prediction the book will end up on the New York Times Bestseller List — but, keep in mind, that prediction comes from a dog he gave peanut butter to.

So yes, I am experiencing a little envy. Not so much of his idea. More of how he deftly he is turning it into a profitable reality.

But I’ve decided to squash that negative emotion and devote my energies to a project of my own:

Dogs eating jelly.

(Photos from “For the Love of Peanut Butter,” by Greg Murray)

May your Thanksgiving be golden


By way of wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, we present this photo — and offer our thanks to the photographer, and his dog, Bailey, who posed not once but six times.

Bailey played all six roles for the re-creation of this family scene.

The photos were taken by her owner, John Nebbia, of Omaha, Nebraska. Photoshop probably deserves some credit too.

The image appears to show a holiday gathering of six different dogs, but they are all Bailey, who was decked out in six different wardrobes.

“We just moved her from chair to chair and gave her a break in between shots,” Nebbia told the Huffington Post. “When she was in the position, we were snapping a few pictures every second.”

It took about 40 minutes to shoot and about an hour to edit, he said.

Nebbia posted the photo on Bailey’s Facebook page.

Bailey is also the star of a 2016 calendar featuring some of Bailey’s best poses. It can be ordered at GoldenBailey.com.

Nebbia also put together a video showing what was involved in making the Thanksgiving photo:

Caitlyn stars in some happier photos


Around the end of May, sad images of a pit bull mix who was found with her muzzle tightly wrapped in electrical tape were going viral.

The 15-month-old dog had been found wandering the streets of Charleston, S.C., with her muzzle bound so tightly in tape that the blood flow had been cut off and her tongue was trapped between her teeth.


Her owner was charged with ill-treatment of animals, and Caitlyn, as her case received international news coverage — all featuring that horrible photo of her taped-up snout — underwent a series of surgeries.

Only a month later, Caitlyn is recovering, in a foster home — and showing a much happier face in a series of calendar photos.

Caitlyn was asked by the Charleston Firefighters to star in their 2016 calendar.

The calendar — featuring firefighters, often without their shirts, is put together by the Charleston Animal Society, which has been taking care of Caitlyn since she was found.

The money raised by the calendar will go to Toby’s Fund, which provides medical care for animals in need, according to a report on TheDodo.com.

Caitlyn now has her own Facebook page called Caitlyn’s Comeback.

(Photos: Charleston Animal Society)

Mister September and Henry Higgins


That’s my dad, featured for the month of September, in the 2014 Caring Canines Calendar.

Produced by the AMDA Foundation, the calendar features 12 outstanding therapy pets from across the country, pictured with those with whom they work and for whom they provide companionship.

The therapy pictured dog with my 89-year-old dad is Henry Higgins, who works where my father now resides, at Mission Palms Health and Rehabilitation in Mesa, Arizona.

I wrote last year about the bond they’ve developed there.

The 2014 Caring Canines Calendar  (you can click the link to order) is the fifth one put out by the foundation, a nonprofit arm of the American Medical Directors Association. Proceeds from the calendar support foundation programs.

Each month features a pet (mostly dogs, but one bird makes an appearance) who is providing therapy or companionship at a long-term care facility.

As the calendar notes, “The presence of animals is becoming increasingly popular in long term care residential facilities, and for good reason — studies have documented that pets help reduce depression, loneliness, and anxiety; improve mental function; and lower blood pressure and heart rate.”

The calendar contains photographs and stories selected from the submissions contributed by residents and staff members of long term care facilities.

Henry belongs to Christina Higgins, a physical therapist at Mission Palms.

I first wrote a piece for ohmidog! after meeting them during a visit last year.

That old post is one of many that got gobbled up or lost in space when we recently changed servers for this website. (Data migration is as dangerous as it sounds, and can lead to broken links, also painful.)

But here’s a piece of it I found:

As my soon-to-be 89-year-old father continues on a long uphill road to recovery, there’s a dog helping him get there.

Somehow, that makes me – being, until last week, on the other side of the country – feel more comfortable. More important, I’m guessing it makes him — being a hard core dog lover — feel more that way, too, as well as more motivated, and more at home in a strange place.

My dad became ill last year, entering a hospital with stomach problems and suffering a heart attack while there that would lead to an induced coma of several weeks. Once he came out of it, he had to relearn things like eating and walking, and — having a lot more fight in him than most people — he made great progress during his stay in a skilled nursing facility in Mesa called Mission Palms.

He was fortunate enough to be assigned to a therapist named Christina, and her dog, Henry Higgins. Henry, now about a year and half, has been working at Mission Palms since he was three months old, and the first thing I noticed about him was how he made everyone’s face light up upon seeing him, both patients and staff, and definitely my father’s.

For starters, they played some fetch, which required my father hoisting himself out of his wheelchair and throwing a tennis ball. My father did the work, but I think the anticipation on Henry’s face — as he sat there looking at him, patiently waiting — provided the encouragement. After that, a putting green was hauled out and my father tried to sink some putts, as Henry looked on.

Henry is a pointer-setter mix, with long brown hair from his tail to the top of his head, but short hair on his muzzle. Christina, who chose him from a friend’s litter, said “he was the biggest, ugliest one, just a big huge fur ball.”

Out of all the pups, she said, he seemed the most sociable and interested in humans.

I know surgeons and doctors probably deserve most of the thanks, and are the main reason my father is still around. But as for right now, amid all other uncertainties … I’m probably most grateful that he’s in the capable hands of a caring therapist and an encouraging dog. Thanks, Henry.

My adventures as a pinup photographer


Darned if it isn’t February already — time for procrastinators like myself to get a 2010 calendar.

Allow me to suggest one that doesn’t feature my work — Pinups for Pitbulls.uptopar

When Pinups for Pitbulls issued a call for submissions for its annual calendar last year, I answered — vaguely entertaining the notion that I, too, could have a career in photographing beautiful women, or at least have my photo make the calendar.

First, I recruited friend Carey Hughes and her pit bull Bimini to serve as my models. The challenge: to loosely recreate, with a pit bull, the vintage pin-up poster to the left, called “Up to Par.”

Carey enlisted her sister Kelly to serve as fashion advisor and hair and make-up person. Kelly was also to be the skirt-blower-upper, using a battery operated leaf blower I bought from Home Depot for the occassion to poof up her sister’s skirt and ensure our photos showed the requisite amount of leg.

On the day of the shoot, Kelly had another commitment, and Carey’s mom, Jeanne, ended up replacing her as the skirt-blower-upper — and doing a fine job, I might add.

We all met at Carroll Park Golf Course in Baltimore, where officials let us take over an unused hole. Not surprisingly, we drew a few a gawkers.

pinup4Both Carey and Bimini proved remarkably patient — though he wasn’t too thrilled with the golf cap he was initially sporting.

I sent the best of my shots into Pinups for Pitbulls, where we’d end up in the pile of those that didn’t make the cut. You can look at some of the other contenders not chosen here.

To see the winners, you can buy the calendar.

The calendar, in its fourth year, highlights stories and images of 12 pit bull-owning women and their dogs.  Sales from the 2009 calendar raised almost $20,000 for pit bull rescues across the nation, double the amount raised in 2008.

Pinups for Pitbulls, a non-profit organization, works to educate the public about pit bulls, remove the stigma associated with the breed and save the lives of abused and abandoned pit bulls throughout the United States.

The video below highlights the organization in more detail.

Meanwhile, if you need a slightly used battery-powered leaf blower, contact me.

Orioles calendar dog Cuji found safe

The Maryland SPCA confirms that Cuji, a pit bull mix featured in the organization’s 2010 Oriole’s calendar, has turned up, unharmed, at BARCS.

Cuji, featured in the Orioles Calendar with Koji Euhara, went missing last week. Her owner, Brian Willis feared the dog had been stolen from his yard.

Willis, who adopted the dog in June, was notified that Cuji had been recovered, and identifed through his microchip.

The dog was to be picked up by its owners from Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter tonight.

Where’s Cuji? Orioles calendar dog is missing


One of the dogs featured in the Maryland SPCA’s 2010 Orioles Calendar has gone missing, apparently taken from her owner’s yard.

Cuji, a two and a half year-old pit bull mix, was taken from her yard in Belair-Edison, her owners told “Unleashed,” the Baltimore Sun’s pets blog.

Cuji (for a better picture, turn to October in your calendar) posed with the Orioles’ Koji Uehara.

Brian Willis, an engineer who adopted the dog in June, said the dog disappeared from his home on the 3300 block of Brendan Avenue in the Belair-Edison neighborhood. His collar was left behind.

Dogs Finding Dogs, a nonprofit organization that uses retired police dogs to search for missing pets, had joined in the search. Willis has also called a number of area shelters and placed missing dog notices online. Cuji, about 70 pounds, is microchipped.