A much beloved Internet celebrity has died.
He was part of a cooking team — the less shy half, the English-speaking half, the more comfortable in front of the camera half, the poodle half.
Francis the dog was the host and narrator of “Cooking with Dog,” which also featured the human he lived with, an unnamed Japanese housewife who had never been on camera before a producer friend proposed they put together a cooking show for the Internet.
She was hesitant, as she was a private sort, and felt alone and insecure in front of the camera.
With Francis at her side, though, she was up to the task and the duo went on, over the next 10 years, to rise to Internet stardom — Chef, as she is called, doing all the cooking and making an occasional comment in Japanese, Francis providing the narration, in English, with a French accent.
“Cooking with Dog” began in 2007 after the producer, who also likes to keep his name private, returned to Japan from Los Angeles, where he had spent several years working in the entertainment industry.
He said he wanted to keep working in film and television, and promote Japanese culture — in a way English-speaking audiences could follow.
“There are many cooking programs on TV and I just wanted to make our show look different and unique. And also I don’t know any celebrities or famous people and I didn’t have a large budget,” he told The Japan Times last year.
Having Francis narrate the show gave it a quirky edge, and opened it up to English-speaking audiences.
“Cooking With Dog” has over 1.2 million subscribers, making it one of the most popular food channels on YouTube. Nearly a third of the viewers come from the United States.
Over the years, its title has raised some eyebrows and led to a little confusion. Some who have stumbled across it thought it might be about cooking for your dog, or about recipes that used dog meat as an ingredient.
Dogs are, after all, raised for their meat and consumed by a small minority of the population in several Asian countries.
But anyone who watched a video quickly became aware nothing nefarious was afoot — it was a just a pure and simple cooking show in which a soft-spoken chef calmly puts together elaborate and often ornate Japanese dishes as her dog looks on.
It’s a refreshing change from American cooking shows, where there has been a distinct shift toward manic hosts, who are generally overseeing some sort of cut-throat competition.
Gizmodo reports it is uncertain if “Cooking with Dogs” will continue without Francis.
If not, we still have the more than 300 episodes that have been produced. You can watch them at the Cooking with Dog, YouTube channel.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accent, animalss, cook, cooking, cooking with dog, cuisine, death, died, dies, dog, dogs, francis, french, host, internet, japan, japanese, narrator, pets, poodle, recipes, television, youtube
If you can’t handle the dog dying in a movie, you might want to avoid A Dog’s Purpose.
Because one does, repeatedly. Then again, he comes back, repeatedly.
Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose is the story of one canine soul who, when his time is up, passes into a new canine body, bonding with new owners and learning, along with them, what life is all about.
If you don’t look too closely at the premise (that dogs upon dying are reincarnated as other dogs), if you can handle watching more than one dog leave this earthly existence, and if you have the Kleenex handy, you might enjoy it.
It is told from the dog’s perspective, with Josh Gad providing the voice of Bailey, who goes through several bodies and owners before ending up — or so it seems — back with the child (all grown up now and looking a lot like Dennis Quaid) that he started out with.
Small world, huh?
(Speaking of coming back, the film features Peggy Lipton, who nearly 50 years ago, became my first true TV love as Julie on “The Mod Squad.” That program also featured Clarence Williams III as Linc, which isn’t relevant to this story, but I wanted to link to Linc. OK? Solid.)
Directed by Lasse Hallström, A Dog’s Purpose is scheduled for release in January of 2017.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: a dogs purpose, animals, book, books, bruce cameron, death, dennis quaid, dies, dog books, dog movies, dogs, josh gad, movie, movies, novel, peggy lipton, pets, reincarnation, w. bruce cameron
I promised myself long ago that, when Ace’s time came, I wouldn’t make too big a deal of the big dog’s death on these pages.
Unlike many dog websites, this one has always tried to avoid blatantly tugging on heartstrings — and to eschew all those mushy sounding and unnecessary words like “beloved” and “adorable” and “fur baby.”
We’ve always made it a point not to pander to your love for dogs with adjectives — just to cultivate it with truths.
For that reason, and others, we’re not going to be writing about Ace’s death a whole lot more.
Already, there have been more words written about him — between ohmidog! and Travels with Ace — than probably any other dog around. To keep going on and on about him (which in life I always viewed as “sharing”) would become something more like exploiting.
In other words, having made such a big deal out of his life, my plan was to refrain making a big deal out of his death.
But look what you went and did.
You’ve clogged my emailbox, you’ve kept my phone ringing, you’ve commented on my Facebook page and put up your own posts, often with your photos of Ace.
Since Ace’s death, I’ve heard from friends in Baltimore, Philadelphia and North Carolina, friends in — to name a few — Seattle, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey.
And those were just the ones who actually met him.
Hundreds more, from across the country and even overseas, who came to know Ace through our websites, left comments here and on Facebook — many of which made me cry all over again.
I guess that’s a good thing.
Thank you is what I’m trying to say, in a non-sniffly way, to those who touched Ace and were touched by him.
“Folks who don’t believe that dogs have souls have never met Ace,” a North Carolina friend wrote on her Facebook page. “I saw the effect he had on people everywhere he went. People were very drawn to Ace, it was amazing to watch. He was pure LOVE.”
“Ace was loved by so many all over the country … our hearts break for you,” wrote another, who put Ace and me up for days in Seattle during our year long “Travels with Ace” journey — and helped him overcome some stomach distress. (He arrived there with a bad case of diarrhea, probably the result of too much fast food.)A Baltimore buddy wrote, “Today is one of those days where something comes across your newsfeed that you dread seeing. Many moons ago Bim and I met a big guy of a dog named Ace at Canton Dog Park. Unlike some other big dogs, where Bim felt intimidated, he and Ace were very content to just “be” together … Ace was one of, if not THE, most amazing, chill, coolest, sweetest dogs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.” This from a woman who Ace once pulled out of her chair and dragged across a few feet of pavement after I asked her to hold Ace’s leash for a minute.
“You will be so very missed by so many! Thank you for teaching us how to love every minute of life! The original bar dog, park dog. I am so sorry HB (Honeybun) tried to eat you the first time she met you.”
Another friend, who spend some dog park and bar time with Ace here in Winston-Salem, wrote: “Lauren and I first met Ace five and a half years ago on an assignment for the Winston-Salem Journal, and when we arrived at our interview, we saw him, a giant black-and-tan dog, gliding through the trees. We joked that he probably weighed more than 5’2” me. (He did.)
“…I watched Ace break up dog-park scuffles with the kindness and wisdom of a compassionate cop, moving his massive body between the offending parties. I saw him snack on peanut shells at one of my favorite Winston dive bars. Once, Lauren and I shared some beers with him in a booth (still one of my all-time favorite photos). He was the most gentle dog I’ve ever met … I’ll be hugging Stringer extra-tight tonight, and I hope y’all do the same with your pets. Rest easy, Aceface. The world will miss you.”
A former neighbor here in Winston-Salem whose two dachshunds were close friends and dog-walking buddies, sent this email:
“I don’t know what to say. I was thinking of what to say and then of all the things I would not like to hear… I guess I just wanted you to know that while I cannot understand what you are feeling right now … I am constantly thinking of all the many, many great times I had with you and Ace. I don’t think I knew how many until I really thought about it.”
Then she brought up Ace’s most shameful day — when he (always exceedingly gentle with every creature from baby kittens to baby ducks) took off, along with the dachshunds, after a baby bunny in College Village.
“The memory that stands out to me is the one involving the very unfortunate bunny in CV. Watching Ace actually grieve over the fact that he accidentally stepped on one, while the doxies went nuts for blood. I am grateful for having Ace in my life …”
Some of those who got in touch had only known Ace for minutes.
This from a woman we bumped into five and a half years ago at a rest area in Montana, and spent maybe five minutes with:
“John, my heart breaks for you. I remember meeting you and Ace at that rest stop in Montana during your Travels with Ace road trip. He was sweet and gentle and willingly accepted my St. Bernard Charlie’s clumsy attempts for attention. As I lost Charlie just over a year ago, rest assured Charlie is now helping Ace settle in wherever special dogs go after their time with us.”
Dozens more who passed along their condolences were people who never met him at all — knowing him only through the Internet.
“My deepest condolences to John Woestendiek, whose eloquent journey with his beloved Ace has come to an end. Thank you for opening our eyes to BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care, the shelter Ace was adopted from) and for showing us what love looks like,” wrote Baltimore attorney and animal welfare activist Caroline Griffin.
It is greatly comforting to know he lives on.
Sure, I’m still doing all those things that people who have lost dogs do — steering clear of the dog food aisle at the grocery store, getting used to returning to an empty house, marveling at how less often I have to empty the vacuum bag, thinking about the next dog, in a while, and worrying how unfair it might be to put a dog in a position to be his follow-up act.
Like most readers of this website, I can’t imagine a dog-less life.
Like a lot of you, I probably have a more admiring view of dogs than I do of humans.
But your response to Ace’s passing — the eloquent words you shared with me at a time when it’s so hard to come up with the right thing to say — has moved me more than I can describe (without getting sappy).
Let’s just say humans can be pretty decent, too.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 23rd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace's death, animals, best friend, comments, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, facebook, friends, grieving, loss, mourning, ohmidog!, pets, photos, thanks, travels with ace, tributes
He was a well-traveled dog who loved the road more than anything, except maybe you and me.
He was a survivor of Baltimore’s less tender side who was picked up as a stray, placed in a city shelter, found a home with some writer guy and went on to become a therapy dog and minor celebrity.
He was the subject of a five-part newspaper series examining his roots, a book (unpublished and unfinished), the inspiration for this website, and my reason for being.
And now the hardest words I’ve ever written: Ace is dead.
Last week, he was frolicking in the woods. This week, he slowed down to a state near lethargy and showed little interest in eating, and in the past two days he began swelling up — mostly in the belly region.
Having recovered from his recent bladder surgery, he was the same dog he always was — until Monday night when he came inside showing no interest in his nightly treat.
The vet’s diagnosis was congestive heart failure and possible tumors — hemangiosarcoma.
Blood was not getting to his liver, and fluids were pooling up inside.
Based on Ace’s age (nearly 12, a good 90 in human years for a dog of his size), based on the poor outlook in either case, or the even worse outlook in the case of both, and based on his apparent discomfort, the vet recommended putting him down.
When I asked for some time to think about it, the vet said that wasn’t a good idea. When I asked to take Ace home and bring him back today, he said that wasn’t a good idea, either.
So we took an hour before the deed was to be done. We started walking. It started raining. It was taking all of his effort to keep up with me, and I (being a fellow member of the congestive heart failure club) walk pretty darn slow.
We stopped at a Domino’s and sat on the pavement under an overhang. I bought him a small cheese pizza — his favorite food. He took two bites, but only because I insisted.
We stopped in the rain on the way back. I briefly debated whether I was doing the right thing. I held his head in my hands, rested my head on his and looked into his eyes. I could still see the love in them, but not the joy.
Back at the vet, on the floor with his head in my lap, the vet administered a sedative. Ace was soon snoring. Once the lethal injection was administered, his heartbeat slowed within minutes and then, around 6 p.m. Thursday, stopped.
I’ll get his ashes in a week or so, and I’ll spread them in Black Walnut Bottoms, the trail in Bethania he loved.
Having written a lot about dogs and death, I thought I’d be better prepared for this. But I’m a wreck.
In answer to one of the questions asked a lot over the years, no — a resounding NO! — he will not be cloned. Having written a book on dog cloning, people ask that of me. Clearly, they never read the book.
In 2011, Ace and I set off on a trip duplicating the route John Steinbeck took in “Travels with Charley.”
It ended up lasting a year, and covering 27,000 miles. I think I speak for both of us when I say it was the time of our lives.
“Travels with Ace” didn’t interest any publishers, but it will hang around on the Internet — at least until my time comes.
I still need to finish the last chapter, but I can promise you this:
In the book, Ace won’t die.
(Photos: Top, Ace at Salvation Mountain in California; Ace at the Bandera County Courier in Texas; Ace and John (photo by Brendan Finnerty); Ace with a bust of John Steinbeck in Monterey, California)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace is dead, animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, barcs, dead, death, died, dies, dog, dogs, goodbye, heart failure, hemangiosarcoma, inspiration, lethal injection, muse, obit, obituary, ohmidog!, pets, put down, stray, therapy dog, travels with ace, tumors, veterinary
Due to an apparent miscommunication between volunteers, Rollin, described as a one-year-old Aussie mixed-breed, died Friday of heat related causes.
Rollin was one of two humane society dogs that began barking at the adoption event and were taken from the store to the transport van.
A volunteer put the dogs in cages and left the van running with the air conditioning on, calling a transport volunteer to pick them up.
The transport volunteer arrived at the PetSmart and drove the vehicle back to the humane society, apparently under the belief she was transporting only one dog.
That dog had gotten out its kennel inside the van during the ride and rode in the front of the vehicle.
Once at the shelter, another volunteer removed that dog and the driver returned the vehicle to PetSmart, not realizing Rollin was still inside.
Rollin was found dead around 5 p.m. when volunteers began returning other dogs at the event to the van.
Society officials, much to their credit, made the incident public Monday.
Bruce Fishalow, executive director of the society, told the Ocala Star-Banner it was the first incident of its type in the organization’s history.
“As an organization that works so hard to preserve life, this is devastating to us,” he told the newspaper.
Fishalow said the society is adopting new transportation guidelines, called Rollin’s Rules, to prevent a similar tragedy.
The changes include creating a transport log sheet so that volunteer drivers know how many dogs are inside when they transport.
The transport vans have eight kennels, and the new rules will require volunteers to check each one whenever dogs are dropped off at a location.
Rollin was buried on the humane society’s property.
“We take our responsibility to our cats and dogs very seriously,” said Fishalow, who was attending an animal abuse meeting when the incident took place, “and are so very sad that this happened.”
(Photo: Humane Society of Marion County)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animals, dead, dies, dog, dogs, florida, heat, humane society of marion county, left, miscommunication, pets, shelter, shelters, transport, van, vehicle, volunteers
Anderson Cooper’s dog, Molly, died Tuesday.
Cooper Instagrammed a photo of his Welsh Springer Spaniel, along with the remarks, “An old picture of my sweet dog Molly, who passed away today.”
He did not offer any details as to what caused the 11-year-old dog’s death.
Molly appeared in a 60 Minutes special on dogs’ emotional intelligence called “Does Your Dog Really Love You?”
Her first TV appearance, though, came in 2011 on Cooper’s former talk show. She came onto the set and buried her nose in Anderson’s pants.
Paris Hilton announced the death of Tinkerbell, 14, yesterday.
“My heart is broken,” Hilton wrote in an Instagram post. “I am so sad & devastated. After 14 amazing years together my baby Tinkerbell has passed away of old age.”
“I feel like I’ve lost a member of my family,” she added.
“She was such a special & incredible soul. We went through so much together. I can’t believe she’s gone,” Hilton wrote. “I will miss her & think about her for the rest of my life. I love you Tinky, you are a Legend & will never be forgotten.”
PEOPLE magazine described Tinkerbell as Hilton’s “most constant companion.”
Hilton, inspired after seeing the Chihuahua in the movie “Legally Blonde,” purchased Tinkerbell — her first dog — from an online breeding company in 2002, TMZ reported.
Often nestled safely inside the celebrity’s handbag, she led a spoiled life, but one with its share of drama.
In 2004, Tinkerbell went missing after burglars hit Hilton’s home. The heiress offered a $5,000 reward, and six days later Tinkerbell mysteriously reappeared. Hilton never offered any details of how she got the dog back.
That same year, Tinkerbell was also the subject of a satirical book, “Tinkerbell Hilton Diaries: My Life Tailing Paris Hilton.”
In Tinkerbell’s later years, she would have plenty of company. Hilton now owns nearly two dozen other dogs, TMZ reported.
Hilton attributed the dog’s death to old age. PEOPLE magazine estimated Tinkerbell to be 98 in human years; TMZ reported — more accurately — that Tinkerbell was about 72 in human years.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, celebrity, chihuahua, dead, dies, dog, dogs, handbag, heiress, hilton, legally blonde, paris, paris hilton, pets, purse, tinkerbell, tinkerbell is dead