This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads was disappointing — and not just because there weren’t enough commercials with dogs in them.
I counted two ads in which dogs played a significant role, compared to nearly a dozen featuring celebrities, among them Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Helen Mirren, Amy Schumer, Anthony Hopkins, Seth Rogen, Christopher Walken, Kevin Hart, Willem Dafoe, Liam Neeson, Ryan Reynolds and Drake.
And throw in a dizzying amount of special effects.
Yes, there was that stampede of dachshunds, all in hot dog costumes, making a mad dash for the Heinz family of condiments:
And there were those dogs scheming on how to get their paws on some of the Doritos displayed in the grocery store.
Neither of those knocked me out, and they pale in comparison with some of the far more funny, far more human, dog ads of previous Super Bowls.
Several other ads featured dogs in small supporting roles — in an ad with singing sheep, and in one where a town seems to occupied nearly entirely by clones of Ryan Reynolds (as if we’re not already seeing enough of the real one of him).
Then, too, a dog was part — and I do mean part — of my least favorite dog-related Super Bowl ad.
Mountain Dew, in an ad for its new beverage, Kick Start, unveiled a puppy-monkey-baby that looked like it would be more at home in a bad acid trip. I can only assume its creators had a little too much Kick Start during their creative process.
I didn’t keep a tally, but I’m pretty sure monstrous or otherwise fictional creatures far outnumbered dogs in this year’s ads — just as special effects far outnumbered moments of humanity, and flash far outdistanced substance.
I won’t show you the worst of them — that pink blob of bulging intestines wandering the stadium in search of a free bathroom. Nor will I mention the name the prescription drug it advertised. I’ll just remind you that Super Bowl ads cost $5 million per spot — and that’s just for the time.
Throw in the production costs involved with having a celebrity or animated intestinal blob tout your product and you’ll begin to understand why you probably won’t be paying bargain prices for anti-diarrhea meds or your next Hyundai.
All in all, Super Bowl ads this year left me unimpressed, feeling a little cold, and feeling a little old. They often left me creeped out — and I include the “Super Bowl babies” in that group. (Is the NFL so hard up for something to brag about that it must boast that the big game makes people copulate?)
This year’s ads left me longing for some of those ads of previous years — when dogs were dogs, and men were men, and internal organs stayed inside us.
Not being a big fan of talking dogs, dogs in costume, or dogs being part of some monstrous hyperactive multi-species hybrid, I didn’t really have a favorite dog ad among them.
Instead, I’d have to give this year’s top honors to the Subaru ads featured during the Puppy Bowl.
(You can find more of our Woof in Advertising posts here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertising, alec baldwin, amy schumer, animals, Anthony Hopkins, baby, celebrities, Christopher Walken, commercials, dogs, dogs in advertising, doritos, Drake, heinz, Helen Mirren, humanity, hyundai, intestines, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Hart, kia, kick start, Liam Neeson, marketing, monkey, mountain dew, pets, puppy, puppy bowl, puppy monkey baby, puppymonkeybaby, Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen, special effects, subaru, super bowl, super bowl 50, super bowl ads, Willem Dafoe, woof in advertising
Unable to find any food, Marco Lavoie, 44, killed his dog with a rock and ate him, according to the Canadian news agency QMI.
According to news reports, the first words the hiker uttered, after being found close to death by rescuers last week, were: “I want to get a new dog.”
Lavoie — after a bear destroyed his canoe and food supply — was stranded for three months in the wilderness about 500 miles outside Montreal. After the bear attack, he sprained his ankle and was unable to hunt or find any other source of food, according to reports.
Lavoie, an experienced hiker who often spent weeks in the wilderness by himself, was rescued by helicopter on Wednesday. He’d lost 90 pounds and was suffering from hypothermia. He was listed in critical condition in a hospital in Northern Quebec.
Survival expert Andre Francois Bourbeau told the Toronto Sun that Lavoie’s decision to eat his dog was a good one.
“He survived because he made good decisions. Eating his dog was one of them,” said Borbeau, the author of a survival guide. “You have to be desperate, but there’s no shame in (eating the dog),” said Bourbeau. “Hunger squeezes you so much that you would accept food that’s not normally possible,” said Bourbeau. “You can crave slugs and bugs.”
I’m sure there are many others who hold that view, and who’d point out that man — by virtue of that “dominion” he has over other animals, by virtue of being the superior, more developed being, by virtue of his position atop civilized society — has every right to chow down on his dog when trapped in the wilderness with no other options available.
But we don’t find much virtue at all in his actions.
We see more humanity in the dog, who loyally went along on his master’s silly wilderness trip, scared off a bear to protect him, and — despite any hunger pangs he might have been experiencing, despite his master’s hobbled condition — didn’t make a meal of Lavoie.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ate, bear, behavior, being, canada, dog, dogs, dominion, eating, eats, german shepherd, hiker, hiking, human, humanity, humans, man, man eats dog, man eats his dog, marco lavoie, nature, outdoorsmen, pets, saved, starvation, stranded, superior, survival, wilderness
There’s a beautiful story in today’s New York Times that should resonate with dog park frequenters everywhere.
We wrack our brains to remember the names of dogs we’ve met before, then wrack them even harder to try and remember the name of the owner, and once in a while we stumble, calling the owner by the dog’s name, or vice versa.
Dick Sebastian resolved he would not make those kind of mistakes at the small-dog run in New York City’s Washington Square Park after he became a regular there a few years ago, along with his wife Susie, and his dog, Kitty.
After a visit, Sebastian, 71 and a retired surgeon, would return home, draw illustrations of the dog’s he had met and label them with their names. Later, he started bringing his chart with him to the dog run, where new dog owners started asking if he’d include their dogs on his ever-expanding artwork.
That led to Sebastian attempting less cartoony, more serious portraiture, sketching some of the dogs he had come to know. He started with a pug named Sidney, and in less than a year, he had drawn and presented, as gifts, 50 dog portraits to their owners.
The dog park crowd appreciated Sebastian’s efforts. Said one, “The fact that someone would care enough that he’d want to draw what’s unique about your dog for you …”
Sebastian was appreciated as well for his kindness, and his interest not just in other people’s dogs, but the people themselves.
He’d become a fixture, but now he’s leaving. Sebastian and his wife plan to move back to their native Ohio this month, so that Sebastian, who has Parkinson’s disease, can get easy access to care at a retirement home.
Times reporter Susan Dominus writes:
“New York is full of ad-hoc communities based on proximity and built up around mutual affection — walk into any watering hole at 7:30 p.m. — but they often have a live-and-let-live looseness to them. While parental oversight can stifle, en loco parentis oversight can be a rare, welcome comfort in the circles of urban life,”
“For passionate dog people, the folks at the Washington Square Park dog run are also, it turns out, passionate people people, and there have been myriad parties scheduled in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Sebastian before they depart.”
It’s not the first time I’ve said it, and I’m not the first one to say it, but dogs — if they don’t just automatically make us better humans — certainly manage to open up the opportunities for us to be.
Dick Sebastian, it seems, recognized that — most artfully.
(Artwork: The small dogs of Washington Square Park, by Dick Sebastian)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: art, behavior, dick sebastian, dog art, dog park, dog run, dogs, drawings, frequenting, friends, gifts, humanity, humans, leaving, moving, names, new york times, ohio, painting, parkinson's, people, portraits, portraiture, regular, relationships, small dog run, walking, washington square park
From all appearances, the stray dog laying on his side in the parking lot was already acquainted with the cruel side of Baltimore: The scars on his face, a tattered ear, a pus-filled eye, the ribs visible through his fur were all signs of neglect, and possible use by dogfighters.
But before the day was over, he’d find Baltimore — despite the high profile stories of dogs set afire and tortured cats — has a sweet side, too.
An employee of Agora Publishing came across the dog Friday in a nearby parking lot on St. Paul Street.
Matthew Wagner took photos of the dog, posted them on Craigslist and his Facebook page, and put a call in to the city’s Animal Control office.
Meanwhile, Michelle Ingrodi, a receptionist at Boston Street Animal Hospital, logged on to Facebook before going to work. She’d been sent a link from a friend she hadn’t seen in 10 years, who happened to be a friend of Wagner’s. It was about the dog Wagner had found.
When Ingrodi arrived for work, one of her first calls of the day was — in true Smalltimore style — from Wagner.
“He said he’d found a dog on the side of the parking lot and didn’t know what to do,” Ingrodi said. “He said he’d called animal control and they hadn’t shown up. I told him, ‘You don’t want to call animal control.’ This dog was old and sick and they might put him down immediately due to lack of space and lack of funds.”
Wagner asked how much it would cost if he were to bring the dog in to be checked, but Ingrodi told him there was no way of knowing. It depended on how extensive his problems were. She suggested that Wagner bring the dog in and — through his friends and Internet connections — ask anyone who was willing to donate to the dog’s care to contact the animal hospital.
Wagner made an appointment for 4 p.m., then went back outside, got the dog, and brought him into the offices of Agora Publishing. He got back on the computer, revised his posts, including the veterinary office’s phone number; then he began asking co-workers if they might be willing to contribute.
At 4 p.m., when he walked into the vets office, Ingrodi told him what had happened, within just a few short hours: The animal hospital had received $1,325 in donations — some form Wagner’s co-workers, most from strangers who’d seen the account he’d posted and photos of the dog on Facebook and Craigslist.
The dog was malnourished, had a bad cut on his eye, and had several infected wounds. He was estimated to be 10 to 12 years old. X-rays showed nothing was broken. His cuts were treated, and the dog — initially dubbed Stinky Madison — was given a bath and, later, an assortment of food and supplies at Dogma. Wagner took the dog home and, after a $500-plus vet bill, still had $700-plus for future care and treatment.
“His co-workers started calling first, making $50 donations,” said Ingroti, who was answering the phones at the animal hospital. “Then people started sharing it on a Facebook, random people — even someone from California. We had $325 within 25 minutes. Our phones have never rung like that. I had to turn down four or five donations.
“Here’s a dog who probably lay down in the gutter thinking ‘this is it.’ Then all these random people come together to save him — just complete strangers. I’m blown away, especially considering the way things are going in shelters now, with a lot of people giving up their pets. Something like this restores your faith in humanity.”
Wagner plans to care for the dog at least temporarily, she said.
Ingroti said the dog left the hospital looking tired but content. “He’s got some tired old bones, and he’s a little apprehensive. You can see in his eyes that something has happened to him, and he’s just not sure it’s a good idea to come near you. But he takes love if you give it.”
Baltimore, this time, gave it.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abused, agora publishing, animal welfare, animals, balitmore, boston street animal hospital, dog, dogfighting, donations, downtown, humanity, injuries, madison, matthew wagner, michelle ingrodi, neglected, parking lot, pets, rescue, rescued, save, saved, scars, stinky, stray, streets
Pet owners would get a $3,500 tax credit for owning a pet under legislation introduced by U.S Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan.
An NPR report on the legislation on All Things Considered Wednesday came close to taking the legislation seriously.
The bill — dubbed the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years or HAPPY Act — has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee where, NPR reported, it will most likely die of neglect.
NPR reported that the bill’s sponsor declined an interview — even though he had no problem granting a lengthy one to Doggy TV. You can see it above.
You can see the proposed act here.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: credit, dogs, happy act, house, humanity, legislation, npr, partnered, pets, politics, proposal, tax, thaddeus mccotter, washington
The patient had been hit by a car and was unconscious.
The note said: “I have two dogs that need to be taken care of. You will need animal control because one of the dogs is a Rottweiler. She is a good girl. Her name is Karma, six years old. The other dog’s name is Jasmine, 10 years old.”
The note also listed three contact names, and had a hand-drawn map showing how to get to his house. It concluded: “Thank you. Someone please take care of my babies.”
The patient’s name was Michael Short, a loner with no family in Memphis. His coma would last for weeks. And as it turned out, the note he scrawled on notebook paper and stuffed in his wallet couldn’t have landed in better hands.
Paramedic Pamey Hunter, 46, an animal lover, worked the nightshift at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
When her shift ended at 7 a.m., Hunter found Short’s home. She was greeted by Karma, the Rottweiler, who barked, snarled and lunged at the chain-link fence. Hunter left, returning a few minutes later with dog treats. At first she tossed them to Karma. Before too long, she had Karma eating out of her hand.
Then she ran out of treats and went to get some more food.
Karma greeted her with a wag of the nubby tail when she returned, let her in, and permitted her to go check on the other dog, Jasmine.
Hunter found the older dog in the hallway. She fed both dogs and promised to return that evening before she went to work.
And that’s exactly what she did — for two months.
She also bought them dog beds, fresh hay for a doghouse and treats, took Jasmine to the vet for an ear infection, and gave her arthritis medicine every day. Hunter checked several times on Short, the 34-year-old man who spent weeks in a coma. It turned out to be his second major head injury, the first occuring when he was hit by a van at age 17. He couldn’t hear her, but Hunter assured him the dogs were being cared for.
When Short awoke from his coma, he asked about his dogs right away, and Hunter told him she’d bring them for a visit.
After Short went home, Hunter stayed in touch, and on Christmas, Short told her that Karma and Jasmine had been shopping and bought her a gift. She stopped by and Short handed her a small wrapped box. Inside was a necklace and a cross.
Hunter said she cared for Short’s dogs because didn’t want to call animal control. That’s what she told Cindy Wolff, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reporter who unearthed this story — the kind we don’t hear about nearly often enough.
“I knew because of the note that these dogs were the most important things to this man,” Hunter explained. “These dogs were all he had in the world and he wasn’t going to lose them if I could help it.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angel, animals, care, coma, compassion, dog, dogs, dogsitting, emergency, friend, head injury, help, hospital, humanitarian, humanity, jasmine, karma, loner, memphis, michael short, note, pamey hunter, paramedic, pets, regional medical center, rescue, rottweiler, tennessee, treats, wallet