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Tag: programs

Something different on Saturday morning

mcmillan

As part of its continuing effort to make Saturday morning television less cartoony and more educational, CBS is premiering a show whose host rescues a dog every week.

We applaud (almost) everything about that idea.

In the show, called “Lucky Dog,” dog trainer Brandon McMillan will rescue, train and find homes for 22 dogs in 22 weeks.

McMillan, who is said to have trained as many as 10,000 dogs — some for television and movie roles — will choose a dog each week from a shelter, bring him home, train him and find him a good home, according to the Associated Press.

The show, produced by Litton Entertainment, airs Saturday mornings (check your local listings) and is targeted to teens 13 to 16 years old.

According to McMillan, he will not pick any dogs for the show who have abuse in their past — something he says he can detect in his first 30 seconds with a dog.

While he works with those dogs on his own time, he says they won’t appear on “Lucky Dog” because “the viewers that watch this show are not going to want to see a dog that’s been in a fight. This is a family show.”

We — though liking the basis for the show — think that kind of thinking is wrong, and a cop-out, and a missed opportunity for educating an age group that needs to be educated about animal abuse, at least by 13, if not sooner.

“Lucky Dog” is one of four new shows replacing  Saturday morning cartoons at CBS, at least in part to fulfill the network’s requirement for educational television.

And it sounds as if — much like the cereal ads it will appear amid — it will be heavily sugar-coated.

But at least it’s educational.

McMillan, 36 , said he will likely choose dogs he “makes a connection with,” then train them so they are proficient in seven common commands — sit, stay, down, come, off, heel and no.

McMillan will choose the family each dog will go to by evaluating emails he receives at his Southern California ranch — the Lucky Dog Ranch — and checking out the house and yard where the new dog will live. He’ll also spend a couple of hours training the family.

“Service dogs for those who’ve served us”

In case you missed it, Glenn Close gave viewers of the Oprah Winfrey show an inside look last week at Puppies Behind Bars, and that organization’s latest initiative — providing service dogs for wounded veterans.

Under the new program — “Dog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who’ve Served Us” — prison inmates train and raise puppies to become service and therapy dogs for wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“It’s totally a win-win situation,” said Close “On one hand, the inmates … are given a chance to give back to society and learn invaluable skills that will prove vital if they ever re-enter life outside prison. On the other, wounded soldiers are given a chance to rebuild their shattered lives — to be released from the prison of their wounds. What unites both inmate and soldier is the love, loyalty and talent of a Puppies Behind Bars dog…”

FetchDog, a Portland-based pet supply company Close helped start and writes a blog for, is helping support the program by donating $1 from the sale of each of its new “Chewy Shoe” dog toys. Vibram Pet Products, which manufactures the toy, will also donate a dollar of each sale to the cause, according to a press release.

The toy is available for purchase at FetchDog.com

Puppies Behind Bars was founded in 1997 to raise guide dogs for the blind. Since then it has worked with prison inmates to train explosive detection dogs and dogs to assist the disabled and autistic.

Paula Abdul to campaign for guide dogs

American Idol judge — and Chihuahua owner (times four) — Paula Abdul has signed up to help raise money for guide dog programs.

Abdul will be helping Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, Petco, and independent pet stores raise awareness and money for guide dog organizations across the country, according to Dogchannel.com.

Her role involves getting the word out to the public about the time and effort that goes into training a potential guide dog puppy — an18 to 20 months process, followed by another six months in formal guide dog training school. After about six months of school, the dog gets matched with a blind person. For 28 days, more training takes place at the guide dog facility so the person can learn how to handle their dog.

Learning about the amount of time and money it takes to train these dogs inspired her to join the nonprofit side of raising awareness so that more guide dogs are made available. Abdul said. “I have always been amazed at how it transforms people’s lives.”