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Tag: show

Beagle takes top honors at Westminster

Miss P, a 15-inch beagle, and handler William Alexander, react after winning the Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) ORG XMIT: MSG215

A beagle named Miss P beat out a shih tzu owned by Patty Hearst, a Portuguese water dog related to Sunny Obama and four other finalists to capture best in show honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Miss P, whose full name is “Ch Tashtins Looking for Trouble,” is only the second beagle to win best in show at Westminster.

The 4-year-old beagle from British Columbia will retire after the victory, but not before embarking on a whirlwind media tour that includes a stop atop the Empire State Building, steak lunch at a nearby restaurant, a meeting with Donald Trump, and a walk-on part in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, USA Today reported.

rocketAmong the other dogs competing for best in show was a shih tzu named Rocket,  co-owned by kidnapped newspaper heiress, convicted bank robber and actress Patty Hearst.

Rocket was awarded top honors in the toy dog category.

Hearst is the granddaughter of William Randolph Hears. She was kidnapped by the radical group the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974, and was later seen holding a machine gun while robbing a California bank. She spent two years in prison.

pattyHer sentence was commuted by President Carter, and President Clinton gave her a full pardon.

Hearst, who turns 61 on Friday, is one of Rocket’s three co-owners. She has been involved in the dog show world for more than 10 years and has also worked as an actress.

A cousin of Sunny, one of the First Family’s Portuguese water dogs, was also in the running, and considered by some to be a favorite.

Matisse won the working group category for the third straight year.

More results, photos and videos can be found at the Westminster website.

(Photo: Photos of Miss P and Rocket by the Associated Press)

Beloved BBC dog Mabel passes away

After 14 years on the world’s longest running children program, Mabel, a border collie mix, has died.

Seen by millions of children on “Blue Peter,” Mabel was the BBC program’s first rescue dog.

“She was dearly loved and that’s a credit to her quirky character. She’ll be sorely missed by the presenters and viewers alike,” said Helen Skelton, one of the program’s co-hosts.

Mabel, who retired last year, was the second-longest serving dog on the show. Another, named Petra, appeared on the show for 15 years.

Her death came barely a month after the death of her canine co-star Lucy, according to the Daily Mail.

Mabel was originally featured on the program in 1996 when then presenter Katy Hill met her while making a film about the RSPCA. She joined the show a month later. Her name came from the letters MAB1 which were written on her RSPCA kennel.

Mabel, who was thought to be 16, was notable for her different colored eyes – one brown, one blue – and a folded-over ear. She starred alongside 14 different presenters in hundreds of studio shows.

After retirement, she lived with a former member of the show’s production team

The BBC show’s presenters announced the news about the border collie to viewers last night.

RV having fun yet?

I took a first, tentative step into the RV world over the weekend, hitting what’s billed as the country’s largest RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

I saw big ones, small ones, medium sized, elaborate ones and even more elaborate ones in what turned out to be a quick visit — mainly because the drop-your-dog-off kennel at HersheyPark wasn’t all I hoped it would be.

I had envisioned a grassy, fenced in area, with shade, perhaps some water features, perhaps some college students on hand to keep the dogs company as they frolicked. Instead it was a dingy little room, filled with stacked cages, located beneath the stadium.

Upon walking into what they call the Barking Lot Kennel, my first inclination was to walk out. While there was a good-sized ground level crate Ace would fit into, its floor lined with newspaper, I didn’t think he’d be happy there, between the cramped quarters and the constant barking of the other 10 or so dogs already there.

But then Ace tugged me inside, and happily went into the crate, so I paid the sole attendant the $10 boarding fee and promised — him, Ace and myself — to return in no more than two hours.

 My plan had been to schmooze with some dealers and manufacturers in an effort to procure an RV company as a sponsor for “Travels with Ace” – but time was too short, and, to be honest, I’m not big on schmoozing. Maybe I need something like “schmooze control,” where I could push an automatic pilot button and be personable for a specified stretch of time.

I’m also not big on huge gatherings of humans, of which this was one. I’ve never really understood the whole giant boat/dog/car/RV/home furnishings show phenomenon. It’s really my worst nightmare: packing way too many people in one place, restricting their movement with narrow aisles and dead ends, and getting bombarded with pamphlets and – oh, God — salesman.

That’s sort of what I would imagine hell is like.

I guess, in a way, the big shows makes sense — it’s an opportunity to see all there is to offer, all the latest technology, in one place. But, as for me, I’d prefer leisurely browsing through a catalog to trying to maneuver between slow walkers, fast walkers, baby strollers, and people on scooters.

As I walked down row after row of motorhomes, I noticed most dealers and manufacturers had them set up in such a way that, once you entered their area, it was difficult to exit — sort of a circle the wagons/trap the customers mentality.

I left empty handed — turning down all offered freebies because there is just no more room in my car, a 2005 Jeep Liberty that we shall continue the trip in, perhaps renting an RV down the road, partly to get a better taste of that world, partly because, when traveling with a dog, it’s the mode that seems to make the most sense.

I did see enough to get a bad case of RV envy, though — mainly for the compact versions, not much bigger than a van, but with beds, refrigerators, stoves, bathrooms and all the other comforts of home, all squeezed in nice and cozy-like.

I decided I would not turn down, if offered, an Itasca Navion, or a slightly-bigger-than-a-van number made by Pleasure-Way, or this one (left) from Coach House, to serve as the rolling home and office of “Travels with Ace.” But I won’t hold my breath.

I spent a little time looking at the laughably large ones  — equipped with just about everything you can imagine, including large flat screen TVs not just inside, but on the outside of the vehicle as well.

On the surface, it seems ludicrous.: Drive 1,000 miles to the Grand Canyon, set up some chairs, pull down the awning and turn on the old set. But I guess it, like the big RV show, makes a certain kind of sense. I can understand, after spending nearly four months now on the road, wanting a home away from home.

On the other hand, given a choice between viewing the Grand Canyon or “America’s Got Talent,” I’d have to go with the big hole in the ground.

As promised, I made it back to the Barking Lot a couple of hours later and retrieved Ace, who was none the worse for wear, though eager to leave.

I think we had both had enough of our species — me trying to navigate the rows of motor homes among too many humans, he trying to stay calm amid the rows of barking dogs.

He pulled hard on the leash, and made a beeline for the car.

We hightailed it out of there and headed east, sticking to backroads, avoiding the turnpike for a while and enjoying some of the quiet Pennsylvania countryside.

Man wants new name: Boomer the Dog

A judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a Pittsburgh-area man’s petition to change his name from Gary Guy Mathews to “Boomer the Dog.”

Mathews, 44, is an unemployed computer technician and a follower of the ”furry” lifestyle, which celebrates giving human characteristics to animals. He sought the name change because he’s a big fan of the short-lived 1980s NBC show “Here’s Boomer.”

His obsession with the Boomer character led him to create a giant dog costume made from shredded newspaper, which he now wears at home and to conventions.

Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald W. Folino, after hearing Mathews request Tuesday, denied it on Wednesday on the grounds it could cause confusion and possibly put “the public welfare at risk,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The denial, which came in a page and a half-ruling, sounded almost as convoluted as the request:

What if, the judge wrote, Boomer the Dog witnessed a serious auto accident and telephoned police? “The dispatcher on the phone queries as to the caller’s identity, and the caller responds, ‘This is Boomer the Dog.’ It is not a stretch to imagine the telephone dispatcher concluding that the call is a prank and refusing to send an emergency medical response.”

“Right now I’m not sure what I’m going to do next, I’ll just have to look into it,” Mathews said after the decision. “All I know is that I’ve been trying to realize my identity for a long time, like many people have I guess.”

Furries, the Post-Gazette reports, have become fairly common around Pittsburgh, which for five years has hosted the movement’s largest annual convention.

Trial opens in deaths of show dogs

Opening statements were made yesterday in the Missouri trial of Mary Wild, charged with animal abuse in connection with the deaths of seven show dogs who died when left overnight in a hot van last summer.

Wild, a 25-year-old dog handler from Arnold, Missouri, is charged with eight counts of misdemeanor animal abuse — one for each of the dogs she left in the van after returning from a dog show in Iowa last June.

Only one of the dogs, a Siberian husky, survived.

Defense attorney Brad Dede said he would show that “all reasonable and legal precautions” were taken to ensure the safety of the dogs and that his client is not guilty of a crime, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Authorities say the temperature inside the van could have reached 120 degrees.

Animal abuse is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri, and the maximum penalty is up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Giant George ousts Titan as world’s tallest dog


The Great (Dane) Debate is over:  The “World’s Tallest Dog” is Giant George of Tucson, Guinness World’s Records has proclaimed.

The 250-pound blue Great Dane wrested the title away from Titan, a white, partly blind Great Dane from San Diego who held it little more than three months.

Guinness World Records says George is the tallest dog ever on record, standing 43 inches tall at the shoulder, three-quarters of an inch taller than Titan.

Titan was named World’s Tallest Dog last November after the death of the previous title-holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, Calif., who died of bone cancer.

Giant George was in the running then, but disputed measurements and late paperwork left his owner, David Nasser, unable to qualify.

Guinness officials say there were conflicting reports about Giant George’s height, so they sent a judge to verify it.

Guinness made the announcement this morning, and George and Nasser appeared this afternoon on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Diana Taylor, Titan’s owner, told the San Diego Union-Tribune she didn’t intend to watch the show because she was busy Monday trying to find a swim vest that would fit Titan, her 190-pound deaf, epileptic and partly blind “special needs dog,” for his first water therapy session.

A blog post on Titan’s website site argues that Titan should still be tops. Taylor says she intends to lodge a dispute but won’t exert a lot of energy on a challenge if Titan’s reign is officially over.

Giant George, we should point out, has his own website as well, which, according to Taylor, was part of a massive public relations effort to steal the title away from her dog.

“Regardless of whether he’s the world’s tallest dog or not, he’s still this beautiful deaf and blind Great Dane, and no one can take that away from him,” Taylor said of Titan.

The blog post read, in part:

“Despite the fact that it detracted from our mission of helping rescue and special-needs dogs, I strived to take the high road. But now, after months of having our accomplishment overshadowed by this media blitz-kreig of poor sportsmanship (and on the eve of this dog actually being on Oprah) I’ve decided it’s time to let the public know the truth about ‘Giant’ George.

“…Confused at how to measure his dog, this owner took two official measurements… one at the shoulder and another halfway up the neck. Guinness requirements state an animal must be measured at the shoulder. See below — when measured correctly George is only 39 1/8″ compared to Titan’s certified height of 42.25″.

“George’s ‘record-breaking’ 43″ is based on a measurement halfway up the neck, a procedure that does not follow industry standards or meet Guinness requirements…”

Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas said last week that Nasser’s claim to the title was one of more than 100 the company received since late last year.“It’s a huge record for us,” she said. “The pet records resonate the most with our readers.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Guinness World Records)

And wait until you try his tabby-oca pudding

Italy’s state-run RAI TV has suspended popular cooking show host Beppe Bigazzi for touting cat stew as a Tuscan delicacy.

The suspension is for an unspecified amount of time,” the Associated Press reports.

Bigazzi, 77, who hosts a popular morning program that offers food tips and recipes, said he had enjoyed cat stew many times. When that startled his female co-host,  Elisa Isoardi, Bigazzi defended his culinary tastes, noting Italians eat rabbit, chicken and pigeons. Horse meat also is sold in Italian shops.

“Cat, soaked for three days in the running water of a stream comes out with its meat white, and I assure you I have eaten it many times,” he said on the program. “Now there will be letters from nature lovers. Why don’t they defend rabbits?”

His critics included Health Ministry Undersecretary Francesca Martini, who said Italian law protects pets from mistreatment and that Bignazzi’s comments contradict the growing public sensibility toward animals in Italy.

published here