Tag: talking dogs
As is now known by fans of Irving the talking dog — and I’m not one of them, at least when it comes to the talking part – the Boston terrier didn’t make it to the finals of “America’s Got Talent.”
Still, in terms of the exposure alone, it was a win for ventriloquist Todd Oliver, whose Branson, Missouri-based act has become more popular than ever.
Branson features three dogs in his performances, all equipped with flapping contraptions attached to their lower jaws. He controls the devices remotely, making the dog’s mouth move in time with the words he supplies, via ventriloquism.
In other words, Oliver uses his dogs for dummies.
No, I don’t think Oliver’s act should be banned. I don’t think we need to get PETA on the phone. I don’t think the appendages attached to the dogs for the act are hurting the dogs, or even bothering them to any great extent.
I am merely saying that it’s another example of us putting words in dogs’ mouths, of our humanization of them — solely for our own amusement.
I don’t like that Pedigree’s DentaStix ad campaign, featuring dogs with human dentures, either — for the same reason. In addition to the TV ads, the campaign allowed us to, with help from our computers, put not just human dentures, but the words of our choice, into dog mouths.
I’m not one of those to unnecessarily sound the anthropomorphization alarm — mainly because it’s too hard a word to say — but I do believe we should enjoy dogs as dogs, and not try to transform them into us.
Oliver seems like a nice guy who does a lot for dogs and animals, and as far as what he does to them for the act, it’s probably not abusive and even somewhat cute, at least for the first few minutes.
He says on his website that the device was developed with a veterinarian.
“Todd is just a true animal lover. He often assists local shelters and rescues dogs from unfit environments,” the website says. ”Everything in Todd’s act is 100% safe and registered with the USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.”
I know that, again, I will be criticized for being overly sensitive, but in my opinion we’ve already tinkered with dogs too much — by shaping them, over the centuries, into breeds whose looks please us; by using them in lab experiments and, in recent years, cloning them; by dressing them up, teaching them to dance, and all the other things we do for our own amusement.
They’re pretty amusing and animated just as they are, without our help. Our attempts to make them more amusing, I think, are often both dopey and disrespectful. But who’s going to listen to me?
If only I could get a dog to say it.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 4th, 2012 under videos.
Tags: act, america's got talent, amusement, animals, anthropomorphization, dentures, dog, dogs, dogshaming, dummies, dummy, entertainment, funny dogs, humanization, humans, irving, irving the talking dog, mouth, pedigree, pets, talking dogs, tinkering, todd oliver, ventriloquism
Where Ace and I are living now — just down the road from Mayberry — episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” were being shown nearly all day long today after news broke about the actor’s death.
There are those who will tell you there is no real Mayberry in North Carolina. They’re the same ones who will tell you there is no Santa. In truth, in North Carolina, Mayberry is never more than 30 minutes away from wherever you are.
You just head down that country road, away from the big city — the Charlotte, the Raleigh, the Greensboro – and stop in the first town big enough to have gas pumps and a barber shop. If you’re greeted with a smile, and it appears genuine, you’re in Mayberry.
Mayberry is a state of mind — a zen-like destination, reachable only by slowing the hell down, caring about your fellow man, letting yourself think in an unrushed manner and having a second piece of pie.
And one man was the sparkly-eyed epitome of that. Andy Griffith, who died peacefully at his home this morning and, according to the local sheriff, has been laid to rest on the family farm on Roanoke Island.
The “Andy Griffith Show” always struck me as a lot like a dog — able to calm me down, and make me smile, and be convinced, for 30 minutes at least, that the world is a good place, and mankind not too shabby a species.
Dogs had center state in only a few episodes of the show, like the time Opie and a friend rigged a walkie-talkie to a dog and convinced Goober his dog could talk, or, my favorite, the time the sheriff’s office was beseiged with strays.
Of all the smallish towns in North Carolina, Mount Airy — Griffith’s birthplace — is the one that makes the most of its link to Mayberry, and, true to form, it’s only a half hour up the road. We’ve been there for a couple of visits.
But most times we get there via remote control. If you keep flipping, you can usually find Mayberry and, for half an hour, go back to a time and place where folks managed to be social without “social networks,” where the pace was slow, things were black and white, and life had just the right amount of complications — enough to keep it interesting without it being overwhelming.
That’s what I liked about Mayberry: Almost every problem could be resolved calmly, kindly, with unrushed reasoning — even what to do with a pesky pack of stray dogs:
PART ONE: In which Otis gets his breakfast and Opie finds a dog …
PART TWO: In which Barney takes the dogs — 11 of them now — to a happy place …
PART THREE: In which the strays save the day …
Posted by jwoestendiek July 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andy, andy griffith, andy griffith show, andy taylor, animals, dead, died, dogs, episodes, icon, mayberry, memory, north carolina, nostalgia, opie, pets, sheriff, stray dogs, talking dogs, taylor, television
A talking dog being taunted by his owner about treats is the second most viewed video of 2011, according to YouTube’s newly released list.
“Ultimate Dog Tease,” with close to 75 million views, came in second to Rebecca Black singing her Internet hit, “Friday,” which has 180 million views.
The Dog Tease video was made by Andrew Grantham, of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Grantham adds voiceovers to home videos of family pets, a hobby that has since turned into a full-time job for him.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2011, andrew grantham, animals, dog, dogs, friday, halifax, list, most popular, most viewed, most watched, nova scotia, pets, rebecca black, talking animals, talking dogs, taunted, teased, treats, ultimate dog tease, videos, views, voiceover, youtube
Three days after we bemoaned the seemingly trending practice of putting words in dogs’ mouths via animation, a new Internet e-card company has launched, offering just that service.
It’s pretty much the same schtick as Pedigree’s “Denture Your Dog” ad campaign for “DentaStix” – upload a photo of your dog, position the talking mouth, type in what you want your dog to say, click, wait and, voila, you have a talking dog video you can distribute via Facebook, Twitter and email.
To hear what Ace thinks of it all, click on his picture above, then click on play on the page to which you are taken. (I swore I’d never do it, but then again, I also swore I’d never use the word “trending”.)
Pet-a-Greeting launched Tuesday, calling itself the first-ever site that allows members to upload a photo of their dog, cat or other pet and create a customized talking message to share.
“We’re taking the e-greeting card experience to a whole other level,” said Gregory Baker, co-founder of Pet-a-Greeting. (Confession: I tried to find a photo of Baker online so I could use his website to make him bark, but there are too many Gregory Bakers.)
“We developed Pet-a-Greeting because we love our animal friends,” Baker continues in a press release, “and we want people to be able to share a unique experience with their friends and families, while giving a voice to those that typically don’t have one.”
If that’s not noble enough for you, consider this: Pet-a-Greeting says it has a strong commitment to helping animal welfare organizations both locally and nationally. “By becoming a member and sending Pet-a-Greetings, you are supporting the welfare of companion animals.”
No details, or percentage, or beneficiary is mentioned in the news release, so I guess we have to just take their word for it.
Pet-a-Greeting offers a 10-day free trial, where members can send unlimited personal greeting cards. A year’s membership is $9.95, and a two-year membership is $14.95.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, animated, anthopomorphic, denture your dog, dentures, dogs, email, facebook, greetings, gregory baker, internet, launch, make your dog talk, new, pedigree, pet-a-greeting, pets, talking dogs, technology, twitter, video, website, words
I’m all for giving dogs a voice, I just get a little creeped out when it’s a human one.
Talking dog movies, for example, strike me as another example of making them (dogs) more like us (humans), when they are perfect just as they are — and when they’re not, it’s usually because of something we humans imposed on them.
Nevertheless, this public service announcement from KnockOutDogFighting.org is so well done, and rings so true, and is for such a good cause, it’s worth a look.
The Knock Out Dog Fighting program is an award-winning anti-dogfighting campaign that makes use of professional athletes – professional boxers and fighters who partner with schools, juvenile detention facilities, community centers, community-based organizations, dog trainers, law enforcement agencies and gang prevention task forces with the goal of stopping cruelty and abuse.
The program identifies the underlying reasons kids and young adults are fighting dogs and provides resources and youth intervention programs to address those issues, working to help at-risk youth make better choices and develop empathy for animals.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, animals, anti-dogfighting, campaign, crime, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, empathy, knock out dogfighting, knockoutdogfighting.org, pets, psa, public service announcement, talking dogs, torture, video, youth
I don’t usually go in for movies with talking dogs (or horses, or cats), but Beverly Hills Chihuahua seems to be racking up some decent reviews as it opens across the country.
Carrie Rickey, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, gave it three bones (well stars, actually):
“Sublimely silly and oddly poignant, Beverly Hills Chihuahua – that’s right, the one with the talking canines – is Lady and the Tramp for lap dogs, Roots for pooches, Legally Blonde told from Bruiser’s point of view.
“Graced with unusually expressive and seamless voice work by Drew Barrymore and George Lopez, the best of its kind since Babe, BHC is about Chloe (Barrymore), a citified, prettified, bootie-wearing, diamond-swathed, 90210 Chihuahua dognapped on a jaunt to Mexico.”
“A filthy-rich fantasy for these cash-strapped times,” penned Peter Debruge of Variety. While the movie “peddles tacky stereotypes in thick Hispanic accents,” Debruge says, Barrymore’s voice is ”endearing” and “she plays the role with helpful nuance: She is polite in her bigotry, naive in her self-entitlement and gracious toward those small kindnesses other characters show her.”
Michael Rechtshaffen, of The Hollywood Reporter was slightly more lukewarm, saying BHC lacks the pedigree of such Disney favorites as Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians. Even though the writing could have been “punched up” a bit, he said, the movie’s “spirited voice cast delivers the whole enchilada.”