If there are two things that melt the average American’s heart, they are dogs and returning soldiers.
Put them together — as in a soldier coming home and reuniting with his or her dog — and you have a slam dunk in terms of public appeal, as the plethora of real videos of that on YouTube, and the number of views they’ve received, attest.
This one, despite what many viewers think, isn’t real, but a staged presentation aimed at selling Iams dog food.
“Rocky the dog didn’t know why Dawn was gone for so long,” the commercial tells us. “But when she showed up in military camoflouge, he was there ready to greet her with the biggest welcome home. So, to keep Rocky strong and healthy, Dawn chooses Iams dog food.”
The ad features a magnificent Irish Wolfhound (whose real name is Monster) and his real owner, named Andrea. But it’s not capturing a real reunion. (Search YouTube for “dog” and “soldier” and “reunion” and you can find plenty of those.)
Before airing it on television, Procter & Gamble unveiled the ad, and others in its “Keep Love Strong” series, on Facebook, to let viewers share, like and comment on them.
The campaign, which started airing late last year, was created by the New York firm of Saatchi & Saatchi and showcases “the important role premium nutrition like Iams plays in keeping a dog or cat’s body as strong as their love.”
“At Iams, we trust our fans and value their opinions a great deal, so we wanted to give them an opportunity to participate in choosing our next commercial,” Iams brand general manager Ondrea Francy said in a press release about the ”Keep Love Strong” campaign. “…One of the most exciting things about our new campaign is that it was all inspired by real stories of unconditional love.”
Despite all that trust they have for us, Procter & Gamble didn’t go out of its way to point out that the commercial was made with actors, as opposed to depicting a real returning vet reuniting with their pet, leaving the issue subject to debate among online commenters.
Reading through the comments about the ad on YouTube, most seem to be from those smitten by the dog, and many are from viewers pointing out the ad made them cry.
One commenter insists he looked it up and determined that it was made with a real video of a dog and returning soldier. (Here’s some proof it wasn’t.)
Mostly, the ad is praised, but some question whether it’s using the military to sell dog food: “You’re doing a disservice to service members like my husband who wear the uniform PROUDLY,” said one.
Maybe, but the fact of the matter is that patriotism – like dogs, catchy tunes, scantily clad models and talking babies — can be a powerful sales tool, and not too much is out of bounds these days when it comes to advertising, including shamelessly blatant heartstring tugging.
That doesn’t mean (this being a free country, where we can speak our minds and buy the dog food of our choice) that we can’t criticize or pick nits.
Some commenters point out that the generic camouflage uniform worn by the “soldier” doesn’t pass muster.
“This is not real. She has no rank or anything on her uniform. No flag, no unit patch and her hair (is) completely wrong! This is probably a really well trained dog but she is not a real soldier … And she’s wearing Air Force boots with an army uniform! This would never fly in the military.”
A couple of commenters make the point that a dog as tall as an Irish Wolfhound should not be eating out of a bowl on the floor, but from a raised feeder: “You’d think the DOG FOOD company would know that…”
A handful of viewers seemed concerned, instead, that the dog and returning soldier are getting a little too intimate.
That was also the viewpoint of a post on the blog, Why I Hate Dogs, whose author says the ad “veers into the bestiality zone…”
“It shows a woman dressed in military fatigues, apparently just back from deployment somewhere. She is seen inside the house gushing over her huge Irish wolfhound (Russian wolfhound?), and walks outside, where she proceeds to lie flat on her back on the driveway, while the dog lowers itself on top of her, its legs splayed. The genital areas match up. Yes, it looks like this man-sized dog is having sex with her.”
How do you spell “Geesh?” (Is it two “E’s” or three — as in “geeesh” — and if so, might those naugbhty vowels be having an illicit threesome?)
As for me, it’s not the canine-human genital proximity that’s of concern, or the fact that the soldier’s uniform does or does not meet specs.
It’s that people don’t know whether the reunion video is real or staged. Some commenters, with whom I’d disagree, wrote that, as long as we are touched by it, that doesn’t matter.
Maybe I just need new glasses, but the line between truth and fiction seems to be getting awfully blurry these days. It doesn’t serve us well. And it would seem to me that it wouldn’t serve the dog food company well, either. If we don’t know whether the company is showing us a real event, or a staged generic re-creation, might we also wonder about how true the advertisement’s claims are, and how nutritious their product really is?
What is clear is this: Advertisers, while they may have a hard time finding unconditional love, are quick to seize upon the theme — especially if it might sell some dog food.
(“Woof in Advertising” is an occasional ohmidog! feature that looks at how dogs are used to sell stuff.)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertisement, advertising, air force, animals, army, commercial, commercials, dawn, dog food, dogs in advertising, iams, irish wolfhound, marines, marketing, media, navy, pets, procter & gamble, returning, reunion, reunions, rocky, saatchi & saatchi, soldier, television, unspoken, veteran, welcome home, woof in advertising
John Simpson, who is living at a hospice and who doctors say has only days to live, saw his dog last Saturday, when a neighbor caring for the Chihuahua brought him by for a visit.
His hopes for one more visit were dashed when, the next day, Mr. Cutie escaped by digging a hole under a fence.
“I really think he was looking for John,” neighbor Ann Marie Gemmel told MyFoxTampaBay.com.
Simpson, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012, said in an interview after Mr. Cutie went missing that the dog was his “spark of life,” and what he was living for.
“When you’re growing up you’re asked, ‘If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?’ Back in those days, I used to say, ‘As many wishes as I could wish for.’ Now my only wish would be for my dog to come home,” he said.
On Friday, Mr. Cutie was found by Missy Figueroa, who didn’t know Simpson. She took photos of the dog and posted them on the website FidoFinder.com.
A Fox 13 viewer who had seen the TV news report on Simpson’s missing dog saw the post and called the TV station, which passed the information along to Figueroa.
Unsure whether it was Simpson’s dog, Figueroa brought the Chihuahua to the hospice.
The reaction of dog and owner upon their reunion confirmed it was Mr. Cutie she had found.
“Seeing this person that I don’t even know, you know, so excited to see his dog, it just makes me happy that I actually got to be here for that and just make him happy,” Figueroa said.
Said Simpson, “I’m about to cry …”
Posted by John Woestendiek June 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, chihuahua, death, dog, dogs, dying, dying wish, fido finder, fidofinder, found, fox, fox 13, hospice, john simpson, last, lost, missy figueroa, mister cutie, mr cutie, news, pancreatic cancer, pets, stranger, tampa bay, veteran, vietnam, wish
An Iraq War veteran says police were raiding the wrong apartment when they shot and killed his pit bull, Cindy.
Adam Arroyo was at work Monday when his apartment in Buffalo was searched by police, who shot and killed the dog he says he left tied up in the kitchen.
Arroyo rushed home when his landlord called to tell him police were searching his apartment.
“I got here as fast as I could and I saw the carnage. I saw what happened. My house was flipped upside down, my dog was gone,” he told News 4 (WIVB). He said he always tied Cindy up in the kitchen when he left for work because she tended to chew on his clothes and shoes.
Buffalo Police said officers were searching for drugs when they encountered the dog, who they said was aggressive and unchained. They believe they had the correct address, though no drugs were found in the search.
Arroyo says there are two upper apartments at his address. He showed the search warrant to News 4, and it described the suspect as black. Arroyo is Hispanic.
“They had no right, no evidence, because if that was the case they would have found stuff here and I would be in jail,” he said.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said an investigation will be conducted by the Internal Affairs Division.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adam, arroyo, buffalo, cindy, dog, dogs, internal, investigation, iraq war, kill, law enforcment, officers, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, raid, search, shoot, veteran
A former Marine sniper’s support dog was shot by police in Dacono, Colo., after escaping from his yard and acting in what police say was an aggressive manner.
Mongo, a 3-year-old pit bull, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest.
His owner, James Vester, is seeking an explanation and an apology from police, whose behavior, he noted, seemed more like something you’d see on the streets of Iraq.
“I didn’t think I would see that again. You see it in Iraq — and then you see your best friend here get shot,” said Vester, who got Mongo, a certified emotional support dog, to alleviate stress after returning from combat.
Vester said he was doing yard work when Mongo got loose. A neighbor called police because Mongo began barking at her dogs from across a fence. When two officers arrived, Mongo barked and growled and lunged at one of them, according to police reports.
Some neighbors disputed the police account, according to Fox 31 News in Denver.
“There was no noise at first, I just heard the gunshot — then the dog started crying,” said Heather Viera, who was told by police to go back inside her home when she stepped outside.
Another neighbor, Jenny Stevens, says she was a few hundred feet down the road, walking her dogs, when she heard the shot. She said she didn’t hear any barking or growling before it was fired. “It was dead silent. There was not a bark, there wasn’t a growl. The cop did not say stop to the dog, the cop didn’t yell anything.”
Dacono Police Chief Matthew B. Skaggs said an investigation was being conducted.
“I think it is important to remember these things develop very quickly,” the chief said. “If you look in the report, the officer did say specifically that the dog got within six feet of him and at that point he felt like it was his only option.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggressive, animals, barks, behavior, colorado, dacono, emotional, growls, investigation, iraq, james vester, law enforcement, marine, mongo, pets, pit bull, police, police shoot dog, service, shoot, shot, sniper, support dog, veteran
The dog, who turns 3 on Tuesday, was inside Lorimer’s SUV when it was stolen at a gas station April 10, according to the East Valley Tribune.
After searching for the dog for a week, Lorimer received a call Monday from a construction worker who found Max in Mesa on his way to work.
The worker, Rolando Artalejo, took the dog home to his wife and daughter who had seen earlier reports about the missing dog and were able to get in touch with Lorimer.
“As soon as they called, I was there in about two minutes,” Lorimer said. “I didn’t know who was happier – him seeing me or me seeing him. He jumped up on me and knocked my glasses off. That little booger was so tickled to see me, he couldn’t stop licking me.”
Lorimer, 72, a U.S. Navy Veteran and retired plumber who has congestive heart failure, believes Max was trying to make his way back home when he was found, just a few blocks from where he lives.
Lorimer, a week earlier, had left his car running outside a gas station and stepped inside for coffee. When he came back out, his car and dog were gone.
When Lorimer recovered the vehicle later that day, Max was not inside. One of the car thieves called him and told him where he could find his car, which had run out of gas, but they said they had let the dog out of the car at an apartment complex.
“I told them I didn’t give a damn about my car. I just wanted my dog back,” Lorimer said. “I can replace my car, but not my dog. I was devastated.”
Once back home, Max went to his favorite resting spot, under the coffee table.
“I’ve had him since he was three and a half months old,” Lorimer said. “I didn’t think I was going to find him. He means more to me than my own life.”
(Photo by Tim Hacker / East Valley Tribune)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, bill lorimer, car, dog, dogs, found, lost, max, mesa, miniature, missing, pets, phoenix, recovered, reunited, rolando artalejo, schnauzer, stolen, suv, veteran
I’d pulled into a trailer court to turn around after my visit to the Howdy Manor when a voice called out: “Hey, bro!”
It being a neighborhood that’s even sketchier than it was 35 years ago, when I briefly lived in it, I was going to pull out when I heard it again. “Hey, bro!”
So I rolled to a stop there in the driveway next to the Bucking Bronc motel and trailer court, a couple of motels down from the Howdy Manor.
Four people — three men and a woman — were sitting in front of a trailer enjoying beverages that included beer and vodka. One of them approached my car, with something in his hand.
Thinking he might have mistaken me for a drug buyer, I was ready to beg off when he passed it through my open window.
I hesitated to open it, fearing some illicit narcotics might be hidden between its pages — that maybe children’s books were the drug dealer’s delivery method of choice in this particular neighborhood.
Seeing my skepticism, he grabbed it back and opened it himself, showing how, through the holes in the cardboard, you could touch the fake fur and fake skin and get an idea what each animal — tiger, lion, alligator, polar bear, chimpanzee — feels like.
“Tiger, tiger, running through the grass, your black-and-orange stripes go quickly past,” read the first page. “Tiger, tiger, I can hear you growl, as you get ready to go on the prowl.”
I wasn’t sure why I deserved the book, and told him he really should give to a child. He explained that he saw the ohmidog! magnet on my car door, and figured I liked animals. I should have it, he said.
I was waiting for him to quote a price, but he never did. Instead he asked about my dog. I got out and popped open the back door to let Ace out. He greeted the man with the book, then went over to see the rest of the gang.
He snuggled with Sherry, and knocked over her bottle of beer. She didn’t mind at all.
Then he met Johnny, who said he was a former Marine and Vietnam vet who now sells newspapers to get by.
There used to be two daily newspapers in town. He sells copies of the remaining one, the Arizona Daily Star, where 35 years ago, I used to work as a reporter. The newspaper costs 75 cents now, but Johnny sells them for less. My suspicion — and perhaps it’s just my cynicism again — is he pays for one paper, then pulls them all out of the vending machine and sells them on the street. Call him an entrepreneur.
Ten minutes later, he was still looking. When you carry your life in a knapsack, things can be hard to find.
I asked them if they lived in the trailer court, and they said they didn’t — that they just lived “around.”
After another five minutes, Johnny’s search paid off, and he pulled a slightly rusty harmonica out of his bag.
Johnny sat on a plastic chair, Sherry on a cinderblock. I took a seat on the guest rock — actually a rock atop a cinderblock, which functioned kind of like a rocking chair. Everyone’s jackets hung on a nearby tree.
Johnny brought the harmonica to his mouth and started playing a happy but unidentifiable song. Everyone tapped their feet and hummed along, and one member of the group started howling like a dog, leading Ace to look at him with tilted head.
I love the tilted head — a dog’s transparent, non-judgmental way of expressing puzzlement when he hears or sees something different. It seems to say – and here I am wrongly interpreting dog behavior by human standards – ”I don’t get this … I will turn my head slightly to the side and focus even harder to understand.”
If only humans could do that. Instead, when we see something different, we far too often judge, frown and walk away. As adults, our childish curiosity gets crusted over with cynicism — to the point we can get fearful of something as innocuous as a “touch and feel” children’s book.
Johnny played for about five minutes, and the song never really came to a distinct ending; it just kind of tailed off, once Johnny switched from harmonica to the vodka bottle.
I thanked them for allowing us to hang out, wished them all the best and headed for my car – feeling I’d made some new fleeting friends, but still, being human, expecting to be asked for money. They had, after all provided me with a book and musical entertainment.
As I started the car, the man who’d given me the “touch and feel” book appeared at my window. But all he did was shake my hand one last time.
“Vaya con Dios,” he said.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, benson highway, book, books, children's books, cynicism, dogs, harmonica, homeless, howdy manor, johnny, marine, motel, ohmidog!, pets, road trip, skepticism, touch and feel, tourism, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, tucson, vaya con dios, veteran, vietnam, wild animals
– Ventura Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sharon Troll
Pvt. James Sumner, an 1860s Army hero who was awarded the Medal of Honor, is buried beneath what is now a popular dog park in Ventura, California — and there’s an effort underway to have him scooped up and moved to a ”more respectful” resting place.
Sumner, who was awarded the nation’s highest military honor by Ulysses S. Grant for gallant actions after a band of Apaches kidnapped a settler’s child, died in 1912. He’s one of about 3,000 people buried in what was formerly St. Mary’s Cemetery.
“Talk to any veteran, he will tell you it is a terrible thing. It’s disrespectful,” said retired Marine Sgt. Craig “Gunny” Donor, who served two tours in Vietnam and is determined to get the soldier’s remains moved. “I’m trying to get him moved to Bakersfield National Cemetery. He needs to be moved to a place of respect. Cemeteries are solemn places.”
Others say graveyards don’t necessarily need to be grave places — that adding a little life to the cemetery hurts no one, and some go so far as to say that maybe it’s appreciated by the departed.
Though thousands are buried there, only a few dozen markers remain at the 7-acre Cemetery Memorial Park.
Ventura city leaders have so far balked at moving Sumner, saying the park is well maintained and gravesites aren’t being damaged. “We are treating him pretty darn well, except for the poop,” Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sharon Troll told the Ventura County Star.
The commission voted July 21 to postpone for two months Donor’s request to unearth Sumner.
Other cities look a little less kindly on allowing dogs in cemeteries. Concord, New Hampshire, recently passed an ordinance that bans them.
Donor, who lives in Fontana and is a state captain for the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle club that honors fallen veterans, expects the fight to wind up in court. “He has no family, no one else to stand up for him, except for his brothers and sister in arms,” Donor said.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, army, buried, california, cemeteries, cemetery, craig donor, dog park, dogs, grave, graves, graveyards, gunny, hero, james sumner, medal of honor, parks, pets, rebury, recreation, respect, resting place, sharon troll, ventura, veteran, veterans
A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Tuesday against a Bucks County man who had sought food stamps to help feed his dog.
James Douris, 55, a disabled and unemployed veteran who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown, said he relies on his dog to pull his wheelchair and fetch items for him. Because of the dog’s work on his behalf, it should be considered a dependent member of his household, he argued.
The appeals court didn’t buy it, upholding a decision by the state welfare agency denying him additional support, the Associated Press reported.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeals, benefits, bucks county, court, disabilities, disabled, dog, food stamps, james douris, news, newtown, ohmidog!, pennsylvania, pets, unemployed, veteran, welfare
A disabled veteran is suing McDonald’s for $10 million, claiming he was harassed, beaten, and told that he couldn’t take his service dog inside.
Former Army captain Luis Carlos Montalvan, who inspired Sen. Al Franken’s first legislative victory — a service dog program for disabled veterans — claims in the lawsuit that he was confronted by restaurant workers on two separate visits, and beaten with garbage can lids when he returned with a camera.
Franken, in an e-mail message to Montalvan last week, called it an “awful, bizarre story,” according to the Star-Tribune.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA said the matter is under investigation.
Montalvan, 36, of Brooklyn, filed the lawsuit in October, a week after Congress approved Franken’s provision establishing a pilot program to pair 200 wounded veterans with service dogs from nonprofit agencies.
Franken said Montalvan and his service dog, a golden retriever named Tuesday — both of whom he had met at a presidential inaugural ball — inspired his proposal.
“Captain Montalvan made great sacrifices fighting for our country in Iraq,” Franken said. “I’m not entirely familiar with the facts of this case, but what I do know underscores both the need to help our returning veterans and to raise awareness and increase access for service dogs.”
Montalvan suffered spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injuries during two tours of duty in Iraq that also left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Tuesday, his service dog, helps him with balance, mobility and emotional support.
Montalvan’s lawsuit recounts a series of events that began last December, several weeks after he completed service dog training. Visiting a McDonald’s in Brooklyn, Montalvan was told by employees that pets were not allowed. He complained and a supervisor later apologized in writing and assured Montalvan that his dog was welcome.
Montalvan’s dog was barred from the restaurant again in January. Two days later, when Montalvan returned with a camera, the restaurant had been closed due to health code violations, but two McDonald’s workers confronted him and beat him with plastic garbage can lids, he says.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: access, al franken, army, banned, barred, brooklyn, captain, disabilities, disability, disabled, dogs, handicapped, lawsuit, luis carlos montalvan, mcdonald's, new york, senator, service dogs, veteran, veterans
Owned by Clay Rankin, an Army sergeant who was injured in Iraq, Archie had been his service dog for four years, helping Rankin cope with physical challenges, post-traumatic stress disorder, and difficulty with crowds.
“Archie’s loyalty and perseverance in helping Sgt. Rankin accomplish his daily tasks has allowed the veteran to regain his confidence and independence, move forward with his life and continue serving the country he loves,” the ASPCA noted in bestowing the award.
Rankin, who serves as an advocate for other veterans, received the dog through Patriot Paws, a Texas organization that trains service dogs for veterans with disabilities .
(Photo: Rankin, Archie and Lori Stevens, founder of Patriot Paws)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: archie, aspca, assistance, clay rankin, death, died, dies, disabilities, dog, dog of the year, labrador retriever, patriot paws, service, veteran