November 23, 2011
On Thanksgiving Day, quarterbacks won’t be the only ones barking signals. From noon to 2 P.M., the best dogs representing more than 170 breeds will vie for top honors in the 10th annual National Dog Show Presented by Purina on NBC. The event is hosted by The Kennel Club of Philadelphia and is regarded as one of top American Kennel Club-sanctioned dog shows.
More than 25 million viewers are expected to watch the show, which will be hosted by actor John O’Hurley, best known for his role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, and David Frei, the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
On the eve of the Thanksgiving Day special, Vetstreet’s Arden Moore caught up with O’Hurley and Frei, who’ve become friends beyond the show ring.
You two are like the dynamic duo of the dog world. Congratulations on teaming up again for this Thanksgiving tradition.
John O’Hurley: On screen, we have a partnership that clicks. Off screen, we have a deep friendship that’s shared by our wives and family.
David Frei: Dynamic duo? I’m not sure which one of us is Batman and which one is Robin. But John and I have become close friends. My wife, Cheri, is a Catholic chaplain and she arranged for John’s son to be baptized by the monsignor on the Upper East Side in New York City.
Is it true that you are also dog in-laws?
Frei: We have Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who are half-sisters from the same breeder. I have Angel and he has Sadie. The dogs have actually never met.
O’Hurley: Sadie has a bit of an overbite, so she doesn’t compete in dog shows, but she is adorable. David’s dog is the spitting image of Sadie, but we live on different coasts, so they don’t get to see one another. If they could, it would be as if they were looking at themselves in the mirror.
Do you remember the first time you met?
Frei: Definitely! We were in a production meeting for the first telecast of The National Dog Show. John walked into the room and he looked and sounded just like J. Peterman. We hit it off right away. I kept expecting to see Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer to pop in at any moment.
John, you’ve had great success teaming up with partners. You won the first Dancing with the Stars title with professional dancer Charlotte Jorgensen, and for 10 years, you’ve worked with David on the dog show. What’s it like?
O’Hurley: Charlotte is the #1 ballroom dancer in the world, and David is the most knowledgeable guy in the world about dogs. I feel quite fortunate.
So you don’t plan to challenge David to a game of canine trivial pursuit?
O’Hurley: Definitely not. He would kill me. I stand in his shadow.
John, any new challenges this year?
O’Hurley: We started this show with 162 breeds and we’re now up to 185 breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club. One breed is not so new, but it fell out of favor, and it’s now back. It’s taken me since October to learn how to correctly pronounce the name. I’m talking about the Mexican hairless, the Xoloitzcuintli. Let me say that name again, Xoloitzcuintli.
Frei: See how John can just have that name roll off his lips? The Xoloitzcuintli comes in three sizes. All six new breeds will be joining the party on Thanksgiving Day.
Any parting comments?
Frei: I grew up in a football family and I’m a football guy. You can see hundreds of football games all season, but only one National Dog Show on Thanksgiving. So I’m urging everyone to set their TVs to NBC at noon and hide the remote until 2:00.
O’Hurley: We plan to bring back some of the best clips for this 10th anniversary show. Call over your dog to join you on the couch. It’s fitting that the National Dog Show is shown on Thanksgiving, when people are all together. I promise that this show will have something for everyone, whether you’re nine or 90.
To learn more about The National Dog Show, and hear more from Frei, O’Hurley and other key people involved in the show, tune in to Arden Moore’s “Oh Behave” show on Pet Life Radio.
November 16, 2011
Exciting news! I am now an editor with Vetstreet, THE place to go to learn all things pets. This is a veterinarian-approved website bolstered by a team of the very best in the pet world. Here is my first post that landed on the home page today – please share with your pet pals considering adopting a dog or other pet. Finally, please be sure to support Petside.com’s Pet ‘Net 2011 Adoption Event.
Here’s my ‘tale’ of how I adopted Chipper:
The drive home was a blur. I’d just adopted a two-time shelter reject named BJ from a Siberian Husky rescue group.
Now, the 2-year-old, just-spayed Husky-Golden Retriever mix I was about to rename Chipper sat motionless in the back seat, looking at me with weary eyes. I’d quickly ushered her into the car during a rainstorm and I remember how much this dog’s matted coat stunk — and how helpless I felt because I couldn’t open the windows for ventilation.
Am I crazy? Is this the right dog for me at this time in my life? What is this dog going to do when we get home? Is she going to pee on my rug? Will she listen? What have I done?
Do these questions sound familiar? People speak of buyer’s remorse when they make a major financial investment, like purchasing a new car or a home. But one of the biggest emotional investments you will ever make is adopting a dog.
The clock starts ticking on the longest day of your life the second you sign the adoption papers. For the next 24 hours, you’ll experience a crazy blend of euphoria and doubt. You may have trouble eating and concentrating. Your heart may race. Don’t worry — these are all normal occurrences.
To set you — and your new dog — up for success and a lifetime of happiness, here are some pointers for the first 24 hours.
- Dog-proof your home before dashing out the door. Shut bedroom and bathroom doors, install doggie gates, put away electrical cords, potentially toxic plants and small objects that may be accidentally swallowed, and introduce your dog to limited parts of your home.
- Take the day off from work. And don’t schedule any other activity, such as catching a movie with a friend. For those first 24 hours, it’s important that you’re there for your dog as he adjusts to a strange, new environment filled with novel sounds, sights and smells.
- Buy just the basics. Skip the Fido fashion outfits and pick up a buckle collar or harness, a 6-foot leash and stainless steel food and water bowls.
- Stick with his current chow. Feed him the same food he has eaten at the shelter or rescue home, and work with your veterinarian to gradually transition him to a diet that’s best for his age, breed, health condition and activity level.
- Don’t go overboard with treats and happy talk. Speak in a calm, confident tone to ease his possible feelings of anxiety, and avoid upsetting his stomach with too many food rewards.
- Run a bath. Be patient and calm as you bathe your new dog to get rid of any shelter smells. He’ll feel much better — and smell better, too. If that’s too stressful for the first day, the bath can wait a day or two.
- Be selective when introducing friends. Pick one or two dog-savvy friends to meet him on the first day, and limit additional distractions. Wait to host a big welcome party until a few weeks have passed.
- Don’t expect a full night’s sleep. As your new dog snoozes in a crate or on your bed, your racing mind will record every breath he takes — and every move he makes.
- Remember that the only constant in life is change. It’s natural for newly adopted dogs to take a few weeks, even months, to feel comfortable and secure enough to show you their true personalities. It took Chipper a couple of weeks to sport her now trademark open-mouth grin and full-body wiggle. But it was worth the wait.
Speaking of Chipper, let’s fast-forward seven years. She surfs, joins me in a people-dog workout class, and serves as my demo dog for the pet first-aid classes I teach. Sure, the first 24 hours with her turned me into an emotional wreck, but it was worth every second for the life that we now share.
November 2, 2011
Note from Arden Moore, founder of Four Legged Life: For the past decade, I’ve been blessed to have an ageless neighbor named Flo Frum. Even though she is 87, she possesses the energy and can-do-it attitude that would make even Betty White feel tire. I share this essay Flo wrote to her senior citizen writing class about her painful lesson in trying to do too much too quickly. Her words serve as a reminder to all of us at any age to take time to converse and appreciate one-on-one interactions.
Flo writes it best — here is her take on the dangers of multi-tasking!
I have always been multitasking. Now I don’t recommend this to everyone, but for me it has served me well. That is until last Friday afternoon. But first let me tell you just how this multitasking came about. I have always been a person that had only one speed, and that was full speed ahead. In my youth I could do more in a morning than most people could in a week. I am not bragging just trying to say I never was known to slow down.
My children have cautioned me often, with “Mother, stop rushing.” I walk fast – well, I used to walk a lot faster — but I think I have slowed down quite a bit. Why I am in a hurry is beyond me, and I have found it very difficult to do less and sit more.
My son has taken all my garden tools away so I won’t go digging in the yard. Our back yard is a large hill leading up to the park, and years ago my husband had steps made so we could work on the hill with easy access. Well not any more, again, my dear son removed the steps from the lower level and now I can only look with dismay at all the weeds growing but can not get over the wall without a stepladder, and God Forbid I even think of doing that because with my luck I would fall, and then have to listen to, “Mother, I told you so”!
Having portable phones has been great for a multitasker. I can talk on the phone, empty the dishwasher; fold clothes, tidy up a room and even make my bed. I have been know to load the washing machine, empty the trash, let the dog out or better yet, fill his water bowls, and still carry on a conversation. There was very little I could not do while talking on the phone. That is until Charlotte called me last Friday. I was doing my thing, you know folding clothes, putting them in my drawer and when all done, I left my bedroom, still talking on the phone.
I lost my balance and with nothing to hold on to, I went crashing down to the floor. Unfortunately, the phone went flying, my head hit the wall and I saw stars. Lots of them. The pain in my head was almost overpowering, but as I had the phone close, I dialed my friend, Judi at her office, and told her I had just fallen, and just wanted to clear my head. The phone peeped as I was talking and I connected with the new caller, and it was Charlotte checking if everything was all right. I told her I had fallen but was OK and would call her back. Judi said that she was coming right home and to stay where I was. Well, not one to just lay on the floor I got up and went into the den and sat down on my recliner. I admit I walked very slowly, and felt uncomfortable.
Judi soon arrived and with an ice bag on the back of my head I felt all right. Not great, but better than I thought possible. Now the doorbell was ringing and with Buddy, my miniature Schnauzer, barking like mad Judi opened the door to greet Charlotte who was worried that I might need help. Buddy gave her his usual greeting; you know barking like mad and no one able to hear a thing but him.
I realized what a hardheaded person I really am when I saw the dent in the wall where I hit my head. I vowed right then to change my ways. Both of my shoulders are black and blue, and my neck was so stiff I could hardly turn my head. Thank goodness all aches and pains have left and I have taken a good look at my problem with multitasking.
I realize the time has come to listen to those that have cautioned me, and when the phone rings to sit down and enjoy the caller’s conversation. Not an easy thing for me to do, but the thought of falling again, is frightening, and perhaps I would not be so lucky if it happens again. Are there any household tasks worth risking my health for? I think not, and if I want to live to be 100, I will. Give up multitasking, slow down and take time to smell the roses.