Part 1 Of Our 2-Part Complete List Of Favorite Dog Movies

PART 1 You’ve been channel surfing, and nothing seems to pique your interest. We’ve compiled a list of 37 movies total, in two separate blogs, that have been previously reviewed and featured in The New Barker dog magazine, over the years. The list does not include every dog-themed movie ever made, just some of our favorites. So please feel free to add your own favorite movie in the comments section below.

We’ve included a brief description, the movie poster and a link to the trailer for each movie. We’ve also thrown in a couple of short films for you to watch as well.

We figure if you watch two films a day, you’ll be doggone occupied for around 20 days. #StayHomeStayHealthy


1. As Good As It Gets was released in 1997. Directed by James L. Brooks, the film stars Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson and Hunt each won an Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress for the film. Jill the Dog plays Verdell, the Brussels Griffon.

As Good As It Gets movie trailer


2. Darling Companion was released in 2012. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan and his wife Meg, the film stars Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline. Beth (Keaton) forms a strong friendship with a dog she rescues along the highway. She becomes upset when her husband, Joseph (Kline), loses the dog. They end up engaging the service of a psychic gypsy to find Freedom, the dog, played by two dogs, Kasey and Kuma. The cast includes Dianne Wiest, Elisabeth Moss, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass, and Sam Shepard.

Darling Companion movie trailer


3. Must Love Dogs was released in 2005 and is based on Claire Cook’s 2002 novel of the same name. Directed by Gary David Goldberg, the film stars Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, and Christopher Plummer. At 40-something Sarah Nolan (Lane) dreads the thought of re-entering the dating scene. Her family has other ideas and creates an online personal ad that describes Sarah as, among other things, voluptuous. They include that any man of hers must love dogs. Two six-month-old Newfoundland puppies, Molly and Mabel, alternated for the role of Mother Theresa, the dog character in the film.

Must Love Dogs movie trailer


4. Beginners. When it comes to relationships, we’re all beginners. Directed by Mike Mills, the film shows us how deeply funny and transformative life can be, even at its most serious moments. Released in 2011, Beginners stars Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, and Goran Visnjic.

After the death of his mother, Oliver (McGregor) finds out his father (Plummer) has cancer. His father also announces that he’s gay, after being married to Oliver’s late mother for 38 years. Beginners is a story about how both father and son each find love. And Arthur, the Jack Russell Terrier, seems to be the only one holding everything in perspective by communicating in subtitles.

Beginners, the movie trailer


5. The Truth About Cats and Dogs was released in 1996. Directed by Michael Lehmann, the cast includes Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin, and Jamie Foxx. Abby Barnes, (Garofalo) is a veterinarian who has a successful radio talk show. Her best friend, Noelle Slusarsky (Thurman), is mistaken for Abby when Brian (a listener) comes to the studio to meet Abby. As the real Abby woos Brian over the phone and radio, Noelle, the pseudo-Abby, takes her place in person. Thank goodness for Hank, the big ole goofy dog in the film.

The Truth About Cats and Dogs movie trailer


6. The Art of Racing in the Rain. Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein and directed by Simon Curtis, the film’s cast includes Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Baker, Martin Donovan, Gary Cole, and Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo, the witty and philosophical dog.

Denny (Ventimiglia) is an aspiring Formula One race car driver. Enzo, his dog, has gained tremendous insight into the human condition through his bond with Denny. Enzo understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life.

Parker is the Golden Retriever who played Enzo in the film, which was released in 2019. The bond between Ventimiglia and Parker was so close during the filming, that Parker’s trainer worried about the dog’s stress level during a particularly emotional scene. Besides Parker, it took several canines to cover the span of Enzo’s life during filming: Butler, Solar, Orbit and 8 to 12 puppies.

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers in the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then, his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul for its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like. I learned that from a program on the National Geographic Channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready. I am ready.” –Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

The Art of Racing In The Rain movie trailer


7. Boundaries. Released in 2018, the film is directed by writer Shana Feste with a cast that includes Vera Farming and Christopher Plummer (starting to see a pattern here?). Yes, we love Christopher Plummer, and he loves dogs. Also in the cast: Lewis McDougall, Christoper Lloyd, and Peter Fonda.

Laura (Farming) is a single mom raising her 14 year-old son Henry (McDougall). When she finally agrees to meet with her estranged father Jack (Plummer), she is forced to drive him across country after he’s kicked out of yet another nursing home. Along the way, Laura cannot resist the urge to rescue stray dogs.

Boundaries movie trailer



8. A Dog’s Life starring Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp. Billed as his first million dollar movie, the silent film was released in April 1918.

In the movie, Charlie Chaplin plays a jobless man with few prospects for employment. He tries to steal food from a lunch cart and is nearly caught by a police officer. Later, Charlie saves a stray dog, Scraps, from other dogs and they become friends. In addition to Charlie Chaplin, the film’s cast includes Edna Purviance, Syd Chaplin, Henry Bergman, Charlie Reisner, and Albert Austin. Scraps is played by dog actor Mut, described as “a thoroughbred mongrel” in the film credits. The link for the full movie, about 35 minutes, is below. It’s a true classic.

A Dog’s Life, the full movie.

(if the link jumps a few seconds forward, roll back the film to the opening credits).


9. A Dog’s Purpose. Based on the best-selling book by W. Bruce Cameron, the cast of the 2017 film includes Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad (who voices the devoted dogs Toby, Bailey, Ellie, Tino, Waffles, Buddy) and Peggy Lipton. Lasses Hallstrom directed the film.

The story is about a dog who hopes to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners.

Prior to the film’s debut, the movie’s PR team invited The New Barker team to be part of its Florida promotion. As we were gearing up, promoting the film and giving away opening night passes, controversy hit when a video showing alleged animal abuse on the set was released by TMZ. PETA further sensationalized the scandal to serve its own cause. The film’s Los Angeles premiere was cancelled. The film went on to make $140.5 million worldwide, off a $22 million production budget.

Side notes: Bradley Cooper was originally slated to provide the voice of the dogs in A Dog’s Purpose. Director Hallstrom also directed Mitt liv som hund (My Life as a Dog), a 1985 Swedish film about a young boy who is sent to live with relatives. High tissue alert and strong adult content for My Life as a Dog (trailer). Hallstrom also directed Chocolat and The Hundred-Foot Journey. I mention these two films in this blog because they are two of my favorites (and they’re about food). Check them out if you need a break from watching dog movies.

A Dog’s Purpose movie trailer


10. A Dog’s Way Home. The 2019 film, directed by Charles Martin Smith, is the second in the 3-part A Dog’s Purpose series by W. Bruce Cameron. Cameron shares the screenplay writing credits with his wife, Cathryn Michon.

The story chronicles the adventures of Bella, (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) a dog who embarks on a 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her human. The cast includes Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, and Alexandra Shipp. Several dog stars are in the film, including Shelby (who plays Bella), Gusto, Murphy, Jaime, Harlan, and Sarge.

A Dog’s Way Home movie trailer


11. A Dog’s Journey. Released in 2019, the film is the third in the 3-part A Dog’s Purpose series. It’s based on the 2012 novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron and stars Josh Gad (again as the dog’s voice), Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott, and Henry Lau. This film is directed by Gail Mancuso.

Bailey, an elderly St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd mix, is living his best life with his owner Ethan and wife Hannah. Their perfect world starts to unravel when their daughter-in-law decides to move away with their granddaughter. Soon, Ethan discovers a big lump in Bailey’s stomach. As Ethan holds Bailey in his arms, he whispers his final words, asking the dog to take care of their granddaughter, C.J. Then, the story of Bailey’s new life, taking on another purpose, unfolds.

A Dog’s Journey movie trailer



12. My Dog Skip. One of my favorite stories, based on the autobiographical novel of the same name, authored by Willie Morris.

Against his father’s wishes, Willie’s mother gives him a Jack Russell Terrier for his ninth birthday. Growing up in the early 1940s with Skip by his side fundamentally changes several aspects of Willie’s life. Released in March 2000, directed by Jay Russell, the cast includes Frankie Muniz as Willie, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, and Kevin Bacon. The film is narrated by Harry Connick Jr.

My Dog Skip won the Broadcast Film Critics Award for “Best Family Film” for the year 2000. It grossed $35,512,760 worldwide on a $4.5 million budget. Three dog actors played the part of Skip: Sweetie is Skip as a puppy. Enzo as Skip throughout most of the film, and Moose as a senior Skip.

My Dog Skip movie trailer


13. The Sandlot. This 1993 classic takes place in the summer of 1963. Scotty, the new kid in town, is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team. When the team’s catcher hits a home run into a backyard, Scotty attempts to retrieve the ball but is stopped by one of the other boys. The Beast, a junkyard dog, is on the other side. Neighborhood legend has the dog so big and savage, that many baseballs have been hit and lost into the yard over the years.

“Man, this is baseball. You gotta stop thinking.”

Directed by David Mickey Evans, the cast includes Art Lafleur (as The Babe), Tom Guiry, Mike Vita, Patrick Renna, Marty York, Denis Leary, Karen Allen, and James Earl Jones. The Beast – a.k.a. Hercules, is an English Mastiff. Two dog actors played The Beast in the film (with a bit of puppetry thrown in for good measure).

The Sandlot movie trailer


14. Because of Winn Dixie. This is a good family film based on the children’s novel written by Kate DiCamillio in 2000. The film, directed by Wayne Wang, was released in 2005, with a cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Eva Marie Saint, and introduces AnnaSophia Robb as Opal. Dave Matthews, with guitar in hand, appears as Otis.

After moving to a town in Florida with her father, lonely Opal is soon adopted by a dog she names Winn Dixie. As film critic Roger Ebert wrote of the film, “It’s similar to the movie My Dog Skip. The difference between the two films is that My Dog Skip is made with a complexity that appeals to adults as much as children, while Because of Winn Dixie seems pretty firmly aimed at middle school children and younger.”

Lyco and Scott, Picardy Shepherds, were hired to portray Winn Dixie in the film.

Because of Winn Dixie movie trailer



15. Best In Show. Whether you’ve never seen this movie, or haven’t seen it in some time, now is as good a time as any, since laughter is the best medicine. Billed as a mockumentary comedy, the film was co-written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy. Released in 2000, it features a cast of characters – humans and dogs – competing at a national dog show. The cast includes Levy and Guest alongside Parker Posey, Catherine O’Hara, Michael Hitchcock, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, and so many more.

Christopher Guest, who portrayed Nigel Tufnel in This Is Spinal Tap(1984) and Count Tyrone Rugen in The Princess Bride(1987)—and his wife, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, had two dogs, leading the writer/director to make frequent trips to the local dog park. “There were people with purebred dogs, with mutts and so on, and as I mingled with them I started thinking that this might be an interesting idea to explore in a movie,” Guest said in the film’s official production notes. Guest called fellow writer/actor Eugene Levy with his idea and the two collaborated on what was a mostly improvisational film (the script was only 16 pages long) that would become a cult classic.

While doing research for the film, Levy attended many dog shows and said of them, “It’s a very unusual world. I was surprised at the intensity involved. This is a full-time thing for these people; they live and breathe dog shows and every weekend, they’re out there traveling hundreds of miles to spend several hours sitting with the dog before going in the ring for sixty seconds of fame. What is it that drives people to do this?”

By the way, no dog club would allow the crew to film on-site, so the filmmakers had to create their own imaginary dog show, The Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show.

Best In Show movie trailer



16. The Secret Life Of Pets. The quiet life of a Terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray dog. Released in 2016 and co-directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, the animated adventure comedy features a who’s who of actors voicing the characters. Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, and Dana Carvey, to name a few.

Side note: Universal’s corporate synergy is high in this film. Billboards for NBC Universal properties The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live can be seen on buildings outside the apartment building. Another sign has the YouTube logo and says, “Most Viewed Video Of The Day.”

The Secret Life Of Pets movie trailer


The Secret Life Of Pets II movie trailer


17. Frankenweenie. The Tim Burton film is a stop-motion, black and white animated comedy inspired by The Bride of Frankenstein. Burton employed about 33 animators to produce five seconds of film per week.

The story involves young Victor Frankenstein and his dog Sparky, who runs into the street and is blindsided by a car. Victor is heartbroken, burying the dog under a tombstone. Victor is also a science-crazy kid with a weird laboratory set up in his attic. The frogs in his lab inspire him to dig up Sparky and smuggle him into the attic. You can probably guess the rest. Sparky has much the same manic personality as before, “although like your cellphone, he sometimes needs to be recharged,” wrote movie critic Roger Ebert. And, his tail or an ear will fly off when he becomes too eager.

Released in 2012, the cast of actors voicing the characters include Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan (as Victor), and Winona Ryder.

Side Note: Burton originally made a short film for Disney, Frankenweenie, in 1984 starring Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern, Sophia Coppola, and Barret Oliver. The link to that movie trailer is just below the 2012 Frankenweenie movie trailer.

Frankenweenie (2012) movie trailer

Frankenweenie (1984) movie trailer


18. Cats and Dogs. Directed by Lawrence Guterman, the film was released in 2001. There’s a high-tech espionage war going on between cats and dogs, of which humans are blissfully unaware. The movie combines live action with animation and stars Jeff Goldblum and Elizabeth Perkins. A cast of actors voice the dogs and cats, including Toby Maguire, Alec Baldwin, Sean Hayes, Susan Sarandon, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Lovitz, and Charlton Heston.

Cats and Dogs movie trailer


19. My Dog Tulip. There is just not a more beautiful description of this lovely film than the one by film critic Roger Ebert. “My Dog Tulip is the story of a man who finds love only once in his life, for 15 perfect years. It is the love of a dog. It may be the only love he is capable of experiencing. As other men write books about a woman in their life, J.R. Ackerley wrote a book about a German Shepherd he rescued from a cruel home. My Dog Tulip has been a private discovery by many readers for years, and now it becomes an animated film that combines elating visuals with a virtuoso voice performance by Christopher Plummer.” Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini also lend their voices to the film.

While animated, the film is not intended for children. It is told from and by an adult in a tone that understands loneliness, gratitude and the intense curiosity we feel for other lives, man and dog.

Released in 2011, the film was directed and animated by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger. It’s Fierlinger’s beautiful watercolors that come to life with animation.

Ebert adds, “My Dog Tulip has no stupid plot, no contrived suspense. Tulip grows old and dies, as must we all. J.R. Ackerley misses her and writes a book about his loss. Through this dog, he knew love. And through J.R., so did Tulip.”

Side Note: In 1946 (the year his mother died) Ackerley acquired an Alsatian Shepherd named Queenie, the dog who became his primary companion for the next 15 years of his life. Those were the most productive years of the writer’s life. In 1961, Queenie died. Ackerley, who had lost a brother and both parents, described it as “the saddest day of my life.”

My Dog Tulip movie trailer

Sometimes love really is a bitch.

The New Barker Advertising Partner Resource Guide and Business Updates

We’ve compiled a resource guide of The New Barker advertising partners and will continue to update it as necessary. Please copy and paste the link in your Notes app so that you may refer back for news and updates. Please also consider supporting these businesses, now, by purchasing gift certificates. Another way to offer support is to follow them on their Facebook pages (links included below) and maybe send them a positive note. Each one of our advertising partners has been there for us, over the years, whenever we’ve asked for their help with fundraising efforts and donations in support of animal advocacy, animal shelter and animal rescue. They need us now, more than ever.

Cagan Farmers’ Market
600 Cagan Park Ave., Clermont

  • Friday, March 20 was our last market until the end of the month and then we will let our fans know, as things progress, when we may reopen. We are working on a contact list of our vendors in the event you would like to reach them, and will post that shortly. Check in with us on Facebook.

Dog-Mania & Cats
37846 Meridian Ave., Dade City

  • *** CURBSIDE PICKUP *** To help keep you and your fuzzy ones safe from posable Coronavirus exposure, Dog-Mania & Cats is offering curbside pickup. Call us to place your order and we’ll have it ready for you. 352.467.9622. Keep up to date with us via Facebook.

Imagine That Boutique, 3417 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa 813.902.8428. Shop with us online at Imagine That Style. Follow us on Facebook for updates.

Nature’s Food Patch
1225 Cleveland St., Clearwater
966 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

  • Hello Patch Family, We are writing to let you know that we are open and here for you. For now, our store hours at both locations are the same as always. Our shelves are pretty well-stocked, and we have been getting regular deliveries. Our amazing team has been doing their very best to keep the shelves stocked & to serve you the very best that they can. Please be courteous to our team members during this difficult time. We could all use a little positivity.

One Lucky Dog
5320 4th St. N., St. Petersburg

  • One Lucky Dog remains open at this time to provide safe service to all. We continue to use updated hygiene practices by the CDC that are good to follow in all seasons. Our staff are being asked to stay home and take care of themselves if they, or their family members, are ill. If you are not feeling well, please call us and we will provide options for your dog’s care. Please continue to schedule appointments for grooming and shop for dog food and treats as we are here to help with all of your pet’s needs.  727.527.5825.

Our House Is A Very Fine House
475 Main St., Dunedin

The Doggie Bag 1702 E. Edgewood Drive, Lakeland 863.683.6220. We are open 10a-6p, offering curbside and delivery services. Delivery service fees are waived at this time. Please call us with your order, payment and we’ll have it ready for you to pick up. The Doggie Bag A Pet Boutique is here for you, Lakeland pet lovers. We’re getting deliveries of shipment in and are fully stocked.

Pawsitively Pure Dog Food

  • If you need dog food, treats, or broth, we deliver right to your door so you don’t have to face the lines at the grocery stores. Click here to see our products and start shopping. Thank you for supporting local independent.

Pet Food Warehouse1830 61st Ave N-Town Plaza Center

  • Closed to WALK-IN traffic at Pet Food Warehouse Beginning on Saturday, March 21st, due to the effects of this global health crisis and our sincere concern for our customers, staff, and their families, we are offering Curbside Service orders. Call us at727.521.6191 or email your order request to Our store hours will be as follows, until further notice:
    • Sunday 🐾Temporarily closed on Sundays
    • Monday🐾Noon-6
    • Tuesday🐾Noon-6
    • Wednesday🐾Noon-6
    • Thursday 🐾Noon-6
    • Friday 🐾Noon-6
    • Saturday🐾Noon-6

Tampa Bay Markets

  • As an effort to keep the public safe we are following the guidelines issued by the CDC for large events and will be closing all scheduled events left on the calendar for the month of March.

The Black Dog, 386 Saint Armands Circle, Sarasota 941.953.1409
As a family-owned company, the health and well-being of our pack – customers, employees and partners – is our highest priority. In order to do our part to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are taking this time to “paws” for the greater good by closing all US general stores until April 7th, 2020. Additionally, we can no longer process website orders at this time. Our warehouse is located in the state of Massachusetts, which is currently under a “stay at home” advisory by Governor Baker. Please check back on April 7th for updates and changes to our policies in place. Our Customer Service Team is working safely from home and available from Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm EST for any questions you may have. Please email or call 800-626-1991.


Country Oaks Animal Hospital 1412 Belcher Rd., Palm Harbor. 727.785.6524
Dr. Elizabeth Baird, DVM, CVPP

Country Oaks Animal Hospital will be offering drop off visits for clients. Drop off visits are when your pet is left here at the hospital, examined by the doctor and picked up later in the day.- We may ask that some routine appointments/surgeries be scheduled in the future to minimize person to person interaction- Nail trims and anal gland expression appointments will be postponed for the next two-three weeks- Whether you have an appointment scheduled or would like to drop your pet off, we can come meet you curbside and bring your pet in while you wait in the comfort of your car, minimizing person-to-person contact- For all routine non-sick appointments. We will be coming to the car and getting your pet and taking your pet inside the hospital for exam. Payment will be done outside as well.  – Prescription refills-we are having you pay over the phone for refills and a staff member will bring the medication to your car.

Animal Hospital Of Dunedin 1355 Pinehurst Rd., Dunedin 727.733.9351
Dr. Gregory Todd

  • As of now, Animal Hospital of Dunedin is remaining open with normal business hours to continue to serve the needs of our patients and community. Any updates to our schedule will be posted right here on our Facebook page.
  • CLICK HERE to view full post

Cross Creek Animal Medical 19323 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa – 813.994.6929
Dr. Timothy D. Hodge

  • As if you want to read more about Covid-19… We want you to know we take this serious and are taking the following steps to do our part. YES, WE ARE STILL OPEN TO SEE YOUR PETS.
  • CLICK HERE to view full post

Davis Island Animal Clinic 225 E. Davis Blvd., Tampa 813.251.4384. We’re open, seeing one patient/client at a time. We have been asked/tasked to stop all elective/non-emergency surgeries. We are seeing routine medical problems and concerns.

Harmony Vet Care 5420 Webb Road, Tampa. 813.871.0850

  • Saturday, March 21st, was our last walk in vaccine clinic until further notice. Remaining walk in vaccine clinics: 
    • Thursday, March 19th, 9am-4pm
    • Friday, March 20th, 9am-4pm
    • Saturday, March 21st, 9am-4pm
  • This is in effort to space out our exams and increase our social distancing, while focusing our efforts on the sick and injured pets who need medical attention during COVID 19. You will still be able to receive preventative health care, but will need to schedule an appointment. Exams up until 4 pm are $36 and after 4 pm are $45. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation! Follow us on Facebook for updates.

Medicine River Animal Hospital 13495 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach 727.299.9029
Dr. Shawna L. Green, DVM

  • Medicine River Animal Hospital is limiting appointments, for now, to medically necessary only and need to try and postpone all elective procedures. Our team has been very busy confirming appointments and updating you daily to these quickly changing protocols. Please be patient with us as we try and service all your needs to the best of our ability. This is a stressful, uncertain time that we are all going through.

Urgent Pet Care of S. Tampa 4241 Henderson Blvd., Tampa 813.289.4086
Dr. Shelly Marquardt, DVM
4241 Henderson Blvd., Tampa

  • WE ARE OPEN. We at “URGENT PET CARE of SOUTH TAMPA” are practicing all guidelines directed by the CDC, we ask that you do not come in to our office if you are sick, have tested positive or been exposed to someone who has, or who have traveled in the past 14 days. Please have a designated person lined up to bring your pet in should you have an emergency, if that is not possible call our office and we will direct you as to what we will need to do to keep everyone safe.


Fuzzie Buddies
1212 N 34th St., Tampa.

  • In the light of the recent Coronavirus and all of the challenges it is posing throughout every level of our community, the Board of Directors of Fuzzie Buddies has decided to a temporary close of Fuzzie Buddies effective March 20, 2020 at 7pm for 15 days. Please follow us on Facebook for updates. Thank you to our staff and loyal clients for your support.

Pasadena Pet Motel 
6735 Gulfport Blvd. S., S. Pasadena

  • We ask that our Pasadena Pet Motel clients please follow this protocol with us:
    • · Please call us at 727.345.2852 when you come into the parking lot for drop off’s and pick up’s.
    • · One of our staff members will meet you at your vehicle and get your dog and their belongings, or bring you your dog and their belongings.
    • · All dogs must have a leash and collar already securely on to where the dog cannot slip out of their collar. Also, no retractable leashes will be allowed 
    • · For payment method, we would prefer when you pick up that you call in your credit card information from the parking lot. This will help in lessoning exposure through the handling of cash and checks.
  • Since this protocol is not our norm, please be patient with the process. Allow yourself more time than usual for this updated drop off and pick up process. Thank you to all of our clients for understanding, and supporting our small business! We will also be helping our local seniors and other less fortunate locals in need

Paws Inn Paradise
10700 66th St. N., Pinellas Park. 

  • For those of you not comfortable with coming into our building, we are more than welcome to come out & get your dog or bring them out to you. Please be sure to provide payment over the phone &/or provide instructions prior to pick up/drop off. Please be patient as we may be helping other clients. We are here if you need anything!! 727.520.7297 or text us at 629-90
  • Stay connected with us for updates

Love My Dog Resort Downtown 928 18th St. N., St. Petersburg 727.826.0102

A message for Medical Professionals and First Responders: Love My Dog Resort Downtown is extending its doggie daycare hours to better accommodate those working the frontline during our national crisis. 6:30am drop off and 8pm pick up. We have curbside drop off and pick up.

Natures Pet Loss 646 W. Jefferson St., Brooksville 352.777.4990.

We, at Natures Pet Loss, want to keep everyone’s health in mind. From here forward we will be reducing our showroom/memorial room hours to 9a-3p and Saturdays 10a-2p. For our employee’s health and yours we will still be doing at home pick-ups but will have you bring your pet out to us driveway/curbside. We are also available weekends/after hours for emergencies 24/7 by calling 352-777-4990. We care about you and your health! Be well and God bless you and your families. Call if you have questions. Thank you


Bayshore Dog Training We are OPEN for business! We are offering both In-home AND online training at this time. For in-home training, we are following CDC guidelines and will be taking all measures needed to make it a safe and healthy environment. We know that dogs need training no matter what is going on in the world, and we are here to help! Contact us with any questions, and stay safe!

The Canine Company 813.200.4204. Phone and online training consultation.

STK9 Dog Training 813.200.4204. Phone and online training consultation.

Sarasota Dog Wizard 7909 34th Ave. East, Bradenton 941.866.0234. Call us for phone and online consultations.


PetStyles by Jennifer
426 Patricia Ave., Dunedin

  • Yes we are OPEN! 727.736.2468 
  • We have openings for small and large dogs over the next few days. If we do get stuck in our homes, clean dogs are a must! We are taking extra precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible It’s a good time to take advantage of contactless pay. Apple Pay, etc. Everyone stay safe from all of us at PetStyles by Jennifer.


Safer Home Pest Service
4190 112th Ter N, Clearwater

  • This letter also serves to inform you that Safer Home Services will continue to operate our normal Monday through Saturday hours for your convenience.If you have questions about your regular service or are experiencing a pest control or termite problem please call 1-833-NOT-1-BUG. We will do our best to provide you with the level of service and satisfaction you’ve come to expect from Safer Home Services. 

Stanley Steemer

  • We understand that many of our customers have questions about our services and the steps we are taking to ensure their safety and that of our employees. Read more about our updated procedures:


Bella’s Italian Cafe 1413 S. Howard Ave., Tampa 813.254.3355

We will continue to offer curbside pickup with a 10% discount, along with our mobile delivery partners: DoorDash, MobileMeals and UberEats. Additionally, we are now authorized to sell sealed beer and wine through curbside pickup. A valid ID will be required. We are investigating selling alcohol through our delivery partners and will update you if/when that happens. To Order Curbside Pickup from Bella’s Italian Cafe:

1. Check out our current takeout menu, which includes our beer and wine lists, and call us at (813) 254-3355 to place your order.

2. Pull in to one of our reserved parking spots.

3. We’ll bring your order out to you!

Brew-D-Licious 667 Central Ave., St. Petersburg 727.741.2249 – Closed temporarily until further notice. For updates, follow us on Facebook. 

Columbia Restaurants All Florida Locations – Closed until further notice.

Goody Goody Burgers 1601 W. Swann Ave., Tampa. Closed temporarily until further notice. Stay connected with us on Facebook.

ULELE On The Riverwalk, Tampa. Closed temporarily until further notice. Stay connected with us on Facebook.

ChaCha Coconuts 417 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota. Closed temporarily until further notice. Stay connected with us on Facebook.

A message from Richard Gonzmart, President, Columbia Restaurant Group 4th Generation Family Member: Thank you for all your birthday wishes during this difficult most time for my staff and family. For those of you who wonder what you can do for my birthday, please consider buying a Columbia Restaurant gift card that will 100% will benefit our nearly 1,400 employees that have been furloughed. Click on the link below:

For any purchases between now and the end of April, 100 percent of the money will go to our Columbia Restaurant Group Employee Assistance Fund, a pool of money that will be provided to our employees at all of our brands. 

And for this period, for any purchase of $500, we’ll add another $50. 

Thank you for your support!  Together, We’ll Get Through This! Here’s to life and embracing each day with gratitude, passion, compassion, empathy, kindness, integrity, faith and purpose! —Richard

Cob & Pen 1221 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland. 863.937.8126.

New Hours  New Menu 7 days a week, 11am-8pm. Our new curbside & pick up menu!! Call in and pick up, or use one of our delivery partners, Grub Hub or Bite Squad. #supportlkld 🦢

Dog Bar St. Pete 2300 Central Ave., St. Pete. 727.317.4968

Closed temporarily until further notice  We are offering a human-free doggie play zone from Noon-7p. Follow Dog Bar St. Pete on Facebook for daily updates.

Grace Pass-A-Grille 120 8th Avenue, St. Pete Beach

We are offering takeout and curbside pick-up. Dine-in is no longer available for now. We will be offering the same amazing food & service but To Go!  We are also offering bottled Wine 🍷 for sale! Our new hours will be 11:30 to 7:30 🕢 Until further notice. We are here to provide fresh food to our community, and appreciate your continued support! Please Call ☎️ 727.317.4770 to Place Orders. We at Grace Restaurant thank you. If able Please Share! #eatatgrace

Pete & Shorty’s Clearwater and Pinellas Park locations Well we knew it was coming and here we are! Moving to TO-GO only! Order Curbside at 727-799-0580 or Delivery which is available through Uber Eats and Bite Squad! Wishing everyone the best through this difficult time and hope to see you all inside the restaurant on a positive note soon!

Pete and Shorty’s Iowa Bistro Clearwater: 2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd. 727-799-0580

Pete and Shorty’s Iowa Bistro Pinellas Park: 7402 49th St. N. 727.549.8000.

Sea Sea Riders Restaurant 221 Main St., Dunedin 727.734.1445. We are temporarily closed. Please follow us on Facebook for updates.

Swah-Rey Dessert Bar 2105 Central Avenue and 625 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

We opened #swahrey almost 5yrs ago as a place for great Desserts🧁 to be served with Kindness and to be part of the Heart & Soul of St Petersburg. We have closed both locations and 100% plan to reopen our stores. In the meantime, please stay home to stay safe. We at swah-rey wish everyone good health as our country and our world works through this trying time.

Sweet Sage Cafe 16725 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. 727.391.0453.

To accommodate our neighbors & shut-in out of town guests Sweet Sage Cafe (8:30am – 2pm) & My Happy Place (11am – 6pm) will be open for take-out food

Tangelo’s Grille 3121 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport 727.894.1695.

Tangelo’s is open for To Go Food beginning at 9 am. Call us at 727.894.1695 to place your order. Drop by, pick up some food and have a picnic in beautiful Veteran’s Park in Gulfport! Come taste our fresh batch of Mimosa Pops popsicles.

Tamiami Tap 711 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota 941.500.3182. We have temporarily paused operations. Please follow us on Facebook for updates.

The Galley St. Pete 27 4th St. N., St. Petersburg 727.575.7071 👉FOOD – BEER – WINE – LIQUOR-PACKAGE DRINKS TO GO !!! 🍻

We’re rolling with the changes St. Pete. Our dining room is closed at this time but our to-go window is in full service!  25% OFF EVERYTHING ⚓️ 11:30AM-10PM GRATUITY GRACIOUSLY ACCEPTED! ❤️ Keep us in your thoughts and follow us on Facebook for updates.

The Honu 516 Grant Street, Dunedin 727.333.7777

To go and free delivery (within 5 miles) at The HONU. Alcohol is available for purchase along with our housemate Blueberry Sangria in growlers and to-go Tiki Cocktails. Call 727.400.7273. We appreciate you all and are here to brighten your day! – MAHALO!!! 

The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille Clearwater Beach – 483 Mandalay Ave. 727.441.6000 and 741 Bayway Blvd. 727.286.8906. The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille has temporarily closed. Please stay connected via social media for updates.

Wildflower Cafe 1465 S. Ft. Harrison, Clearwater 727.447.4497 – Good NEW News!!! Skip the drive-thru and try one of our delicious housemade meals, packed and ready for you to finish in the oven. Wildflower Cafe and Market are both open for take out/pick up Monday-Sunday, 9a-3p. Limited delivery area available including Morton Plant Hospital.

Some of our furiends who love The New Barker Dog Magazine: Annie, Benny, Max, Sanibel, and Scout. Photography by Tina K. VaLant.

I See Dog People

by Anna Cooke, editor, The New Barker Dog Magazine

Every dog has a story, as told by its human. Often heard is, “the more I meet people, the more I like dogs.” But, to me, the more dogs I meet with their people, the more people I end up really liking.

People tend to show a vulnerable side when they’re talking about their dogs. We met three people and their dogs during Gulfport’s Get Rescued event on Saturday, February 22, 2020, and listened to their stories.

Robin and Jezebel, Gulfport, FL

Robin was riding around in her custom golf cart with her Silky Terrier when I met her during Gulfport’s Get Rescued. She named the cart Jezebel’s Ride, after her dog.

Robin’s computer was set up to alert her of small dogs awaiting their fate at kill shelters around Florida. She would make arrangements to have them pulled, transported and adopted. One morning, nine years ago, the window popped up on the computer screen with a picture of Jezebel. She was scheduled to be euthanized in two days for no apparent reason other than for space issues. Traveling a couple of hours from her home, Robin was determined she would adopt the dog. Sensing there could be trouble, she had cash in one pocket, and an extra bit of insurance in the other pocket.

When she showed the shelter employee the photo of the Silky, he simply replied the dog was not available for adoption. This was a high-kill shelter, he explained, and once a dog was scheduled to be euthanized, the file was closed. There was only one way out if a dog was owner-surrendered or found as a stray, and it was by way of the incinerator out back. Robin pulled out the wad of cash and placed it on the counter. The employee looked at the money, then back at Robin and said, “No, this dog is scheduled to be euthanized.”

Robin continued telling me her story from her golf cart, while Jezebel calmly took in the sites on Gulf Boulevard. “I was not leaving without the dog, and took my .38 out of my other pocket, gently placed it next to the cash on the counter and said to the man, ‘We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. It’s your call.’ I left with Jezebel shortly thereafter. She’s been my constant companion ever since.” ###

Tippy Finegan, Gulfport, FL

Gulfport, Florida artist Eagle Finegan said she had always had bigger dogs, as she handed me Tippy to hold. The tiny Yorkie looked up at me, licked my nose, then placed her head under my chin to snuggle. “She’s taken a liking to you. That’s the first time she’s stopped shaking all morning,” Eagle said.

While Tippy and I were bonding, Eagle continued to set up her art for the day’s event. “Tippy was a meth dog when she was confiscated,” Eagle said.

How does one not want to know more about a dog’s back story with a lead-in like that? It turns out, Tippy was part of a drug bust, somewhere in Mississippi. “The occupants were cooking meth all day and night. Tippy was the only dog the officers found alive in the house. Well, barely alive from inhaling meth. That, and she was full of worms,” said Eagle.

“I’ve always had two dogs – a younger dog and a senior dog,” Eagle went on. “When the older dog passed, I’d always adopt a younger dog.” This arrangement ensured Eagle always had at least one dog in her home at any given time. About eight years ago, when she was down to one dog, she let her veterinarian know that she was looking for a Belgian Malinois, should one become available. A few weeks later, Eagle’s veterinarian called and asked her to come to the clinic.

“He came around the corner and handed me this little dog. ‘What am I supposed to do with this?’ I asked him. Then, Tippy kissed me and that was it. I was in love.” ###

Apollo, Gulfport, FL

Cheryl Thacker is the volunteer secretary for the rescue group Florida Giant Dog Rescue. She was at Gulfport’s Get Rescued event with several big dogs, including Apollo, a beautiful 18-month-old Cane Corso. Apollo was recently surrendered to the rescue when his owner found out that his dog had a blockage, requiring expensive surgery the family could not afford. The surgery, depending on the complexity of the blockage, could cost anywhere from $900 to $3,000. Heartbroken, the owner reached out to Florida Giant Dog Rescue.

“We have the funds to take care of the surgery,” Cheryl told me. She also said that, somehow, they would eventually reunite Apollo with his family. That’s not something a rescue group normally does.

“Karma. How could we not? It’s just the right thing to do,” said Cheryl, while stroking Apollo. ###

Full Speed Ahead

A love of racing becomes the vehicle to help save dogs.

by Anna Cooke – first published in the spring 2009 issue of The New Barker dog magazine.

The following feature appeared in the spring 2009 issue of The New Barker dog magazine. Cover art by Alli Bell.

“Winning the Daytona 500 was a dream come true,” said Ryan Newman, who considers that win a tribute to his father, “for everything he had done for me to support and encourage my career.” As a kid, Ryan’s dad Greg would take him to Daytona each year for the 500. They made fake passes with construction paper and glitter, “so I could sneak into the garage and meet the drivers,” said Ryan.

After the 2008 Daytona 500 win, Ryan said, “I could hear my dad’s tear drops over the radio while he spotted for me as I came to the start-finish line to win.” We caught up with Ryan earlier this year during the week prior to the 2009 Daytona 500. He had just won his first career Modified race at New Smyrna Speedway. 

To NASCAR fans, Ryan Newman is known as Rocket Man for his qualifying prowess. To the pet companion world, he and his wife Krissie are known more for their fundraising prowess when it comes to saving the lives of adoptable animals. NASCAR is just the vehicle, so to speak, that drives their efforts. A 2001 graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Vehicle Structure Engineering, the South Bend, Indiana native took his talent and followed his dream straight to the racetracks of NASCAR’s premiere division, the Sprint Cup Series.

Now in his eighth full season of Sprint Cup, the decision appears to have paid off well. In just his third-ever Cup start in May 2001 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, NC, Newman shot to the top of the speed chart during qualifying and earned the number one spot for the Coca-Cola 600. That feat sent a buzz throughout the Sprint Cup garage circuit: Newman would be a force to be reckoned with during each and every qualifying season. He has not disappointed his fans. In 260 Sprint Cup starts, Newman has earned 43 pole positions, and has led the series in pole wins four times. Time and again, starting in the number one spot has given Ryan a distinct advantage, scoring top ten finishes in half of those races. He has collected 13 Sprint Cup wins, including winning the 50th annual running of “The Great American Race,” the Daytona 500 in 2008. 

In 2004, Ryan and his wife Krissie were at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia when a woman approached them. “She handed Krissie a piece of paper that described how the family’s five dogs had been taken from them by animal control and placed into quarantine,” described Ryan.  The family knew nothing about spay/neuter and as a result, the dogs continued to mate and produce puppies. They didn’t have the money to care for the growing number of dogs, nor could they afford to have the dogs spayed or neutered.

“The woman knew that Krissie and I were animal lovers and just asked if we would help her by taking her dogs,” said Ryan. It was an eye-opening experience for Ryan and his wife, who had both been thinking about setting up a foundation, but had not really focused full-time on what the foundation should or could do. That’s when the realization hit them both. No one in NASCAR had a foundation that was doing something for animals. And educating people about the benefits of spay/neuter had the potential to save the lives of millions of companion pets each year.

A year later, in 2005, the Ryan Newman Foundation was founded as part of The NASCAR Foundation’s family of charities. The Newmans believe that making a difference should start in one’s own backyard. As residents of North Carolina, the Foundation opened SNIP (Spay Neuter Initiative Partnership) Regional Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2007 in Hickory, North Carolina.  Since it’s inception, the Foundation has donated $400,000 to the Humane Society of Catawba County (HSCC) capital campaign to build a low-cost, spay/neuter clinic.  The multipurpose facility at HSCC includes the SNIP Clinic, a no-kill animal shelter and an education center. The clinic currently serves ten counties in the heart of NASCAR country.

Ryan and Krissie are also spokespersons for the Humane Alliance’s National Spay Neuter Response Team (NSNRT) which operates much like a NASCAR pit crew. Groups of trained veterinarians and vet techs are sent out to help nonprofit organizations learn how to open spay/neuter clinics using the Humane Alliance model. Since 2005, the NSNRT initiative has trained and mentored 42 organizations across the country, including the Humane Society of Catawba County. Another success story is the Humane Alliance of Western North Carolina, which has operated a nonprofit high volume, high quality, affordable spay/neuter clinic for 12 years. Since it’s inception, the clinic has spay/neutered 180,000 companion animals. The euthanasia rate in the Asheville community has been reduced by 72%, proving to the locals that spay/neuter does work to save lives.

“Krissie is really an integral part of the foundation,” said Ryan. He described how Krissie and Ryan Newman Foundation Executive Director Rosalie De Fini traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi in 2005 with Ryan Newman Motorsports executive assistant, Michelle Croom. “It was September, 2005, a month after Hurricane Katrina hit and destroyed the Gulf Coast,” explained Ryan. The group volunteered and donated a busload of supplies for people and their pets and a tractor trailer load of pet food.  They spent a week traveling to New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and Slidell, Louisiana to distribute supplies and food. The Ryan Newman Foundation also donated $19,000 in grants to non-profit animal welfare organizations that were rescuing abandoned animals and helping families with pets.

Though he was named the Dale Earnhardt Toughest Driver of the Year in 2003 by The Sporting News, it’s clear Ryan Newman has a soft spot for animals. Ryan now drives the #39 U.S. Army Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing. His teammate is two-time Sprint Cup champ, Tony Stewart.  His purpose for joining the team was to have fun racing and to win.

With all due respect to the Stewart-Haas Racing Team, Ryan and Krissie are already a formidable team to be reckoned with, having proven themselves winners in the human race.

SIDEBAR from the 2009 Interview with Ryan and Krissie Newman:

Ryan and Krissie currently have five dogs, all adopted.They have fostered as many as 18 dogs at any given time on their 65 acre property in the country. The dogs all have free access to the property.

Digger is a Shepherd/Doberman mix that Krissie brought to the relationship. “She is our tripod. Her leg had to be amputated after an infection developed from a snake bite,” said Ryan. Harley is a Lab/Pit/Boxer mix. Mopar is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. “He was abandoned on our property.” Socks, “is a full-blooded Lab from his father’s side, but a full-blooded tramp from his mom’s side,” laughed Ryan. Fred is a Lab/Pit mix, another abandoned dog Ryan and Krissie found and adopted. 

When not on the road, a typical day for the Newmans revolves around their dogs. “The toughest thing about having all of them is sharing the love,” said Ryan. “We wake up, feed them and let them outside. Squirrels to dogs are like cotton candy to a kid. Digger knocks on the door to come back in. If no one responds, she will continue to knock every 30 seconds until she’s let inside,” said Ryan. And coming home after being on the road? “They love it when we come home. Digger won’t stop barking for us. They all jump up to greet us. Socks, who has the personality of a cat, is so animated. She jumps on us from behind. Fred…he’s just jealous and pushes everyone away to get our undivided attention. It’s great to come home to them.”

The Ryan Newman Foundation is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization established in January, 2005. The mission of the foundation is to educate and encourage people to spay/neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters; to educate children and adults about the importance of conservation so the beauty of the great outdoors can be appreciated by future generations; and to provide college scholarship funding through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program for students interested in auto racing careers.  Visit

What Kind Of Dog Will You Find Through Rescue?

“You have no idea what a best friend is until you’ve worked together.” A girl and her rescue dog.

by Anna Cooke

Well yes, sometimes a rescue dog truly does need rescuing. Maggie had spent the first seven months of her life inside an Alabama animal shelter. When volunteers from Ewenity Farm Herding Dog Haven offered to take her, life was looking up for her. Understandably, Maggie would need someone with patience to help bring out the best dog she had inside of her.

Stephanie Cox knew she had her work cut out for her when she adopted Maggie. As with most challenges, we never know the level of difficulty we’re facing until we’re deep into it. 

Maggie was afraid of life; of everything around her. “She was afraid of cars, even parked cars,” said Stephanie. “And she definitely didn’t like car rides.” This was just one of many challenges the two faced, early in their relationship. Maggie did not want to let Stephanie out of her site, and a car ride was necessary for their weekly obedience classes. They managed, and after completing basic obedience, Stephanie decided to work with Maggie in agility.

“She is not a couch potato kind of dog. I felt she would do well with an activity like agility,” said Stephanie, whose other dog, Diamond, excels in the sport. She set up a course in her backyard, and Maggie loved it. However, classes at the dog training club proved to be another challenge. Maggie panicked in the agility ring, and then froze every time.

“I cried many times during agility class,” said Stephanie. “There were moments, driving home together, when I wondered if I was doing the right thing for Maggie. I was worried that she might feel I was punishing her.” 

Support from other members of the Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club continued to gently encourage Stephanie and Maggie. “We just worked on her confidence. And my confidence as well,” Stephanie said. “I had to learn not to stress over anything Maggie was doing; to understand the process and the journey we were both on.”

When we met with Maggie and Stephanie last year, Maggie had already won her Novice title in four trials. “I knew she always had it in her,” said Stephanie.

In an agility trial, a dog demonstrates her agile nature and versatility by following cues from her handler through a timed obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and other objects. “The bonding experience is incredible,” said Stephanie. “You have no idea what a best friend is until you’ve worked together.” 

Stephanie reiterates that there are no lost causes. Whenever her two young children are faced with a challenge, Stephanie reminds them, “Remember Maggie?”

Every dog requires a certain amount of time to find her way in life and fit into the dynamics of her new environment. 

“Maggie always had grit. I just had to help her find it.” 

The New Barker Gift Guide.

Here are some fun ideas for the dog lover on your Christmas shopping list. And, don’t forget to include your local shelter on your shopping list. Consider making a donation to the shelter on behalf of special someone. Or how about a gift card to a dog-friendly restaurant? Check out out The New Barker Dog Dining Guide. Gift certificates for grooming are always a welcome surprise for the dog lover. And a one-year subscription to The New Barker dog magazine. We’ll send a note card letting the recipient know their gift from you is on its way. We have a BOGO offer going on for a limited time.

Embark Breed + Health Kit | $199.00
BUY NOW With a simple cheek swab, learn about your pup’s breed, health, traits, ancestry and relatives.  This DNA test analyzes 250 breeds, and more than 175 genetic health conditions and traits, providing you a better understanding of your dog’s health.

YETI Boomer 8 Dog Bowl | $49.99 BUY NOW YETI is famous for its ultra-durable, nearly-indestructible coolers – and this Yeti Boomer 8 Dog Bowl is no different.  The bowl is designed to be as dependable and adventurous as your best friend, and holds up to eight cups. For additional water and feed bowl options, check out your local retailer, including BarkLife Market & More in Seminole; Dog Mania & Cats, Dade City; Dog Lovers Tarpon Springs; One Lucky Dog, St. Petersburg; Pet Food Warehouse, St. Petersburg; The Black Dog, St. Armands Circle.

Furbo Dog Camera | $133.99
BUY NOW Furbo is an interactive dog camera that provides peace of mind allowing you can see, talk and give treats to your dog when you’re away.  You will be able to toss a treat to your dog(s) through the free Furbo iOS/Android app.  

Custom Pet Portrait Succulent Planter | $30.00 BUY NOW Custom pet portrait painted on wheel thrown succulent planter.  Just send a picture of your pet, name of pet and who is it for, and they’ll create a one of a kind work of art.  

‘Feed Me’ Book | $26.96
BUY NOW This book takes the mystery out of what you should feed your dog with 50 easy-to-follow recipes that follow healthy guidelines.  Each quick-to-prepare meal is adjustable for dogs of different weights, sizes, breeds and activity levels.

EzyDog Road Runner Leash | $42.00
With the recent discussions of banning retractable leashes, this is the perfect gift for your favorite pet lover.  The Road Runner is the ultimate hands free dog walking or running experience which you can wear around your waist, shoulder or hand. Available at One Lucky Dog, St. Pete; Paws Inn Paradise; Pets Life Naturally, Palmetto.

About Those Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.

by Anna Cooke

The annual Festival of Reading took place over a recent weekend on the St. Petersburg campus of USF. A pre-arranged 15 minute interview with author and journalist Dave Barry had been set up by his publicist, Larry Hughes, and the Festival’s Author Coordinator Lori Gaudreau. Our meeting was scheduled 45 minutes before Dave was to take the stage in front of what would be a standing room only crowd.

Having read Lessons From Lucy to review in The New Barker, my one takeaway from Dave’s book about his dog was this quote from him, which appears in the book: “I have a black belt in instantly hating strangers.”

I sort of get that. While I don’t instantly hate strangers, if I were to meet Dave and his dog Lucy at the same time, it’s a pretty good bet my arms would end up around Lucy, not Dave.

Photographer Jacqui Silla and I arrived a solid 45 minutes before Dave was set to meet us in the green room, which is actually called the Coral Room, on the second floor of the University Student Center. We rearranged the seating, looking for the best possible lighting for the photos. I reviewed my notes and Jacqui had to keep reminding me to breathe. 

Outside the room, a crowd was already beginning to wind around the lobby in front of the auditorium like a haphazard queue at a tourist attraction. At 12:05, 10 minutes before Dave was to arrive for our scheduled interview, Jacqui suggested I make a call to Lori to make sure everything was okay. 

There’s been a slight change in plans, said Lori, and would I mind coming to where they were? She had Dave right next to her, she said, in the writer’s lounge. “We’re just across the street from where you are,” she said. 

Just across the street on a college campus from the second floor of another building was not as easy as it sounded. I had just stopped profusely perspiring from our trek here, and the jitters were still trying to take over my stomach. Blisters had already formed on my toes from the high-heel boots I decided to put on that morning after not having worn them for more than a year. What was I thinking?

We would never make it on time. I imagined us arriving at the writer’s lounge only to see Dave being whisked away for his talk back at the University Student Center, where Jacqui and I already were. Seriously, the scenario played out in my head like the screen from a Super Mario Brothers game.

Lori patiently listened as I told her that a photographer was with me and we were all set up in the location we were originally instructed to meet: the green room, which is actually the Coral Room, and, by the way, there is a large crowd for Dave already forming outside the auditorium.  Lori answered, “Oh. Most of the journalists just come by themselves, not with a photographer.”

“Wow,” I thought to myself, “She just referred to me as a journalist.” My second thought was, well maybe most journalists don’t find themselves in a position where they’re about to meet and interview one of their favorite writers for the first and, very likely, last time.

Dave Barry wrote a nationally syndicated humor column for the Miami Herald for 22 years. He’s won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary (1988) and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism (2005). In addition to his book, Lessons from Lucy, he’s written 50+ other books, including I’m Mature When I’m Dead and  Boogers are My Beat: More Lies, But Some Actual Journalism. Yes, literary masterpieces. He is also part of the Greatest Rock Band Ever (of authors). 

Besides, I politely argued into my phone, isn’t Dave scheduled to give his talk in the building we’re in now? “Yes,” Lori answered. “But, before that he has another meeting scheduled back in this building, where we are now.”

Poor Dave. He was being tossed around the St. Petersburg campus of USF like a freshly-opened bag of Cheetos in a college dorm room.

Quickly, I thought: If I make Dave trek across campus to meet me, I’ll have made a person, who is already loathsome of strangers, hate me even more for having made him run across campus – twice. He probably won’t even look at me much less talk to me. This will be the worst interview ever. 

Then I heard Lori say into my phone: I’ll bring him to you. That did not make me feel any better.

Breathe, Jacqui reminded me again. “Here, drink some water. You’re gonna do great.”

Yes, I thought to myself. This will all be over very fast. As he walks into the room, Dave will zap me instantly with his death glare, and that will be that. He’ll go on stage to an adoring, unknowing crowd, while I lay crumpled under a heap of clothing, only my high-heel boots peeking out. Much like that scene from the Wizard of Oz when the house drops on the Wicked Witch of the West.

Dave arrived, just a bit disoriented from his back and forth traversing, not a hair out of place. As he walked through the door, he straightened out his blue blazer and began to compose himself for what was to come next. He was gracious, adorable, as nervous as I was, and genuine.

Probably my most disingenuous question was to ask how Lucy, his dog, was doing. I thought it would be the best way to quickly ease into what would be a fast-paced interview. 

“Lucy is doing great,” said Dave, his eyes darting around the room. “First of all, we have to agree how much better dogs are than people,” he went on. Now, he was beginning to make a little eye contact. “They’re always looking up at you with those eyes. No matter what, they’re happy to see you; to be with you. And, that’s just great, especially with the way things are now in the world.” 

On being a grandparent, Dave said, “It’s great. We just had a new one. Five months old. First of all, they’re not my kids. They’re grandkids. So, I can love them, then hand them back to their parents. I look at my son and daughter-in-law and wonder how they do it. How do they keep up mentally and physically with these kids? Lucy loves the grandkids. She thinks it’s her job to protect them.”

On fame. “Oh, Lucy is more famous than me now. When we go for walks or go anywhere in public together, people always remark, ‘Look, there’s Lucy.’ They don’t even notice me anymore. Which is fine.”

On helping shelter dogs during his book tours to promote Lessons From Lucy. “I’ve been able to do quite a bit of fundraising for rescue groups and shelters in Miami, thanks to my good friend [Miami philanthropist, pet rescue and child advocate] Yolanda Berkowitz. I don’t take Lucy to these events, though, because I really want the spotlight to be on the rescue dogs.”

Lessons From Lucy devotes seven chapters to showcase seven lessons Dave (who thinks he’s an old guy) has learned from Lucy, the aging family dog. As is Dave’s often self-deprecating, sarcastic writing style, the lessons are humorously presented. Every dog lover will recognize themselves and appreciate the lessons.

After Dave completed the book’s manuscript and sent it off to his editor, his daughter Sophie was getting ready to start her freshman year at Duke. “We had plans. Life was orderly. Life was good,” wrote Dave. “On Saturday, August 18, two days before we were going to take Sophie to Duke, she woke up paralyzed from the waist down.” 

In the final chapter “One Last Lesson,” added after the book was completed, Dave drops the humor, but not his honesty, to recount every parent’s worst nightmare. He shares one more lesson with the reader. It’s one we already know, but need reminding of every day: Gratitude and appreciating the goodness in our lives. 

It’s been a little over a year since Sophie’s illness, and she is thriving at Duke. “We couldn’t be happier,” said Dave.

We touched on the book’s last chapter, and I wondered aloud, “Now that everything in life is back in order, and life is good, it’s easy to fall back into old routines. Do you remember to practice gratitude?” 

“I think about that every minute of every single day,” Dave said, looking right at me.

Dave Barry, author of the book Lessons From Lucy and Anna Cooke, editor of The New Barker dog magazine.

I asked Dave to sign a copy for my life partner, husband, and publisher of The New Barker, Steve Cooke. I said absolutely nothing of Steve’s age. Nothing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Dougie-approved reading.