The Captain And His Queen Of The World

By Anna Cooke. This story first appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of The New Barker.

Gliding through marshes and wetlands and leaning into the airboat’s every turn felt like a bird skimming the water in mid-flight. We sat up high in one of the two seats and sped across the water. It was both exhilarating and a little scary.

Remember the scene from the movie Titanic, when Jack and Rose are at the bow of the boat? Jack shouted, “I’m king of the world,” and convinced Rose to let go of the rail as the ship clipped through the ocean. But this was not the movies and there were no icebergs on our horizon. Fortunately, the very capable Captain Kevin Roderiques was at the helm, and he knew this was a first-time experience for his passenger. Still, I did not believe I would be letting go of the airboat’s rails anytime soon.

Handing over a set of dual-purpose headphones (sound-dampening and
microphone-equipped for conversation), Roderiques could see his passenger’s trepidation. His sixth sense as a law enforcement professional was spot-on.

“You’re not going to do some kind of 360 rollover like the Blue Angels do to a newbie in mid-flight are you?” I asked. His answer, a simple ‘no’ without an ounce of sarcasm in his voice, was reassuring through the headphones. It was also reassuring to know that we would be able to converse without yelling.

Another calming bonus was that Shey, a black Labrador Retriever, was accompanying us. This beautiful, shiny dog was not along just for the ride, however. In addition to showing off her prowess at remaining upright on all fours as the airboat angled every which way, Shey would be demonstrating her skills as a certified search and rescue K9. She works with the Florida-3 Airboat Search and Rescue Team (FL3ASAR), and has been cross-trained for cadaver and live search and rescue.

The FL3ASAR team is a group made up of law enforcement, fire, rescue and EMS professionals, many of whom have had prior military experience. While the ride with Shey was in and of itself breathtaking, it was amazing to find out that this team is an all-volunteer group relying on donations to keep operating. Oftentimes, however, the dedicated group will use their own money to continue their mission of saving the lives of people and animals stranded as a result of a man-made or natural disaster.

FL3ASAR was created soon after the flooding in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. Working under the direction of FEMA, many members of FL3ASAR witnessed firsthand the airboat’s capabilities as they were being used to evacuate thousands of people stranded due to urban area flooding. The airboat, it turns out, is the most efficient means of mass rescue during floods, capable of delivering thousands of pounds of feed to stranded livestock. Unlike other rescue devices, an airboat has no moving parts below the waterline, allowing it to maneuver through fields of debris. Moving almost effortlessly in extreme conditions, airboats can navigate turbulent and shallow water, and even over dry land if necessary.

Since Katrina, FL3ASAR has responded to calls for service beyond the scope of flood evacuation, having evolved into a full service search and rescue operation. The FL3ASAR airboats are especially equipped with 3D side scan sonar, underwater video equipment, GPS and special communications equipment. All of the airboat operators are licensed United States Coast Guard captains. They have also completed a U.S. Department of Interior-approved airboat operations course.

People often fail to prepare for a natural or man-made disaster, resulting in animals being left behind during an evacuation. Since Hurricane Katrina, lessons have been learned and more shelters are allowing people to bring their pets. However, domestic livestock are also at risk during natural disasters, swept away by strong currents as they naturally seek higher ground. If they do reach what are known as island farms, they become stranded, succumbing to disease or starvation.

Through a private grant in 2010, FL3ASAR was able to take delivery of a 20-foot airboat, manufactured by Diamondback Airboats and customized for animal rescue efforts in flooded areas. It’s the only one of its kind in the United States. The new Animal Rescue Team airboat has a three-rudder system instead of the normal two, with only one row of seats instead of the normal two. The three-rudder system allows for better steerage and the removal of the front seat provides added deck space for a larger working area and more animal cage storage. The drop-down “Grass Rake” facilitates the transportation, delivery and retrieval of necessary supplies and/or equipment for animal rescue.

“I can carry up to 4,000 pounds of feed in this boat,” said Captain Roderiques. “We can even rescue a manatee if need be,” he added.

The Animal Rescue Team is available to state and federal agricultural and wildlife agencies; national, state and local humane societies; and veterinary organizations. Captain Roderiques, who is also the Team Commander, said that FL3ASAR can be deployed within 24 hours.

Working on land or water, Shey is capable of performing live finds — tracking a live person’s trail for miles. She is also trained in human remains detection (HRD). When on water-based missions, she is equipped with a floatation device, performing her duties directly from the bow of the airboat. She has also been trained to perform as a rescue swimmer, capable of towing people back to the boat or shore.

During our trip, Captain Roderiques continued to point out what Shey was doing at any given moment, while describing the intricacies of search and rescue. She leaned into the wind, discerning the different smells. She scanned the banks for clues, working hard, and ready to alert at any given moment.

As we pulled up to the banks to disembark, I realized I had not taken one note for my story. During the trip, Shey would occasionally turn her big, beautiful head to look back at me, giving me that mischievous Labrador smile. She was probably laughing at me. The only time I let go of the rails was to grab my camera with one hand to snap a few quick photos of her. Otherwise, it was pretty much a white-knuckle excursion for me, while Shey effortlessly did a job she clearly loved doing.

Editor’s Note: Shey passed away several years ago. Captain Kevin Roderiques, K-9 Sergeant for the Tampa Airport Police Department, is now retired.

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

ROMANCE.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER WITH DOGS

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).

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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

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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

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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

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COMING OF AGE AND A TOUCH OF SPORTS

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

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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

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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

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COMEDY

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

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ANIMATION

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

AND

The Secret Life Of Pets II movie trailer

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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

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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

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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.

Our History With Dogs.

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends and family. By 18th century poet Alexander Pope.

The relationship humans have had with “man’s best friend” is timeless. Our love of dogs is not a recent phenomenon. We just discovered a book in our home library that we inherited years ago. Pet Book was written by A. Barton, DVM in 1958, with illustrations by Lillian Obligado. It has everything from “Choosing Your Dog” to “Hairdo for Fido.” Below is an excerpt from the chapter titled, “A Permanent Bed for your Dog.”

“The bed doesn’t have to be fancy. All you need is a carton box that is big enough for your dog to move around in. Tear off one side of the box so that your dog can go in and out of as he pleases. If your dog likes the bed, he will not sit on the furniture.”

Among our many dog books is a gift from a friend, simply titled Dogs. It features hundreds of vintage photographs of dogs collected by photographer Catherine Johnson. In the book’s Afterword, William Wegman writes, “What is it about dogs and the camera? For amateurs and professionals alike, picture-taking begins with a special occasion. Dogs in the car, on top of a table or on the front porch with the family. Dogs like to perform.”

The legendary British photographer Norman Parkinson once said, “If you’re shooting a difficult family portrait, pray the family has a dog and feature that animal front and center.” He is absolutely right. Dogs do infuse photographs with energy and humor. So, we asked our readers to send in photographs of their own family dogs through the years. Here is just a sampling of the photographs we received.

Here are some photos of humans growing up with their dogs, sent to The New Barker from our readers. These photos were included as part of a feature in a 2013 edition of The New Barker, alongside some iconic images from the State Library & Archives of Florida.

From reader Karen Ekonomou of Vero Beach on the above photos: “Lucky, a white English Bulldog was my dad’s dog. This photo was taken in 1947. The other Bulldog is Spike, who was my babysitter up until I was seven. Finally, my best pal ever was Suzie Q. She shared everything with me including our favorite ice cream cones. She would sit with me all the way through the television shows I watched. This photo was taken in 1967.”

Melinda_Rose+UnclDog_Emmie_97
Reader Melinda Rose and her uncle’s dog Emmie – 1997.

Sammy_Carlene
From reader Carlene St John: “This is a picture of me with Sammy, our family dog, October 1971. I was 19 months old and insisted that Sammy could double as a horse. Although patient with my attempts, he never budged!”

The Cooke Family Dog.
Tippy and Sonny Cooke. 1947.

Below are some historical photos from the State Library & Archives of Florida.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Cats and dogs were an important part of life at Cross Creek, the Florida home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Here, she is seated with Moe, a faithful companion.

Heise's Pet Shop, Tampa.
Heise’s Pet Shop in Tampa, early 1900s. Quite possibly the first pet store in Florida.

HHSM Brownie, The Town Dog 8x10
Brownie could be Florida’s most historic and beloved dog. He has a dog park named after him in Daytona Beach, complete with a statue honoring him, which we visited in August 2018. His grave is one of the most visited dog memorials in the world. Brownie was a stray dog who lived in downtown Daytona Beach from 1939 until his death in 1954. He lived in a custom dog house, dined on steak and ice cream and even had his own bank account in the Florida Bank & Trust.  Read more about Brownie, the town dog of Daytona Beach.
By the way, the Dade City Heritage & Cultural Museum will convert to The Dade City Dog Museum on one Saturday of every month. Stay tuned. As a sponsor of the event The New Barker is looking for artisans to display their dog-themed artwork. The museum will include a historical look with displays of some of Dade City’s pioneers and the important role their dogs played. Interested artists, please send an email to anna@thenewbarker.com and include Dade City Dog Museum in the subject line, please.

Here are some more Florida dog photos from the State Library & Archives of Florida. 

It Is Better to be Outspoken, Than Unspoken.

by Anna Cooke, Editor, The New Barker dog magazine.

Michele Lazarow, Vice Mayor of Hallandale Beach, has played a big role in the movement to ban the sale of puppies and kittens in Florida retail stores. It is a movement that has taken hold in cities across the country.

Michele Lazarow
Michele Lazarow with her two dogs Honey and Gidget.

“Michele has been a huge part of this movement in Florida,” said Amy Jesse, Puppy Mills Policy Director at The Humane Society of the United States. “Passing these ordinances shuts off a huge supply chain for the puppy mill industry. We don’t like to draw generalizations that every single pet store is getting their puppies from mills. But, the vast majority do.”

Lazarow purchased a puppy from a Hollywood pet store about 14 years ago. Alfie had been marked down to $900, and he was chronically ill until he died at the age of 10 in May 2014. Lazarow’s heartbreaking experience both angered and inspired her. In 2011 she began a crusade to ban retail puppy sales in Hallandale Beach by first sending packets of information to City Commissioners. It wasn’t easy, but after a year, she was finally able to get a law on the books.

Lazarow’s aim is to protect the consumer who might not be aware of their rights under the state’s puppy “lemon” law. The statute provides legal recourse for consumers who buy cats or dogs that become ill or die shortly after purchase.

Early on, Lazarow was the face of this movement in Florida. “But now officials are doing this on their own,” she said. Having led protests outside pet stores, educated officials and counseled people who needed advice after coming home with a sick puppy, Lazarow’s dedication to the cause has won her both friend and foe.

Keith London, a City of Hallandale Beach Commissioner, said of Lazarow, “She’s speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves. And, she’s effective. She went from being a total neophyte to getting ordinances passed in more than 40 Florida communities.”

Lazarow has helped lead the fight for most of those bans by talking behind the scenes with city officials, rallying local animal advocates to become involved, and speaking out at public meetings. She makes no apologies to her naysayers.
“I have advocated and educated colleagues in communities across Florida and helped pass legislation in over 50 cities and counties, saving residents heartache over sick and ill puppies while at the same time helping to stop massive animal cruelty,” she said. “I do this work all day, every day. I have devoted most of my time and energy to continuing this work.”

The next big issue in the upcoming 2019 Florida Legislative Session will be pet store lobbyists attempting, once again, to preempt local municipalities from puppy mill ordinances. “We’ll be ready,” said Lazarow.

Get Involved. For updates and information on animal advocacy issues in Florida, visit AllianceAnimalWelfare.org
Also, join Change Animal Welfare Laws in Florida and Beyond on Facebook for updates. During the 2019 Florida Legislative Session, consider attending Humane Lobby Day on March 12 in Tallahassee. You’ll learn more about the issues and how you can help.

Broken Down Angel

A true story as told by Lonnie Spell, dog trainer, to The New Barker contributor Pam Stuart.

A gun dog is trained to find game for the handler/hunter, point the game, and retrieve the game when sent to retrieve by the handler/hunter. These scent hunters locate and point birds (quail, pheasant, chucker, and other game birds). The term “gun dog broke” can be defined as: “the performance standard of perfect manners in the field: standing steady and pointing upon finding a bird, staying while the bird flies off, and going out on the retrieve only when sent by the hunter.”

It was Spring 2010. George, myself and some others were having a pleasant conversation in the shade of the hay barn on a Sunday afternoon. George Hickox, a top dog trainer and handler, had come down to Sunset, Louisiana to lead a seminar on training bird dogs. We had been talking about what we’ve seen as professional trainers in the dogs that come our way; the good and the not so good. George remarked that sometimes a dog is so badly affected by misguided attempts at training that it is of no use in the field.
“That dog is not gun dog broke, that dog is just broken.”

One of the seminar students was waiting for him, so George politely excused himself. That’s when someone I knew, particularly by his reputation, stepped up and asked me a question.
“Hey, Lonnie, you want that piece of crap?”

George’s observation about broken dogs might have been what tipped this other man’s hand. He had more than a few dogs he was cutting from his string. They hadn’t gotten with his program so they had to go. And there was that one dog in particular.

I had to say yes. It would have been easier to say no, but sometimes the easy thing is not always the right thing. And ‘no’ would mean that pup was destined to be dumped in an after-hours outdoor run at a kill shelter with all the other dogs. It wasn’t my job to make his dump at the shelter easier, but taking that dog would be the right thing. It would save a life. And I knew that dog.

That ‘piece of crap’ was once my girl Belle’s puppy. I knew the field blood running through his veins. That’s why I bred that litter. By a twist of fate, Belle’s pup ended up with this man, who was now ready to throw him away. He deserved better than the dump. They all did. They always do.

I had to work on Monday, so I made arrangements for my friend, Bobby, to go and fetch him up. The next day I went over to Bobby’s. He warned me, “It’s been about a year since you’ve seen this pup. A lot can happen in a year.”

As we walked out back, I saw him. He stood there in the middle of the kennel run, scared and confused. Everything about his body language shouted fear. His tail was tucked tight between his legs and his ears were tense and set back, as if he was waiting for the next bomb to explode. I stood there, staring in disbelief at the dog before me. This was not Belle’s bold pup. This dog was terrified; snakebit by life and barely holding on. Belle and I had him for only eight weeks. After that, he had been living what I would not want to imagine during so many important stages in his young life. He had been named Justin. I never wanted him to hear that name again.

On the ride back to my place, I remembered why I bred this litter and the hopes I had for the pups. This dog was born with the gift of extraordinary genetics, going back to a top field Pointer named Honky Tonk Attitude. One year later, I wondered how and if I could find, under all that fear, that confident, happy puppy. Would we, he and I, be able to find his Attitude?

I left him alone and kept interaction to a minimum for the first week. He needed to settle in to a new place. I needed to give him time to feel safe and secure. His run was cleaned. He got fresh water and good food. No explosions here, buddy. You can relax.

Relax. Easier said than done. My other dogs would see a squirrel running to the tree line and start barking. He would run and hide. Before, barking meant trouble. Trouble meant punishment. Punishment. Just for being a dog. His fear grew out of knowing punishment. Overcoming fear meant overcoming the hardship of bad experiences.

Punishment is different from correction. Punishment springs from a well of anger. Correction is not from that well of anger. Correction is right for the situation and right for what the dog knows. You cannot correct a dog for something you have not trained.

In training, a dog will learn what to do, and what not to do. Just like in life, mistakes are good. Only by making mistakes do you have the opportunity to learn and truly grow. If I was to comfort him while he was in this fearful attitude, I would only reinforce fearful behavior with what he would interpret as praise. I certainly couldn’t bully him into an attitude of boldness. That would not be boldness but him aggressively defending himself from bullying. He’d had enough of that.

Little things would set him on edge. If I simply held him by the collar, he would squint his eyes as if something bad were going to happen. But he didn’t fight. He never growled or protested. He had given up. What was he afraid of? Might this be reversed or, as George had said could happen, was this dog really broken? If life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived, would I be able to solve this mystery?

Dogs have their truth: tasks they were bred to perform and aptitudes by virtue of their temperament and personality. Dogs also have an honesty by living closer to their truth, without all the complications that we people layer on top of our own lives. Sometimes we can pile on so much of the stuff of life that we lose sight of our own truth; it’s buried so deep we can’t find it. Not for a dog. A dog’s going let you know. You just have to pay attention.

Because this dog was not ready for any formal training, I decided to just be with him without any demands or expectations, and try to establish a relationship without fear. If he showed any sign of relaxation or acceptance, it was my goal to reward that behavior. But I could not correct any unwanted behavior as that might cause him to shut down even further. He needed only encouragement for those little signs of hope, and no corrections for any missteps.

We spent our time together just walking. No talking. No sounds. He was still scared enough just being on a loose lead by my side. I clipped one end of the lead to his collar and the other to my belt. I did not want to chance an accidental correction or any kind of action on my part that would cause him to retreat back into himself. I would not risk losing the trust I was working so hard to gain.

Not talking to him may have seemed unkind by some folks. But this was not so. We speak through our body language and our disposition. Actions do speak louder than words. And attitudes speak louder than words. This was our time to listen to each other. His time to show me what and who he was, and mine to find out his truth.

One day, while putting water in his dish, he came up to the fence of his run and licked my fingers. This was a sign of hope I had been waiting for. Not only did he offer a behavior unasked, it was a behavior of submission, respect, and acceptance. A truce was being made.

He started showing more behaviors that gave me hope – licking, playing, wagging his tail, and even looking up during our walks. I would touch him softly, or scratch him on the head. On a walk one day, he started jumping and playing, if only a for few moments. He found joy in being a dog. And joy in being.

Later that fall, I went over to his run, and when he saw me he stood up, wagged his tail and made eye contact. The patch of color on his left eye had always reminded me of the dog in the Our Gang series. That dog’s name was Petie. This dog was now ready for his name. Hey, Petie. Nice to finally meet you.

In the early winter, the first real cold front had come through and there were good scenting conditions. Petie was running at about half speed down a tree line with a strong north wind blowing across his path, when he hit the scent of birds and slammed onto point. I stood back and didn’t say a word. Petie’s head and tail lifted and he stood as tall as his legs let him. At that moment, he didn’t need me. That moment was between him, his instincts, and the scent. He found more birds that day, and with each find he ran stronger, pointed, and stood taller and more confident. He found his passion. That day, running in that field, he had run into his truth. Petie had found his Attitude.

My friend, Bobby had been there from the beginning. He was a regular visitor at the training sessions, and together we enjoyed watching Petie run in the field. So it was a natural fit that I should give Petie to Bobby and his family.

In the Fall of 2012, Petie, at three years old, was at an age more right to expect mature, gun dog behavior. Petie was now gun dog broke, not broken. And he was a winner, placing in the ribbons at field events, and qualifying to run at the Regionals. Bobby got a call from a professional field trialer who wanted to buy Petie and take him to Nationals.

Bobby said no. Sure, the money would’ve been nice. But money comes and money goes. Petie stayed put in his now and forever home. In the mornings, he sits with Bobby’s wife as she drinks coffee on the porch. He takes naps in the afternoon with Bobby out back. And he goes hunting with Bobby and his son.

Petie was finally at home. And he was loved.

Confident Petie The styles of a hunting dog are a beautiful sight to see. The dog that points his chest high, tail immobile; the dog that bends over itself, pretzel-like as it catches scent behind itself in mid-stride; the dog that looks like a perfect right angle, with head lowered, caught at the bottom of its stride, frozen in place by the scent of its prey.


An Underdog Becomes Leader of the Pack.

The dogs at Tito’s Handmade Vodka offices and distillery are a constant reminder of the company’s mission to “unite with our friends, fans and partners to better the lives of pets and their families far and wide.”

by Anna Cooke

One of the very first employees of Tito’s Handmade Vodka was a dog named Dogjo. She was right by Tito Beveridge’s side when he started his distillery in 1997. It was the first legal distillery in Texas and the only crafts spirits distillery in the country, at the time.

During those early years, Tito’s Handmade Vodka was a one-man operation – from crafting and packaging to selling, delivering and dealing with paperwork. Beveridge and Jo often ate and slept at the warehouse. The 50-pound bags of dog food that Beveridge stored for Jo eventually attracted a revolving door of homeless pups, fondly called “distillery dogs.”

Beveridge has always said that he makes the vodka he likes to drink. “Since I was the guy making it, bottling it and selling it, I realized I couldn’t make something for somebody else. It was just fortunate for me that my palate falls into the bell curve of what vodka drinkers like.”

Taki
This is Taki, the current official distillery dog.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka grew and so did the number of dogs who hung around the distillery, as Beveridge continued to feed and take care of them. Today, the distillery is home to a handful of rescued dogs, including Taki, the current resident distillery dog who eats, plays and lives there. The dogs are a constant reminder of the company’s mission to “unite with our friends, fans and partners to better the lives of pets and their families far and wide.” Following the devastating destruction that resulted from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, it is no surprise that this dog-loving team came together to brainstorm the most effective and immediate ways to help those affected.

“When a natural disaster strikes, one of the largest groups affected is always stray and abandoned animals,” said Amy Lukken, Chief Joyologist of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “We knew we would have to act quickly, even before the storm made landfall, in order to save as many animals’ lives as possible,” she added. The Tito’s team has an ongoing relationship with local animal shelter Austin Pets Alive! When they reached out for help, the Tito’s team provided as much support as possible, even as some of their own family members in Houston and surrounding areas would be displaced because of the hurricane.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka animal advocacy program, Vodka For Dog People, donated money to Austin Pets Alive! to help with the purchase of food, supplies and shelter for displaced animals after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. More than 5,000 animals who were in Harvey’s direct path have been saved. Vodka For Dog People also gave locally to Wags Hope and Healing and Bailing Out Benji. On the people front, the company partnered with the American Red Cross with a dollar-for-dollar match of up.

Although Austin Pets Alive! and other Texas shelters have done a fantastic job at providing aid to these animals, disaster aid is still needed beyond the Texas border. The Tito’s team continues to help fund transportation methods for pets out of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

harveytruck
Tito’s employees and volunteers collecting donations after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Through the Vodka For Dog People (VFDP) initiative, more than 1,000 animal welfare nonprofits in over seven countries have been helped since its inception, six years ago. VFDP, which partners in more than 700 fundraising events each year, has been a permanent company-wide cause program for three years.

In Florida, VFDP has provided support to more than 50 different events and charities, including Vets For Pets Charitable Clinic in Tampa and Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St. Petersburg. “We expect those numbers will continue to grow as our Vodka For Dog People program gains more recognition and visibility, thanks to partners such as The New Barker,” said Beth Bellanti, Vodka For Dog People Program Manager at Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “The easiest way to get involved with Florida animal advocacy programs is by donating to local shelters and charities. We host VFDP events all over Florida,” Beth added. By the way, we saw a beautiful raffle basket of Tito’s Handmade Vodka with fun goodies at Manatee County Animal Services 4th Annual Adopt-A-Palooza  this past Saturday.

Vodka For Dog People is the perfect legacy to honor Jo, Tito’s first companion dog, almost 21 years ago. “Everyone has an incredible rescue story, including those of us who have adopted dogs from the distillery,” said Beveridge.

Reflecting on those earlier days, Tito thinks about failure in terms of energy. Harkening back to his geophysics days (he graduated from The University of Texas with degrees in geology and geophysics in 1984), Beveridge said, “Energy isn’t destroyed. It simply changes forms.” He uses this knowledge to his advantage whenever he is struggling with a project. “Your first instinct is to blame everyone else,” said Beveridge. “But, don’t blame it on anyone. Wrap your arms around [the failure] and take the blame, so all the energy becomes yours. You can’t destroy energy. You can, however, change the phase.”

We’ll toast to that.

Ulele_Group_Tito
The marketing team for Columbia Restaurant Group invited Tito Beveridge to Ulele. The Tampa restaurant serves Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

The New Barker is a Florida-based lifestyle magazine all about dogs and the humans who love them. Featuring original stories with award-winning photography in each quarterly publication since 2006 – each cover of The New Barker features an original work of art by a different artist. Subscribe today. 

The Human+Dog Bond.

“Having a dog in my life completes me,” said Pam Stuart. The human+dog bond is one of the most beautiful things to stand back and observe. That’s just what we did while attending several dog agility events, recently, in Florida.

by Anna Cooke

Of all the things we’ve experienced over the last 12 years of publishing The New Barker, the bond between a dog and human is one of the most beautiful things to stand back and observe.

A few weeks ago, we checked out DACOF, the dog agility competition held at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. The dogs competing were happy to be running, jumping and barking alongside their humans. People cheered each other on and there were a lot of atta boy and good girl praises, no matter the outcome of the agility run. Everyone was smiling, especially the dogs. Could it have been the bacon jerky treats?

Franklin
Marina, owner of ARTPool Gallery in St. Petersburg and her dog Franklin, were at DACOF in Kissimmee. “We closed the store to attend the event with Franklin,” she told us.

Sunday, July 29, 2018, we attended the annual Summer Games for members of the Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club (USDTC) in Clearwater. In addition to the fun and camaraderie, the event raised funds for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), surpassing the club’s goal of $1,000. We had an opportunity to speak with some of the members and interact with their dogs.

MacGyver
Big MacGyver – His face can fix anything that’s troubling you.

Big MacGyver was heading outdoors for a potty break, toy securely in mouth, when we first saw him. The French Bulldog+Boston Terrier mix will be two in October. His human, a nurse, has been training with him at USDTC for about a year. Dressed in her uniform, she would be heading to the hospital to work the night shift after attending the Games. “I always take time out for my pup,” she told us.

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Janie_TinyTim
Janie and Tiny Tim. “He helps get me out of the house.”

Tiny Tim has titled in dog tricks, Beginner Novice obedience and Rally Novice. His human Janie has been a member of USDTC since 1981, when the club was located in Dunedin. She loves Afghan Hounds, but after her last Afghan passed three years ago, Janie realized her days running with a bigger dog were limited. But living without a dog was never a consideration. Tiny Tim, a Chinese Crested Powder Puff, came into her life almost three years ago. The career hairdresser told us, “I knew I had to have another dog with hair.” She said that Cresteds and Afghans have similar personalities. “They’re both very independent breeds.” she said. “I’m very proud of Timmy and his accomplishments. Besides, he’s going to keep me young for another 10 years.”

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Sid
Sid has earned the right to sit and observe the action.

Sid is a 15-year-old Schnauzer. The retired service dog has earned the right to be a quiet observer, lounging in his chair while his human competed with another dog. A cyst in his left eye required surgery to remove the whole eye. He now has bladder cancer, and is actually doing remarkably well. “He’s had a wonderful life,” said his human, who adopted him from the SPCA Tampa Bay. “He was just a puppy when I found him at the shelter, about to be put down because he had kennel cough.”

Lately, we’re hearing from quite a few of our readers, informing us of their dog’s passing. That’s the sad reality of having been publishing The New Barker since 2006. Sometimes, the deadlines and workload make the time seem like it’s been never-ending. But, for life with dogs, it’s never long enough.

IMG_9140_RansomBruce and his Newfoundland Ransom are regulars at a lot of dog-friendly events around the Tampa Bay area. The family’s Newfoundlands have been featured in The New Barker several times, over the years. We first met Ransom as a puppy, during a Clearwater Threshers Baseball Bark at the Park. During Sunday’s event, Bruce said, “Thankfully, for many of us, our dogs have been forever immortalized on the pages of The New Barker. I am happy to have saved the magazines over the years and enjoy revisiting them. Always good memories.”

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Callum
Callum, a four-month-old Vizsla.

Callum is Pam Stuart’s puppy. The club’s current president, Pam has been a contributor to The New Barker, writing about her favorite breed, the Vizla. Her contribution about gun dog broke dogs, was one of our most highly-commented-on pieces. She has since lost two of her own Vizslas, Monty, who passed a few years ago, and Pete, just within the last couple of months. She says of Callum, who is four months old. “I had to have another dog. I’ll always have a dog in my life. Dogs complete me.”

Pam_Stuart_Two_Dogs
Pam with Monty and Pete.

Excerpt from Broken Down Angel. Fixing The Spirit of a Broken Dog by Pam Stuart

“That dog is not gun dog broke,” observed George Hickox, a top dog trainer and handler. “That dog is just broken.” Someone yelled to Lonnie Spell, another dog trainer on-site: “Hey, Lonnie, you want that piece of crap?”

“I had to say yes,” Lonnie remembered. “It would have been easier to say no, but sometimes the easy thing is not always the right thing. And saying no would mean that pup was destined to be dumped in an after-hours outdoor run at a kill shelter with all the other dogs. It wasn’t my job to make this guy’s dump at the shelter easier, but taking that dog would be the right thing. It would save a life. And, I knew that dog.” ###

So, about those treats we mentioned before, whether they’re bacon jerky or another secret weapon handlers may use to gain a dog’s full attention. My conclusion, after observing so many dogs over the years, is that they will do anything – anything – for their humans in exchange for warm praise, a gentle touch and especially the simple gesture of companionship. Time spent with dogs is never wasted.

A few other dogs we met during the July 29 Summer Games in Clearwater.

Cruiser
Cruiser, a seven-year-old Sheltie. Crossing his legs is his favorite thing.

Lily
Lily is a Bichon Frise. She’ll steal your heart after she steals the photograph.

Star
Star is a five-year-old Jack Russell Terrier.

Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club (USDTC)  is an all-breed training facility in Clearwater, Florida. For 50 years has empowered people to become better dog owners through positive training and education. The classes are for every dog, from puppies to seniors; manners to competition. Classes offered include obedience, rally, agility, conformation, tricks and canine freestyle. They also offer therapy dog training for those who want to give back with their dogs to the community.

Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg

Dog Training Club of Tampa

Orlando Dog Training Club

Sarasota Obedience Training Club

Greater Ocala Dog Club

Imperial Polk Obedience Club

K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville

Obedience Club of Daytona

Miami Obedience Club

The Greater Gainesville Dog Fanciers Association

Marion-Alachua Dog Training Association

Fort Lauderdale Dog Club

Tallahassee Dog Obedience Club

Ochlockonee River Kennel Club

Dog Obedience Club of Hollywood

The New Barker is a Florida-based lifestyle magazine all about dogs and the humans who love them. Featuring original stories with award-winning photography in each quarterly publication since 2006 – each cover of The New Barker features an original work of art by a different artist.