Does Anything Else Matter?
The inaugural DOG FILM FESTIVAL that my Radio Pet Lady Network produced last weekend in New York City was a rousing success. What had been a crazy idea amazed me by taking wing – with the New York Times devoting half a page in the Weekend Arts section to the festival, Time Out magazine picking it as their top feature for the weekend, and Good Day New York on Fox News welcoming me and a few adoptable puppies from our beneficiary, Bideawee.
People and their dogs braved semi-hurricane conditions to crowd into the Festival kick-off Pooch Party on the Friday night and got great enjoyment simply from being surrounded by other dogs and dog-lovers, along with a creative doggy fashion show. The movies I had chosen for the program felt different when seen in a huge theater surrounded by devoted dog lovers: I could feel their joy and tears as they were moved by the films. It reminded me of the various ways that dogs are important in our lives and how deeply moving it is to see the remarkable bond between us depicted in films.
Halo was my presenting sponsor, along with VCA Hospitals, so it was natural for me to include some of the marvelous films Halo has created to tell the story of what matters most to this philanthropic company: shelters and the animals and people who care for them. I picked one of the Halo films made by director Peter Mcevilley – “Le Sauvetage” – which is so witty in having the rescued performing Olate dogs “speak” their thoughts about humans and how much time and effort it requires to look after them. The dogs plot to bring together two lonely humans.
Even though the film has been on YouTube for some time many of the festival-goers seemed not to be familiar with it. It felt great to hear their laughter as they heard the dogs expressing the same doubts and concerns about “adopting a human” as people often do about dogs – and realizing that any qualms we’ve had about adding a particular dog to our lives always seem fairly ridiculous in hindsight.
My favorite comment about the film festival was someone who said she really appreciated the foreign films in the Festival – Iran, Spain, and especially the French one, “Le Sauvetage.” Those of you who have heard my interview with director Peter Mcevilley on my radio show “Dog Talk” know that he is far from French himself and the movie is a tongue-in-cheek homage to French films! The magic of the movies!
Halo and I are planning now taking the Dog Film Festival around the country, so if you live in a city and would like to help us bring the fun to your town, get in touch with me at TheDogFilmFestival@gmail.com.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.
While a local news station was out at a park reporting on the death of a bulldog from heat stroke the day before, they came across another dog who was very close to heat exhaustion, if not stroke. This is despite the warning signs at the park entrance.
Though you’d think people would get it by now, some people really don’t. To make matters worse, the reporter spent time talking to the ranger about the dog’s condition and showing them pouring water on him while neglecting to mention the number one thing they should have been doing: calling a veterinary ER. Once the clinical signs kick in, they can be very difficult to reverse without aggressive care and time is of the essence.
Once you’ve seen a dog die of heat stroke, you get really agro about this stuff. It’s horrible. You have my permission to lecture strangers if they’re doing something dangerous like walking their pug on a desert trail in 100 degree weather with no water. It happens every day. I hereby appoint you all members of the Heat Stroke Patrol. Feel free to share the infographic as you see fit.
Be safe out there.
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Yesterday I set out to try and get pictures of Lacey being sassy. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have to be 100% engaged with her or it instantly stops – which means I’m shooting with the camera held down near my knees while I’m flailing a big blue ball around with the other hand. I’m also having to keep Coulee entertained at the same time or she turns into a barking, jealous fiend.
But I occasionally fluked out. I wasn’t quite able to capture her cute little run though.. so I’ll have to try again.
When I say “Cat Lady,” what do you picture?
The old tropes die hard. And while those types of cat ladies are still out there, I’m sure, those of you who have been paying attention are probably realizing there is a new breed of cat lady out there. The Kate Benjamins and the Dorian Wagners and the Taylor Swifts, the crazy (and cool) cat ladies of the world.
Though Jackson Galaxy may arguably be the most likely spokesperson for “Cat People Don’t Look Like What You Thought They Looked Like,” the trend of Cat Lady receding from the line of perjorative descriptor has been going on for a while. I have to say, and I mean this with the greatest of love, that we Dog Ladies actually have some catching up to do in this department. Exhibit A:
Straddling the razor’s edge between dog lady and cat lady like I do, I was super excited to see a new subscription box service that actually contained stuff I could use. Cat Lady Box, the brainchild of avowed cat lady and action-figure lookalike Dorian Wagner, is pretty darn awesome. Each month, Dorian hand-picks a bunch of unique, small-quantity produced items for cat ladies. Not for the cats, for the women who love them and also love style.
I was so flattered as a t-shirt wearing standard Dog Lady that I was able to review one that I could barely contain myself. And Brody is so used to packages arriving for him he immediately assumed this was all his.
Sensing something was off, he perched behind me to make sure I wasn’t tricking him and this was in fact a box full of dog toys. It wasn’t. A typical Cat Lady Box can contain various items such as jewelry, clothing, decor, and books.
If you have a cat who is as tenacious as my dog, there is an option with Cat Lady box to also get a few items for your cat included, like treats and toys. It’s called, you guess it, the CRAZY Cat Lady Box (wink wink) and it includes things like this adorable fortune cookie toy.
It was around this time that my review went off the rails. For you see, there is a cat lady in the house. Not me. My daughter. You see, I had been buying her clothing with pictures of puppies on it for years and she was always ambivalent and I couldn’t understand why, until she got older and was able to verbalize: KITTY!
She has a cat lunchbox and a cat messenger bag and dressed up as a cat for Halloween. As soon as she figured out what I was reviewing, she came downstairs from where she had been reading with Penelope and claimed this box for her own. I had no choice but to defer, because really, it’s PERFECT.
And she looks darn adorable in that shirt.
For more on Cat Lady Box and to sign up for your own, pop on over to CatLadyBox.com!
disclaimer: I received a Cat Lady Box for free to review, but every reiteration of its kick-assedness is my own genuine opinion.
I know that posts about Essley are few and far between around here, but today I’m going to gush about her for a couple of minutes because (1) I think she’s the coolest (I really do) and (2) we were recently introduced to the the cutest collection of baby clothing and toys ever that just happen to perfectly align with her current two very favorite things (mice and ballet; more on that in a minute). She has had so much fun playing with her new goodies that I had to snap some pictures and share. I’ve also become such a fan of the company who makes these items that there was just no way I couldn’t say anything about them. So here we go.
Robbie’s parents live in Arizona but we FaceTime with them often, and a few weeks ago his mom started regularly reading Essley a story about a mouse from Robbie’s childhood. Essley absolutely adores this story – to the point that within seconds of connecting, she starts saying “Mouse! Mouse!” in anticipation of hearing it. And ever since, she instantly gravitates to anything with a mouse. She now has a mouse toothbrush. Her favorite shirt has a mouse on it. To her, mice are the the bee’s knees.
Essley has also taken a recent fondness to anything having to do with ballet or dance. I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago that she starts dance class soon (two weeks from today, actually), and you can’t even say the words “dance class” without her instantly busting into her personal collection of killer dance moves. My friend Molly, a dance teacher, sent Essley a pair of tap shoes when I was pregnant with her and they just now fit perfectly, and the kid is obsessed. And if she sees anything with a tutu or ballet slippers, it’s like she just spotted a freaking unicorn, man. Needless to say, ballerina is at the very top of our Halloween costume idea list.
Now that you know these things, it probably makes sense why Essley is so thrilled with the Princess Mousie Collection from Elegant Baby. First of all, the story behind it is absolutely adorable (you can read it, in “chapters,” right here on their blog). Secondly, it is basically making all of Essley’s toddler dreams come true by combining a mouse with ballet. Her favorite toy right now is this super sweet knit ballerina mouse (which she calls “Mousie”). She carries it everywhere and when she hears music, she makes it dance. It’s ridiculously cute. She also has to have her knit ruffle ballerina mouse blanket on her during story time, and she gets so excited to use her special mousie bathwrap after bath time.
As a parent, I’m pretty stoked about these goodies too. The products themselves are incredibly well made with so much attention to detail (which is actually pretty rare these days when it comes to kids’ toys and accessories). They truly live up to the word ‘elegant’ in the company’s name (I mean, how sweetly beautiful is this head band? Even her fairy bath toys are elegant!). I’m confident that Essley will treasure them for years, even after she outgrows them. I also love that Elegant Baby, which was founded back in 1967, continues to be family owned. (Can I also quickly mention that Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s son Silas is a fan? I mean, just saying.)
For those of you with little ones, babies on the way, or with friends or family members who have babies or toddlers, I highly recommend checking out this very special brand. They’re currently running a promotion for 10% off your entire purchase on their website with code FALL10 (good through October 16th), so now is the perfect time to pick up a few of their adorable products.
For those of you with little ones (or nieces/nephews, or grandkids, or friends with little ones), what are their favorite things right now? Any one else have a kid obsessed with mice and ballet?
This post is in collaboration with Elegant Baby.
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Hey, Donna, I shared your "A New Dog in the House" handout with a friend who is hoping to bring home his first dog very soon and basically he freaked out and shut down. He thought maybe the content would be better served up in a blogpost, so I tried to share blogposts, but even the title "Boot Camp" (for the story of Tater), was so upsetting to him that he couldn't read it. He promises he's pro-structure (I explained that anxious dogs need this structure every bit as much as boisterous dogs), but he refuses to use these methods on the timid little fluff muffin he's applied to adopt. So… I was wondering if you have any favorite "new dog" resources that wouldn't be quite so intimidating to a soft-hearted first time dog-owner.
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