November 26 2012

Champion dogs, star dogs, and your dog

Patt Morrison Los Angeles Times | Link to Article

Of course I watched the National Dog Show, but not for any special rooting interest -- all of mine are what we in these parts like to call “multicultural canines.”

As it turns out, I did have an interest in the winner, after the fact. The Best in Show dog was a wire fox terrier, the same breed that won last year, and co-owned by the same woman who owns last year’s winner, Malibu’s Torie Steele.

I interviewed her about that spunky little breed for my Patt Morrison Asks column earlier this year. Caesar was King Edward VII's wire fox terrier. He wore a handsome collar reading "I am Caesar. I belong to the King." And in 1910, Caesar walked in the king’s funeral procession, behind a riderless horse. A wire fox terrier named Skippy more than held his own in the role of Asta, against Myrna Loy and William Powell in “The Thin Man.”

All those dog-show dogs get the very best -- food, care, doctoring -- and it made me think of the millions of dogs who don’t get all of that. One of their most ardent champions is Doris Day, and I talked to her earlier this year for my column too, mostly about her work for animals.

Her Doris Day Animal Foundation celebrates its 35th anniversary with video good wishes from her celebrity friends and a fundraiser for the animal victims of Superstorm Sandy. Check out the likes of Dick Van Dyke, Michael Feinstein, Brian May and Tony Bennett and his dog, Happy.

If you’re going to give someone a dog or cat as a holiday gift, be sure that it’s a wanted pet, and don’t spring it on friends as a surprise for their kids. Holidays can be a chaotic time for animals to try to adjust to a new household. Don’t make it an impulse gift -- plan ahead, just as you would to bring a new baby into the house.

Los Angeles has just become the nation’s largest city to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, in an effort to stem the flow of benighted little critters from those wretched puppy mills. This makes the perfect opportunity to find your new pets at the city’s and county’s shelters -- purebreds and “multicultural canines” alike.

Uggie, the four-legged trouper who won such acclaim in “The Artist,” is a rescue Jack Russell who was rejected by two owners before he was saved by a third.

Uggie and animal activist Debbie Reynolds will be riding the Pets 90210 rescue group’s float “Follow the stars -- adopt a pet!” in January’s Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, as will adoptable dogs from public shelters who will be available for adoption after the big parade.

To quote that star of stage and screen, Sandy, Little Orphan Annie’s dog, “Arf!”