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September 2012

Watch Canine Freestyle Dancing Movie Doggie B

Staying in the city this Labor Day weekend? Get tickets to see the cutest movie, featuring dancing, music and canine freestyle dog dancing! This Friday, August 31 is the theatrical premiere of Doggie B in San Francisco! 

When aspiring vet Cassie finds out that her Uncle Peter’s dog dancing studio is in danger of closing, she enters her devoted pup Pijo in the Dog Dancing Championships. Standing between the grand prize and the glory is ten-time champion Gertrude and her dancing canine Chaos, who will stop at nothing to win. With the help of family and friends, Cassie and Pijo lace up all six dancing shoes, raise the woof, and take on the competition tail on.

The film stars and features music by The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin (Pretty Woman, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and includes unreleased songs by The Go-Gos.

Also starring are Jesse Draper (Mighty Macs, “The Naked Brothers Band”), Patrick Alan Davis (The Amazing Spider-Man, Prom), and Bettina Devin (Rent, No One Will Know). The film is produced by Delicia Niami, Delphine Suter, and Romanus Wolter.

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Debuting director Romanus Wolter fuses the wholesome family fun of Hotel for Dogs with the wackiness of Best in Show and the comic book villainy of 101 Dalmatians in this hilarious take on “Canine Freestyle” dancing.

Doggie B” (“Doggie Boogie” Internationally) opens for a limited theatrical run August 31st in San Francisco’s Landmark Opera Plaza Theatres.

601 Van Ness Avenue 
San Francisco, CA 94102 
(415) 267-4893

Other cities/VOD Video On Demand on itunes, amazon, your cable or satellite system) on September 7, 2012.

DVD November 27, 2012 (Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Redbox).

For additional information on Doggie B, please visit:


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Sat Sept 15 Dog-themed Scavenger Hunt in San Francisco

In a city where dogs outnumber children it's a crime there has never been a scavenger hunt directly for dog lovers. 

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You don't need a dog to play, just style. You can form a team of 4-6 players or come as a free agent and be assigned to a team. 

When: Saturday, September 15, 2012

Time: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM (PDT)

Where: Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem

2323 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Ticket Cost: $20 - $40 (plus handling fee) depending on when you buy.

CLASH produces urban scavenger hunts for special events, birthdays, bachelorettes, and team building.  

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Sundays with Cleo: Home "more" not homeless

This time last year we marked National Homeless Pet Day next door on Cleo's blog. Look at how cute this old dog is. Living with her, it is always a surprise to me when I read that senior dogs are often left behind at shelters. Puppies are not the ones, but big beautiful girls like Cleo are unwanted. How is that possible?


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Dog adoption tales: You can't hit undo but you can make it better

Looking back at the first few months with our adopted dog, I can see so many mistakes we made. Mistakes that I would love to do over, or hit the undo button on. Sadly, my time machine is broken so instead it is better that I forgive myself, and be grateful that my dog loves and trusts me today.

I've mentioned here before that I grew up with a mother who was a dog trainer in the 1970s and 80s. She trained our dogs, winning lots of ribbons, plates and crystal bowls at dog shows. She also trained a lot of other people's dogs privately and in groups. When we adopted our dog, I knew from my childhood experiences the importance of crate training. I knew how much our dogs loved theirs. I used to play hide and seek in them, or take my afternoon nap in one with Tasha or Shadow. Our dogs used them as sanctuaries from us kids, and as safe havens when we traveled to dog shows.

Why didn't I do a better job at crate training my dog Cleo?

The day we sold the dog crate

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'Not So' Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Justice the Search Dog

It's impossible to be completely wordless today because our spotlight is on Justice, the National Search Dog Foundation (SDF) dog of the month. This sweet dog was rescued from a shelter south of San Francisco after being discovered by the mother of an SDF Trainer. SDF rescues unwanted dogs from shelters across the country, who then undergo six months of training to help advance obedience skills, disaster search skills and gain the confidence and trust they need by forming a special bond with their handler. SDF trainers immediately recognized Justice's polite, eager-to-please attitude and his talent for searching. 


Jeff Leon and Justice
In June 2011 firefighter Jeff Leon and Justice were matched up. 

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Game Time or Old Dog Seeks Tricks

My dog is gradually losing her eyesight. She's an older dog so it isn't a shock, but it is an adjustment to both of us. Cleo is constantly relearning her routes, and relearning distances between objects and her nose. During her navigation, she is learning to listen to our guiding words. Probably due to her arthritis, and I'd like to think her canine wisdom, she takes a slower pace now. No more racing wildly down the hall towards the front door.

With her senior years here, we are finding new ways to play. She was never one to play much fetch, so getting a ball with a bell inside isn't necessary. Her squeaky toys are still fun, but not as often. We searched around for ways to play, and keep her brain stimulated, that were fun for her personality but also safe. We created our own version of a favorite childhood game, but modified for old, slow, half-blind dogs, who are loved like crazy.


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Cleo captures "the flag" during Hide and Seek

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Is your dog a travel buddy or a homebody?

Here in San Francisco we are heading into the best time of year for being outdoors. August brings mild temperatures, with cool mornings, then afternoon sunshine. Our dog friendly city is a favorite destination for travelers year-round, with San Francisco-based Kimpton hotels popular for people with pets. In late August, there is the San Francisco Giants Dog Days of Summer event, where you can bring your dog to the baseball game and a portion of the ticket proceeds benefits the SF SPCA. For some residents, we might be considering day trips to Napa, or longer getaways to Lake Tahoe or Carmel. However, for this girl and her old dog, August includes staycations and walks around the block.

When we first adopted our dog, we hoped for a dog who would love to ride shotgun with us every weekend. Not only is San Francisco very dog-friendly, we are centrally located to many great outdoor adventures. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that our sweet girl did not enjoy car rides. She loved the destinations, but the journey has her stress-panting, and in the early years struggling to sit up or lay down the entire ride. It was as if she was on a sailboat, and trying to keep her eye on the horizon.

Enter Team Cleo

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Interview: Meet Musician Mark Alan. Learn How His Dog's Passing Produced The Album "Little Sun"

Almost a year ago I went to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary with my LIFE+DOG publisher. I had the chance to share some toys in both Dog Town and Cat World, which made me very happy especially because it was prior to the holidays. Touring the facilities, having a quiet moment in Angel's Rest, and meeting the dedicated employees left such a positive impression. We even enjoyed lunch with volunteers and staff alike, while listening to various sanctuary success stories. Three months later, one of the founders of Best Friends, Faith Mahoney, joined in my Influence Positively Interview series. Hard to say, but maybe this series of small serendipities might be behind a long time staff member at Best Friends introducing me to the Los Angeles-based musician Mark Alan, and his latest album Little Sun.

Happy Coincidence. Through Grouchy Puppy, I'm dedicated to sharing stories, interviews, cute photos, and generally any content that I believe educates others on the human-animal bond. With my older dog's health issues, I'm sensitive to every moment we have together, and how time is precious with her. Maybe it was a happy coincidence, but reading about Mark Alan's dog Dingo, the close bond between them, and ultimately how it inspired this album resonated with me.

image from download.themusebox.netAlphanautWhen you hear the emotion within the lyrics, to me, Little Sun, could've also been called "little son." The clear bond between Mark and Dingo comes through. Every song is a chapter in Dingo's story, some told from Dingo's perspective. Mark says, “These songs are not intellectualized, they are pure emotion – the cycles of life: births, deaths and the joys and heartaches in between.” 

Mark Alan considers his music to be a mirror of his personality, “Introspective, passionate and politically-minded.” Animal rights and environmental awareness are among these essential passions. In the midst of moving, and promoting Little Sun, I was fortunate enough to get Mark to pause, and answer some questions about how Dingo influenced his life, and music, and how this little "warm ball of light" gave fearlessly. Read Mark's heartfelt interview, and learn how you can help the National Canine Cancer Foundation:

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Influence Positively Stories: Emotional support & psychiatric service dogs


(CNN) -- His name is Valor. He's half Labrador retriever, half Great Dane, and goes everywhere with Sgt. Charles Hernandez. But Valor is more than a pet -- Hernandez considers the dog a personal physician.

When Hernandez was having seizures, Valor would nibble on the side of Hernandez's leg before the veteran realized anything was wrong. And the dog pulls him away from conflicts and jumps on him during anxiety attacks to calm him down. In combination with medications, Hernandez says the dog has helped his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I'm alive again," says Hernandez, 49, of the Bronx, New York, now retired from the U.S. National Guard. "What keeps me going is my dog."

Read the full story

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Why you should support companion animal programs

Does having a dog in the city make you healthier? Is there a benefit to having a dog at any age? This week we shared the news in Virginia about a Seniors for Seniors program, at the Prince William County animal shelter. Anyone over 60 can adopt dogs or cats over 5 for free. It is a great idea, and not only helps older dogs and cats get adopted, but provides an often lonely segment of our population with a much needed companion.

Dogs provide friendship and happiness

When you think of a big city, you see traffic, lots of people on sidewalks and generally, a lot of hustle and bustle. It is hard to imagine anyone being lonely if they lived in a city. You're surrounded by people, how can you be lonely?! Well, you can, especially if you are older and have a limited income that prevents you from going out or joining community classes that cost money. Having a companion animal could make all the difference in your health, both physical and mental.

One of the reasons I joined the board of Pets Are Wonderful Support is because of their work to keep the vulnerable members of our community with their dear companion animals. They provide valuable services that make all the difference. I believe an important way to address a larger national issue, such as the quality of life for our senior citizens, is by starting with helping those in our own community. Providing charitable veterinary services and pet care is an important way we care for animals, and our low income seniors.

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