AKC's Pick of the Litter

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The American Kennel Club's Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers--and their dogs--at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this program, we hear a little about the history of Presidential dogs, from George Washington's Foxhounds to the Obama family's Portuguese Water Dog "Bo," pictured here with the President (photo: courtesy of The White House.)

We are also joined by Terri Pecora and Ylisa Kunz of the Nutmeg Portuguese Water Dog Club, who tell us why this breed is a good choice if you live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and whether it's a good choice for you.

At this year's Meet the Breeds event at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, we presented six dogs from the Connecticut Army National Guard with our DOGNY Heroic Military Working Dog Award.  The award was accepted by Sergeant Michael Dunn, and he talks with host Lisa Peterson about the unit and his work with his partner Balou, a Belgian Malinois.

Also on this show, AKC staffer Stephanie Smith interviews champion agility competitor Tori Self.  She and her Border Collie Revolution were part of a gold medal-winning team at this year's World Agility Championship. 

And we hear (sort of) an excerpt from the tell-all biography of Uggie, the canine star of the Oscar-winning movie The Artist.

Direct download: PICK_prog10_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13 PM

The American Kennel Club's Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers--and their dogs--at home and in the field, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

Each year since 2000, the American Kennel Club has recognized great companion and service dogs with the Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence.  The national ACE Awards honor dogs in five categories: exemplary companion, law enforcement, search-and-rescue, service, and therapy.  On this program, we hear about the 2012 therapy dog winner, Benny, a nine-year-old Rottweiler owned by Kelly Skiptunas.  Kelly talks to host Lisa Peterson about Benny's work with children who have difficulty reading.

We'll also meet a special ACE award winner:  "Empire State" dog Marconi, a Spinone Italiano who is a certified therapy dog, and his owner and partner Cooper Lawrence.  They are part of the Angel on a Leash program, visiting St. Luke's Hospital in NYC.

The New Yorker Magazine has published great stories, essays, and cartoons since 1925, and dogs have featured prominently in many of them.  Now, the magazine's canine history has been assembled in The Big New Yorker Book of DogsPick of the Litter's Sarah Montague spoke with the book's editor, Henry Finder, who says the Peter Steiner cartoon pictured here is the most reproduced ever.

Finally, Tim Burton has a spine-tingling, heartwarming new film for Halloween--Frankenweenie.  Hear a brief clip on this show.

Direct download: PICK_prog9remixfinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use. Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two. From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs. When the tragedy of September 11, 2001 is commemorated each year, we pay tribute to both victims and heroes. Among these are the gallant search-and-rescue teams of handlers and dogs that worked so tirelessly at Ground Zero. As a result of their efforts, the public has become much more aware of this vital service, performed by scores of professional and volunteer teams all over the country. This edition of PICK OF THE LITTER focuses on search-and-rescue (SAR), beginning with an interview with the human half of the first team to receive the AKC’s new title in the field of urban search-and-rescue, Beckie Stanevich. She and her English Springer Spaniel Juno (pictured here) assist FEMA teams at disaster sites. Juno’s outstanding work made Springers the obvious choice for our breed profile for this program, and we hear more about these beautiful and versatile dogs from breeder Terry Patton. Dr. Cindy Otto was one of the handlers working at the World Trade Center site after 9/11, and the experience made her realize that the SAR dog is a breed apart, no matter what breed it is. She went on to found The Penn Vet Working Dog Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, and she tells host Lisa Peterson about her research and the Center’s new training facility. Finally, you’ll get to hear a search-and-rescue dog in action. The Pick of the Litter team spent an afternoon with members of Ramapo Search and Rescue Association, in Mahwah, New Jersey, where we participated in a training exercise and staffer Stephanie Smith got to play “victim” in a simulated rescue. Ramapo Vice President James Pearson describes his partner, German Shepherd Dog Gamma, as “a noble beast,” and that is how we feel about all the remarkable dogs—and their handlers—who make up these special teams.

Direct download: PICK_Ep8final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use. Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two. From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs. On this edition, breeder Nodie Williams talks with host Lisa Peterson about the Russell Terrier, which joined the AKC registry this past June. The compact Russell is one of the terriers derived from dogs bred by Parson John Russell in the 19th century, but is smaller, and, Williams says, more “companionable” than its long-legged former relatives. She praises the communication skills of this portable all-rounder. Terriers are one of the breeds being used in the growing field of scent detection, and Jose Peruyero of the J and K Canine Academy in Florida, who trains dogs to alert to everything from bombs to bedbugs, explains why, when it comes to odors, dogs are “the man.” It’s easier than ever to take pictures of our canine companions, but pet photographer Jim Dratfield brings a unique fine-art sensibility to his commissioned portraits. He tells Pick of the Litter’s Sarah Montague how an owner’s house can provide clues to the image he creates, and why the photo of a woman with her Lab, shown here, sums up the canine/human bond. To learn more about Jim’s work, go to petography.com

Direct download: PICK_Ep7_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use. Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two. From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this special edition of Pick of the Litter, we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, by recognizing her favorite breed, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Host Lisa Peterson talks with Bill Shelton, a breeder of champion Pembroke Welsh Corgis (pictured here, with a friend) about this strong-willed herding breed. The Queen received her first Corgi, a bitch called Susan, as a gift from her father King George VI for her eighteenth birthday. Since then she has bred and owned more than thirty Corgis, and Shelton says the development of the breed can be charted through her lines.

Why do Corgis appeal to the world’s most powerful woman? “I think she found in them what we all do,” Shelton says, “and that’s that they’re a bold and kindly intelligent little dog.”

Direct download: PICK_Ep6_newfinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers

canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

 

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this edition, we celebrate all things May.  In honor of Mother’s Day, AKC Breeder of the Year Plius Davern talks about her Sussex Spaniels and her rewarding work turning rescue dogs into rescuers.  May 1st is May Day, and gets us in the mood for spring, but it was also celebrated as a workers’ holiday in the former Soviet Union.  One of the most interesting legacies from that period is the Black Russian Terrier, a dog “engineered” by the Soviets as a military dog.  Post Cold War, these striking big dogs have turned into charming companion animals, and we hear about them from breeder and trainer Olga Kornienko. 

 

On Memorial Day, the country honors its military heroes, so we interviewed author Maria Goodavage about her book Soldier Dogs.  The bond between soldiers and their canine partners is “beyond anything we can imagine,” she says.  “They save each other.”

We see one vigilant canine soldier here, in a photo from the book taken by Marine Sergeant Mark Vierig.  

Finally we listen to more your “Best in Show” moments—great dog stories from our readers and listeners.

Direct download: PICK_Ep5_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

 

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

 

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, a brief history of dogs on the Titanic, in honor of the 100th anniversary of its tragic maiden voyage.  Also, handler David Fitzpatrick tells us about his willful Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show champion, Pekinese Palacegarden Malachy, and why he’s made a career handling this regal ancient breed: “They’re very aristocratic, they’re dogs that you sort of have to win over.  You end up doing things their way, and they oblige you and do a few things for you along the way.”  Such as winning Westminster!

 

Not all great moments happen in the ring.  Journalist Glenn Plaskin got his first puppy, a cocker spaniel named Katie (after his favorite celebrity, Katherine Hepburn) relatively late in life.  She was the runt of her litter, but “I looked at those long drooping ears, and that blonde hair, and knew she was the dog for me.”    Plaskin was concerned about training a dog on his own, then discovered by accident that his elderly next store neighbor had recently lost her own cocker.  “I knocked on her door—and my whole life changed.” 

 

Plaskin’s book Katie Up and Down the Hall, which is coming out in paperback this May, tells the story of how Katie created an extended family in his New York apartment building, and he talks to Pick of the Litter’s host Lisa Peterson about the transforming power of his little dog.  Katie and her “family,” John, Ryan, Pearl, and Glenn, are pictured here.  (Photo: ©ScottJonesPhotography.com)

 

Plaskin isn’t the only one with a good dog story.  We’ve been asking our newsletter readers and Pick of the Litter listeners to tell us about “Best in Show” moments with their dogs, and getting great responses.  You’ll hear a few of them on this program, featuring a “canonized” St. Bernard, a steadfast Golden Retriever, and an uncannily intuitive Collie.

Direct download: PICK4_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people, and news you can use.

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, we meet an Angel on a Leash, welcome a Coonhound to the AKC, find Fido in fine art, and talk to talented juniors.  Plus, could there be a canine Oscar winner?

David Frei is known to millions of television viewers as the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but in private life Frei has another important role—therapy dog volunteer.  We talk to Frei about his charity, Angel on a Leash (http://www.angelonaleash.org/)  his dogs Angel and Grace, and the book inspired by their work together, Angel on a Leash: Therapy Dogs and the Lives They Touch.

We also accompany Frei and his wife Cherilyn as they visit with children at the Ronald McDonald House, in New York City.  The facility provides accommodation for families of children undergoing cancer tests and treatments at hospitals in the New York area.

This year the American Kennel Club admitted the Treeing Walker Coonhound to its registry.  We hear about this vocal, but kindly, breed, from owner/handler Nancy Winton. 

The 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show comes to New York on February 13th and 14th.  Among the related events and festivities is the AKC-hosted annual Barkfest at Bonhams Charity Brunch, which benefits the AKC Humane Fund.  Alan Fausel, the Vice President of Bonham’s Fine Arts Department, comments on the paintings and drawings that will be offered at the “Dogs in Show and Field” Fine Art Sale, on February 15th.

At the AKC/Eukanuba Championship in Orlando, Florida, this past December, junior competitions were held in agility, obedience, and showmanship.   Two talented juniors, Anneka Dahle and K.T. Spencer, talk to Pick of the Litter host Lisa Peterson about their experiences. 

Last on this show—forget George Clooney.  Dog lovers are rooting for Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier who co-stars in The Artist, to pick up an Oscar Award—in his teeth maybe.

 

Direct download: PICK3_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00 PM

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