The Dog Film Festival Was Boffo in Chicago!

Gia and her adopted family - Dog Film Festival

The dog lovers of Chicago came out in droves to see the Dog Film Festival at the wonderful Music Box theater, which worked right alongside the Festival team in doing PR. We chose Chicago because our national sponsor the Petco Foundation had given a grant to the great shelter group PAWS Chicago, which also helped to get the word out about the film programs, from which they got 50% of every ticket sold.

It really helped that the Festival sponsor Why Does My Dog sent their own Aly Delacoeur to do two TV interviews in the days before the Festival, and then I had the pleasure of doing an early segment live on the Sunday morning of the Festival itself. The folks at Fox 32 News were so welcoming and I had brought a Dog Film Festival limited edition t-shirt to thank a terrific PAWS volunteer, Tom Garrett, who came with a sweet little white dog named Gia, who was up for adoption.

Showing the dedication of volunteers who believe that “every dog deserves their best possible life,” Tom had taken Gia home with him the night before so they’d be ready for the 7:30 AM call at the studio. The (very handsome!) show host George was so kind and made us feel right at home. I couldn’t help telling Tom’s secret which was that Gia had not left his side since he’d brought her home, including insisting on sleeping in his bed and driving in his lap (much to the surprise of Tom’s own Labrador!)

Right after our conversation it was time for the local weather report, offered by their famed Illinois meteorologist, Mark Strehl. And get this: during the commercial break Mark said that Gia had fallen for him, because she hadn’t taken her eyes off him on the sidelines during the entire interview. So he asked if he could hold her, and he did so lovingly during his entire weather report!

Then he graciously took a photo with me and Gia afterward.

Tracie Hotchner, Chicago weatherman Mark Strehl with Gia the dog

And all that extra attention paid off more than we might have imagined: Gia went to the Music Box theater and hung out outside while movie-goers streamed in and out, but she had already been “put on hold” by a family that saw her on the news! She’s the little smiling white one in the photo!

And to gild the lily, the other pooch at the theater, a darling hound puppy, Ducky, was also adopted back at the shelter after the Festival wrapped up.

Ducky Gets Adopted - Dog Film Festival

It was such a thrilling day: so many happy Chicagtoans enjoying the films and the messages of love and hope for dogs and their people. The two dogs who came got adopted. And founding sponsor Halo, Purely for Pets, gave their customary 10,000 bowls of food to another shelter in Chicago that PAWS chose to share the bounty. (more on those Halo food donations next week!)

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This Chihuahua Went from Terrible Dog to Therapy Dog!

Teddy the Chihuahua formally Eddie the Terrible

Photo credit: Maddie’s Fund


Sometimes all anyone needs to be rehabilitated is to find the right family. For Teddy the Chihuahua, formerly known as Eddie the Terrible, the right family completely changed him. According to Maddie’s Fund, Eddie ended up at the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) less than two years ago. Although sometimes, in the words of HSSV’s Finnegan Dowling, Eddie would simply act “like he was this little doggy angel dropped down from heaven,” he wasn’t such an angel about other dogs. In fact, according to Dowling, Eddie “would just fly off the handle” about other dogs.

That didn’t keep HSSV from looking for a family for Eddie. “Eddie was an incredibly normal, smart, loving, funny, terrible dog in the way that most people’s dogs can be awful. My own included,” as Dowling said about Eddie’s behavior. Although HSSV knew that Eddie wouldn’t be the right dog for every family, they knew that he “would make someone a loving pet.”

Read Teddy the Chihuahua’s complete story.

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September is National Service Dog Month

National Service Dog Month

Veteran Bryan Foltz with his PTSD service dog Dell, from K9s for Warriors


September is National Service Dog month and a chance for all of us to reflect on how the human-canine bond directly impacts the quality of life for those people who depend on a dog to get them out and about.

Over the past couple of years I have become increasingly aware of the powerful difference a trained service dog can make in the life of a returning veteran experiencing a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD. A couple of years ago I did an interview on Dog Talk with Shari Duval, the founder of K-9’s for Warriors who talked about founding the organization when her son did 2 tours in Iraq as a bomb dog handler (after being a K9 cop before his service), but came back home “unrecognizable” — so she created this program pairing shelter dogs with returning warriors.

Imagine my pleasure in discovering that K-9 Advantix II was a sponsor of this great non-profit. The Bayer company supplies K9 Advantix II flea and tick preventive to all the graduates of the K-9 for Warriors project, and has become an important sponsor of the Dog Film Festival. We all share a desire to protect and celebrate the human-animal bond. There is a wonderful short film in the Festival about a warrior and his dog, and this past week on “Dog Talk” I interviewed veteran Bryan Foltz about his PTSD service dog Dell, from K9s for Warriors.

I hope you’ll listen to both of these discussions and deepen your own appreciation of what dogs can mean to each of us. September and every month these service animals help our wounded veterans rejoin their families and communities and begin to heal.



Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

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Noticeable Results: The Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) Donation Report

Sampson from LAPS

As the animal control service provider for the Township and City of Langley in British Columbia, The Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) responds to and investigates complaints from the public seven days a week. From stray dogs to cattle running loose to dogs biting humans, LAPS Animal Control Officers meet each challenge with public safety and animal welfare in mind. Since 2003, LAPS has worked hard to make the welfare of the shelter animals its top priority.

Halo is proud to partner with and to achieve noticeable results for shelter pets together.

Here’s what LAPS had to say about a recent Halo Pets donation:

Sampson and Lila are a pair of beautiful Mastiff cross Great Danes. They are brother and sister and were found running loose in the community and were brought to the shelter by one of our Animal Control Officers.

Their family later contacted us letting us know that they were no longer able to care for their 2 dogs. These 2 gentle giants quickly stole the hearts of staff and volunteers alike! Staff had noticed that Lila appeared to be favoring one of her hind legs. We took her for an exam at a local Veterinary hospital and discovered that Lila had a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and needed a very expensive surgery to repair it.

By reaching out to the community, we were able to fundraise enough money to pay for Lila’s $2500 surgery. The surgery wasn’t the only cost of finding a home for these 2 beauties. We also provided 3 weeks of obedience training (we do clicker training with all of our shelter dogs) and provided basic Veterinary care for both dogs although Sampson required very little beyond vaccines, deworming and flea treatment. We want to ensure all of our dogs are happy, well behaved and healthy before we place them in their new homes.  

Feeding these 2 gentle giants is no small undertaking .These 2 were eating 12 cups a food a day and blasted through 27 pounds of dog food every 10 days!! Luckily Sampson has already found his forever home but Lila is still waiting for a family of her own. We know there is a special family who are waiting to meet Lila. They just don’t know it yet! In the mean time Lila is happy, loved and well fed here at the shelter!

Thank you Halo and Greater Good!”

Thank you LAPS for making a noticeable difference for pets in your community.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million meals annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy.

Lila from LAPS

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Noticeable Results: Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA – Jake’s Story

Jake from Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA

The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA) is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona. Its mission is to create a world where there are no homeless dogs and cats and to be the community’s leading source for pet adoptions, veterinary services, volunteer opportunities, humane education and expertise in animal welfare.

Halo is proud to partner with and to feed all the AAWL & SPCA pets year around.

Here’s what AAWL & SPCA had to say about a recent Halo Pets donation:

Meet Jake. Jake initially came to AAWL in July 2011. Over the last 4 years Jake has been adopted and returned 4 times. The last return was Feb 2015 and Jake was with AAWL until he was adopted again on 9/16/2015.

Jake is nearly 5 years old, has hip problems that make it tough for him to get enough exercise so weight had been a problem for him. During the 7 months he was with AAWL in 2015 the high quality diet he received helped stabilize his weight, allowing him more walks without pain and time in the therapy pool to improve his strength.

His adoption in September followed a slumber party – a nationally recognized program of AAWL’s that allows families to bring a tougher to adopt animal home and see how he fits in with the family. During the 3 – 7 day slumber party, AAWL provides kennel, bedding, leash & collar as well as food to continue the appropriate diet and any medications that an animal may be taking. As you can see, Jake’s potential family became his forever family and keeps up his own personal Facebook page sharing his happy life.

Thank you AAWL & SPCA for making a noticeable difference for pets in your community.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million meals annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy.

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