DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166The 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
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.

Posted in Events, Giving Back, Guest Blogger, Natural Pet Food, pet adoption, Pet Shelters, Podcasts, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


JonHammlowres2Halo is the proud sponsor of “Shelter Me: Partners for Life,” the fifth episode of the inspiring national PBS series that celebrates shelter pets with positive and uplifting stories.

Halo, dedicated to raising awareness about pet adoption, has also proudly sponsored the previous four episodes, each hosted by leading actors and animal advocates, including: Katherine Heigl, Jane Lynch, Edie Falco and Allison Janney.

Hosted by actor and animal advocate Jon Hamm, this one-hour emotionally charged episode features country music icon Emmylou Harris’ work with homeless pets and disadvantaged youth and a story about an innovative program where police departments recruit shelter dogs for their prestigious K-9 units.

The “Shelter Me” series was created by filmmaker Steven Latham, who wants to break down the negative perceptions and stigmas of public animal shelters and help people realize that shelter pets make the best pets.

Shelter Me: Partners for Life” (Ep. 5) Premieres on PBS across the U.S. in October.

Here is this week’s airing schedule:
Airing Thursday, Oct. 8 – Sunday, Oct. 11

Los Angeles
Sunday, October 11, 3 pm (Ep. 5)

West Palm Beach
Saturday, October 10 at 8pm (Ep. 5)

Grand Rapids
Sunday, October 11 at 5 pm (Ep. 5)

St. Louis
Friday, October 9 at 10 pm (Ep. 5)

Sunday, October 11 at 11 pm (Ep. 5)

Friday, October 9 at 7 pm (Ep. 5)

MPTV Channel 36:
Saturday, October 10 at 9 am (Ep. 5)

Click here for the complete schedule of Shelter Me: Partners for Life.

Posted in Caroline Golon, Giving Back, pet adoption, Pet Shelters, Pet Stories, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


ShelterMeLogo1The fifth episode of the inspiring “Shelter Me” television series premiered Tuesday night, September 29, at the Writer’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, California.

Halo is the proud founding sponsor of this series, directed and produced by filmmaker Steven Latham, that highlights the many benefits of adopting shelter pets. Focusing on the success stories of fostering and adoption, the series hopes to encourage more people to adopt shelter pets and become more involved in helping their local shelters.

The latest Shelter Me episode, titled “Partners for Life” is hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor, Jon Hamm, and includes emotional stories about fostering pets, and law enforcement agencies that recruit shelter dogs for their elite K9 units.This episode also features legendary singer-songwriter, Emmylou Harris, who attended the premiere, and her amazing work helping at-risk youth and homeless pets in her community.

Jon Hamm generously offered a special mention about Halo’s sponsorship: “I’d like to give a special shout out to Halo, Purely for Pets for making Shelter Me possible. Thank you, and thank you to all of your customers for helping us spread the word about shelter pets.” And Halo in turn, thanks the series’ talented stars and producer, director Steven Latham. Halo is especially proud to support Latham’s vision—to break down the negative stereotypes of public shelters and convince prospective pet parents that shelter pets make the best pets.

“Shelter Me: Partners for Life” premieres on PBS in October. Check for the broadcast days and times for your area. And to learn more about the Shelter Me series, visit


Posted in Events, Giving Back, Joan DeMartin, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


amputee-cat-lg2Veteran Karolyn Smith knew that adopting two kittens would might help her cope with her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but she never imagined one of the kittens might help other veterans as well!

Smith, an army sergeant who served in Iraq, rescued the two kittens, Leonias and Sophia, from a local shelter. Sophia was found with her umbilical cord wrapped around her hind leg, requiring the leg to be amputated when she first arrived at the shelter.

But the cat’s disability did not dissuade Smith from adopting the pair. “I was thinking, no problem because I have friends who are amputees,” Smith told WIAT-TV.

Soon, however, Smith began thinking that her little “bionic cat” Sophia might be a perfect therapy cat for fellow veterans suffering from PTSD.

Smith knows from experience how difficult it is to live with PTSD. When she was in Iraq, a roadside bomb wounded her. Her hope is to help other veterans facing the same challenges she has.

Click here to read the complete story.

Posted in Caroline Golon, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


101118_4177_dodman154.jpgRarely, a cat will develop a focal seizure in a part of its brain that oversees the function of aggression. The clinical picture is that of a cat which, for no apparent reason, suddenly starts to launch savage attacks toward its owner(s). Following an attack, cats remain in a heightened state of agitation for quite some time and during that time are likely to attack again.

However far down the road — unless the cat is successfully treated – additional attacks are likely to happen, sometimes weeks or months later, after a period of relative normality. People can suffer from partial seizure-related aggression, too, and in them the condition goes by the name “episodic dyscontrol.” In dogs, the same condition is commonly referred to as “rage” and is notorious in some breeds.

The faintest trigger, like a piece of paper blowing around or someone putting on their shoes, will cause an affected cat to launch into attack mode. Sometimes approaching them in a certain area of the house, a loft in one case, will set them off. The hallmark of partial seizure-related aggression in any species is a sudden violent attack following trivial or even no obvious motivation.

Attacks may be preceded by an aura of altered mood – perhaps the cat not acting right or seeming “off” – and are often followed by period of tiredness or reclusiveness. There is no rhyme or reason to such attacks but stress seems to make them more likely – for example, having a lot of people around for a celebration.

Click here to read the complete article.

Dr. Dodman is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Director of the school’s Animal Behavior Clinic. He is also Chief Scientific Officer for the CENTER FOR CANINE BEHAVIOR STUDIES. He has written over 100 scientific articles and several popular press books, including The Dog Who Loved Too Much and The Cat Who Cried for Help.

Posted in Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Pet Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment