Emma and Csar

Oprah's always been a dog lover—at home she has three furry friends—Solomon, a cocker spaniel, and two golden retrievers, Luke and Layla. But she's never seen anything like the incredible canines taking the Oprah Show stage today. Even if you're not a dog person, you'll feel the puppy love when you meet these four-legged phenoms!

Emma and her dog Csar are a Swedish dancing duo. Csar won the freestyle championship at the World Dog Championship in Stockholm in June 2008, competing against more than 20,000 dogs.
Jessica and Flashy Ferrari

Flashy Ferrari, a border collie Catalan sheepdog mix, was rescued from a Kansas City, Missouri pound. Today, he's part of a stunt dog show that performs across the country. His trainer Jessica shows off some of Ferrari's crazy tricks, which include jumping rope!
Chris and Action Jackson

Chris is the owner of both Flashy Ferrari and Action Jackson and is the founder of the Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show. Chris and Jackson's tricks include an unbelievable "pawstand," a doggie handstand!

Chris says you need to use positive reinforcement to train a dog to do new tricks. "I use all positive training techniques with my dogs," he says. "I have found it takes a lot of patience obviously, but you have to be consistent in training your dog." Of course, training a dog to do extreme stunts takes time. "The handstand trick took a good six months or more, but it takes a year to two to get our dogs trained professionally and doing live shows," Chris says.
The Skypers and their pooches

Dog lovers from around the country are Skyping™ in to Harpo Studios with their pups in tow. Robin (pictured above, on the left) from Kalispell, Montana, is joined by Buddy and Charlie. She adopted Buddy from a shelter about a year ago and says that while it took a little longer to bond with him than it would have with a puppy, it's been easier than she expected. "You keep him on a leash until you know what the situation is," Robin says. "It does take longer to bond, but we're talking weeks instead of overnight."

Jen (on the right) lives with her husband, their four cats and two dogs, Maisy and Loki, in Chicago. She says that while she's had her dogs for seven years, they're still not house trained.

Jamye (in the middle), who is Skyping from Atlanta, has had her dog, Zoey, for three years. "She's been an amazing force in my life and has caused so much change to occur," Jamye says. "It's this love and connection that you have with a creature that loves you unconditionally."

Maggie is a Jack Russell terrier, and math prodigy!

Maggie is a 7-year-old Jack Russell terrier who has been called a canine prodigy. According to her owner, Jesse Treff, Maggie can add, subtract, multiply, divide and count. "When she was about 3 months old she was learning things so fast that a friend of mine jokingly said, 'Maggie's so smart I bet she can count.'" But it was no joke! Jessie says that when she held up four fingers, Maggie tapped her foot four times. Shortly after, Maggie started doing basic arithmetic.
Watch Maggie do math for Oprah! Watch

"I hear Jack Russell terriers are smart," Oprah says, "but this is ridiculous!" 

Jessie says Maggie is also able to learn names and even fetch a tissue when someone sneezes. "You can actually teach dogs things very, very quickly with positive reinforcement," she says.
Isabella nurses the white tiger cubs.

When Sassy, a white Bengal tiger at the Safari Zoological Park in Caney, Kansas, stopped nursing her tiger cubs less than a day after they were born, zoo owners Tom and Allie Harvey had an idea to get the cubs fed. They called in Isabella, a 1-year-old golden retriever who had just finished weaning her own two puppies, to stand is as a substitute mom—licking, cleaning, feeding and loving the cubs as if they were her own.

Allie says she got the idea from a show she saw on Animal Planet. "Another zoo had some golden retrievers and some labs they used to help nurture and stimulate baby animals ... so that's when I got my golden retrievers," she says. "Isabella just happened to be lactating when the mama tiger abandoned her cubs, so we put them on [Isabella], and away they went."
Lana and Boo Boo, the world's smallest dog

At 1 pound, 5 ounces and 4 inches tall, Boo Boo, a Chihuahua from Raceland, Kentucky, holds the Guinness World Record for being the world's tiniest dog. Boo Boo's owner, Lana, says Boo Boo was the size of her thumb at birth and weighed less than an ounce. "I fed her with an eye dropper because she couldn't even take a bottle," Lana says.

Today, Boo Boo eats 2 tablespoons a day. "Her biggest meal is breakfast. She has a tablespoon of food," Lana says. "I fix her ground turkey with peas and carrots in it."
Dominic, a two-legged dog

You may think dogs are four-legged friends, but this 10-year-old greyhound has two left feet. When Dominic was 5 months old, he got into an accident when he ran under a neighbor's car. The vet said Dominic would need to either have both legs amputated or be put to sleep, and his owner, Kay, chose to have the legs removed. "When he woke up from the surgery, they set him down on the floor and he ran to the waiting room where he left me last," Kay says.

Today, Dominic can do all normal canine activities. "He can do whatever he wants," Kay says. "He can run downstairs, jump on furniture, go in the cupboard and get his own treats."
Felicity Huffman and Tucker

Skyping™ in from her Los Angeles home, it's Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman with her dog Tucker! Felicity says she adopted Tucker from a group called Pet Orphans, and Tucker and his siblings were originally named after characters on Grey's Anatomy. "For example, my assistant got McSteamy or McDreamy," Felicity says. "And Tucker was Alex."

Felicity—and Tucker—also have big news to announce. Felicity is helping Iams' Home 4 the Holidays dog adoption drive. Now in its 10th year, this program seeks to get a million dogs out of shelters and into adoptive homes by the holiday season.

"They have 3,000 shelters which are a part of it, and there's even one in Iraq," Felicity says. "Not only do they want to place the dogs, but they give you pet food, they give you coupons for savings, and then—what I feel like is the most important—they educate you."
Felicity says education for people who are thinking about adopting pets is crucial to making sure the animals don't end up back in shelters. "There's a lot to know when you adopt a pet. You know: How to introduce it to your family. How to make your house dog-proof. ... There's this great honeymoon period when you first get a dog. 'Oh, it's so cute. It's so great.' And then it eats your shoes and poops in your house and suddenly you don't like it so much."
Lisa Ling

In April 2008, Lisa Ling went undercover to reveal what goes in puppy mills—and the world was outraged to see thousands of female dogs and puppies endure horrific conditions, abuse and nonexistent veterinary care.

That show increased awareness and spurred action. Tips to the Humane Society led to a raid on a puppy mill in Tennessee. The 747 dogs in that facility were transferred to shelters in seven states, and its operator has been charged with 24 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

The owner of a 1,200-dog breeding operation in Wisconsin retired. Rather than letting the dogs be sold to another mass breeder, the Wisconsin Humane Society bought the kennel and proceeded to work on finding adoptive home for the dogs.

Authorities raided a farm in Pennsylvania and arrested the breeder who sold a fatally ill puppy to an undercover investigator. He pleaded guilty to eight counts of animal cruelty and surrendered his kennel license. A judge banned him from ever breeding dogs again.

And just weeks ago, more than 1,000 dogs were rescued from a puppy mill in West Virginia.
Bill Smith from Main Line Animal Resuce

Main Line Animal Rescue's Bill Smith—the man whose billboard in Chicago alerted Oprah to the horrors of puppy mills—says a recent example in Pennsylvania shows that there is still a long way to go.

After animal inspectors in Pennsylvania visited a puppy mill in Berks County, the owners were ordered to take 39 dogs to a vet for flea bites. "And instead of doing that, he basically shot all of the dogs in the kennels," Bill says.

In all, 80 dogs were reportedly shot. "They didn't have a chance," Bill says. "They were born in that facility and they were just meant to die there, and it was just heartbreaking."

Bill says Main Line Animal Rescue organized a candlelight vigil to pay respect to the killed dogs and to call attention to how the government was powerless to punish the puppy mill owner. "It's horrific and yet it's legal in the state of Pennsylvania to do that. Nothing happened to him. He admitted to doing it, and nothing happened," Bill says. "That's one of the reasons why we're pushing for better laws."
Oprah and Bill urge passage of Pennsylvania's H.B. 2525

A bill to crack down on puppy mills was introduced in Pennsylvania in early 2008. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell even asked for Oprah Show viewers' help in getting it passed, and more than 200,000 pledged support online. Unfortunately, the legislation stalled without passing before the end of the legislative session.

The good news is that the legislation—House Bill 2525—was recently reintroduced. Because of public support, it passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. It is currently up for a vote in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Bill says H.B. 2525 will strengthen laws in Pennsylvania to increase cage size and require veterinary care. "[And] they'll no longer be able to shoot these animals," Bill says. "Perhaps that tragedy in Berks County would have been avoided." 

On October 8, 2008, thanks to your help, H.B. 2525 passed the Pennsylvania Legislature and will become law!
H.B., a rescued Pomeranian

Bill and Oprah are joined by H.B., a Pomeranian rescued by Main Line Animal Rescue from a puppy mill in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Bill says dogs like H.B. are the reason laws need to be changed. "He had his leg cut off with a pair of tin snips," he says. "He got his leg caught on the wire flooring of his rabbit hutch. Most of these animals are kept in rabbit hutches and stacked. A dog below him grabbed his leg and it became swollen and the farmer, instead of cutting the wire, he cut his leg off. And that's typical. ... He's also missing an ear, probably from a dog fight because he was in a cage with another 12 dogs. He's the sweetest thing in the world."
Susan Marino of Angel's Gate, with rescued dogs

Following Lisa Ling's exposé on puppy mills, Today Show reporter Jill Rappaport introduced Oprah Show viewers to Susan Marino, the dedicated founder of Angel's Gate. This organization is a haven for more than 200 physically disabled animals that nobody else wants.

"What we do is make a commitment to the animal for a lifetime. We just want to make their lives magical and special until they take their final breath here," Susan said. "We focus on what they can do as opposed to what they can't." Since that report, Angel's Gate has raised $400,000 from generous Oprah Show viewers.

The Skypers™ were all moved by Susan's story of devotion.

Jen says she decided to do more to help animals. "I used to volunteer for pit bull rescue," she says. "I just kept adopting dogs and stopped volunteering. Now I have to do more."

"I was thinking how wonderful those dogs are," Robin says. "I mean, they have a place where they can go. I wish there were more facilities like that."

"We really are supporters of Atlanta Humane Society," Jamye says.
Oprah reads her e-mail

The original puppy mills show drew a huge response. The topic generated thousands of e-mails and comments on Oprah.com's message boards.

Kathleen wrote, "While I appreciate your exposé on puppy mills, I found the lack of support for reputable responsible breeders very sad. We are all now painted with the same brush."

Oprah disagrees. "There are a lot of wonderful breeders out there and obviously because you wanted to write me, you must be among them," she says. "And so I just ask people to be more thoughtful and responsible when you're buying your pets. ... But as we were saying earlier in this show, there are 8 million dogs in shelters. Many of them purebred dogs. And so I've been encouraging people to go to the shelters. But if you want a purebred dog and know of a great breeder we welcome your support of the breeders also."

Do you have a question for Oprah? E-mail her! Your message could be read on a future show.

Oprah has one more word on pets. "Remember," she says, "one of the best things you can do for your pet is spay or neuter."
FROM: The Tiniest Dog in the World
Published on September 25, 2008


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