Archive for January, 2010

It was great to work with little Simon

January 28, 2010

So long little Simon

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Simon while visiting his owner and trainer, Debbie Pearl of Paws for Effect, on a trip to LA.    Simon although small had a huge personality and was a very talented dog actor.  He became one of my favorite little dogs of the Paws for Effect pack.  Debbie did an awesome job training Simon.  Simon had plenty of studio time under is collar, including the work he did on the television show Dirty, Sexy, Money

Jimmy ,Toula and Simon hanging out before filming Animal Planet's THE HAUNTED

Recently, both Toula and I had the opportunity to work with Simon while filming Animal Planet’s show The Haunted.  Toula, Simon and another dog, Jimmy worked wonderfully together while filming the episode. 

Simon was a smart, witty dog with an awesome leg lift as seen in a commercial he recently did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdY7J7Y5M3Y

It was an honor to have been able to work with Simon.

Jimmy, Toula and Simon, working on head down

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WZZM- Christine and Toula make the nightly news

January 25, 2010

Being involved in the Michigan Film industry has been a wonderful expereince, check out the most recent interview: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=117775

Christine and Toula on WZZM, Jan. 22 eveing news

January 21, 2010

 Tune in to see Christine and Toula on WZZM, Grand Rapids, Michigan television station on Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:40.  The topic will be about working in the Michigan film industry, including Toula’s work in the film and TV industry.

Animal Trainer In the press- Kalamazoo Gazette

January 8, 2010

Check out today’s article in the Kalamazoo Gazette!

Youth In Revolt in theaters tonight!

January 8, 2010

I am looking forward to seeing Youth In Revolt tonight!  I worked on the film as the an assistant dog trainer and I can’t wait to see little Oscar a/k/a Albert on the big screen.  This is certain to be a great movie, directed by Miguel Arteta and stars Michael Cera.   Expect a few good laughs!

Oscar

Oscar was rescued from a shelter in LA.  He is a wonderful little dog and he seemed to enjoy the time he spent at my house last summer while filming.  Toula, Cole, Annie and Keegan welcomed him to our pack with open paws. 

Youth In Revolt on set Justin Long takes some time out to love on the puppies

Check out the film and keep an eye out for three little puppies and another little dog…  enjoy!

Toula goes to school! Elementary that is!

January 8, 2010

On Friday, January 8, 2009, Toula and I will be making a visit to the thrid grade class at Delta Center elementary school in Grand Ledge, Michigan.  Toula will be the special guest of my nephew, Ethan and I’m sure it will be a good time for all.

Toula , The NASCAR FOUNDATION, Ryan Newman: A night of success!

January 5, 2010

Christine Mahaney, Toula and Ryan Newman: The NASCAR Foundation Partners for Paws Spectacular - A Live and Silent Auction hosted by NASCAR Drivers Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman Feb 11, 2009
Christine Mahaney, Toula and Ryan Newman: The NASCAR Foundation Partners for Paws Spectacular – A Live and Silent Auction hosted by NASCAR Drivers Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman Feb 11, 2009

As the Daytona 500 approaches next month, I wanted to share a special trip that took place last year.   Toula and I were invited to perform at the The NASCAR Foundation Partners for Paws Spectacular on February 11, 2009, at Daytona Beach, Florida.  It pleasure to see so many people come out and support animals in need.  Proceeds raised from the evening will benefited the Greg Biffle Foundation, Ryan Newman Foundation and Halifax Humane Society of Daytona Beach, three organizations that support improving animal welfare.   

Toula and I met so many wonderful people including Ryan and Krissie Newman.  We share the mutual love of rescue dogs, however, they have me beat with a pack of five fabulous dogs.  They not only own rescue dogs themselves, but they are also involved in rescue. Two paws up for the Newman’s and their dedication to rescue dogs! 

Ryan Newman, Christine Mahaney, Toula & Greg Biffle 2-11-2009

Ryan Newman, Christine Mahaney, Toula & Greg Biffle 2-11-2009

  

Toula Remembered the Reason for the Season-did you?

January 5, 2010

It was the day before Christmas 2009 and all through the town people were shopping and scurrying around in hopes to find that perfect gift for their loved one.  The snow did not stop the shopping, although it was treacherous outside, finding the perfect gift was on everyone’s mind.  That is, except Toula.   She already had the gift, the joy in her heart and cheer to spread.  Not to those she knew or had even ever met before- strangers, to her but the most important people in her world that day.  She was on a mission to put her talent to good use and put the reason into the season.

She was groomed and ready to go by noon on Christmas Eve, donning her velvet red and white Santa hat, I buckled us into the sleigh and traveled where too few have traveled before on Christmas Eve, Bickford Cottage.  Bickford Cottage specializes in assisted living and memory care. It was there that she gave strangers her gift; spread her joy and endless amounts of cheer to all the residents. 

Toula getting ready to entertain at Bickford Cottage

When arrived at the Cottage, we were greeting by a roomful of people happy to see a new face, after all, it was Christmas Eve.  If the people in the room weren’t dog lovers before we arrived, they were when we left!  They were gathered in the large living room, patiently awaiting the “Movie Star”, “America’s Most Talent Pet”, the “Therapy Dog”, the “Rescued Dog” and to me, simply my best friend, Toula.  My best friend and I had arrived to offer joy, laughter and a bit of holiday cheer to people that were truly deserving of our time.

Bickford Cottage

As Toula took her time to greet each and every person in the room, it was as if her wagging tail spread magical dust that came over the group- the smiles got bigger and soon laughter filled the room.   Toula’s happiness was contagious.  Toula entertained the crowd and put on a little show consisting of just a handful of the numerous behaviors she knows.  On that day it really wasn’t so much about the show as it was to share Toula’s affection with others.

As our time progressed at the Cottage, she took it upon herself to pick out the very special people she thought needed just a little extra attention that day, a little extra love and within minutes she had them engaged in conversations only the two of them understood.  As I looked around the room, I saw nothing but smiles, and they never took their eyes off Toula.  If they were lucky enough to make direct eye contact with her, she made sure to acknowledge them with a quick kiss and then got back to entertaining. 

Toula making friends at Bickford Cottage

During our visit, I got to hear many wonderful stories and memories of dogs that have been an important part of so many lives.  Despite the aging process and perhaps a bit of memory loss, the memories they shared with me about their dogs’ were as clear and vivid as something that occurred only yesterday.   As they shared their stories, Toula handed out kisses as though she was Santa handing out candy canes.  She embraced the residences and they gave her plenty of pets, hugs and kisses back.

Toula doing room visits and spreading the cheer

Our time at the Cottage on Christmas Eve was limited, but the joy and happiness that Toula brought to the residence was something that one can not buy at a store, it needs no fancy wrapping paper, it is not limited by dollar amounts or size.  The strangers we meet that day quickly became individuals that Toula and I are now proud to call our friends.  Visiting those who are in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or specialized medical facilities during the holiday season is one of the most rewarding and special gifts anyone can give; the gift of your time is priceless.  

A special thank you to the staff at Bickford Cottage for welcoming us with open arms and also a very special thank you to my very own Santa’s Elves, Mechelle and Kasey, they helped with props and making the show on the road possible on Christmas Eve.

WHATADOG online store offical grand opening!

January 5, 2010

Happy New Year from WHATADOG! To start 2010 off with a bang, I’m writing with exciting news – the Whatadog on-line store has officially launched! 

WHATADOG appearal men's shirt

Men's WHATADOG shirt

The creation of this store stems from the significant amount of requests I have received from so many of you for WHATADOG gear. The store offers a little something for everyone in the family. WHATADOG branded products include men’s and women’s tops, hoodies and sweatshirts, hats, beach and tote bags, and even eco-friendly t-shirts and water bottles for all of you “green” folks out there. You will also find many items that are “Made In the USA.” 

 To make things even better, all products will be shipped directly to your doorstep! Be sure to visit the WHATADOG Boutique on-line to check-out all the stylish pieces the store has to offer. 

I hope you all enjoy the new WHATADOG gear and I look forward to seeing you sporting it around town! 

 Be the leader!