Friday, August 3, 2018

A Snapshot in Time


[Editor’s note: The piece below was written by Stephanie Abraham, the AKC Gazette Boxer breed columnist, for the July AKC Gazette. This breed column, “A Snapshot in Time,” was selected for republication in the next edition of the print and online AKC Breeder quarterly newsletter by the editor of the Gazette.]


      We live in an age of statistics in the dog world as well as the world at large. From crowd sizes at political rallies and sporting events to numbers of champions sired by a particular stud dog to size of entries under a particular judge—we can and do make judgments based on numbers.  
   However, it doesn’t hurt to point out now and again how these numbers may be skewed in a particular direction or altered over the decades based on new technologies or even changes in our national economy.
      Back in the day, when bitches had to be shipped by air and there was no AI breeding, stud dog statistics reflected those times.  In the 1970s, for example, shipping was the norm. I spent many an hour waiting or filling out written forms (no computers) at the cargo area at the airport. While Bang Away did sire 88 champions in the 1950s, the number of bitches sent to him was legion, and he remains #1 in AKC Boxer champions sired today.  This is a tremendous achievement, because of the sheer difficulty of physically getting the bitches to him, and the fact that he was only available during his actual lifetime—which in his case was relatively short--just under 8 years (Jan. 1949 - Feb. 1957). We can all argue with the benefit of hindsight about the good and bad contributions he may have made as our first real example of the ‘popular sire syndrome” in the breed, but the fact remains that his influence was indisputable.
     Today, freezing semen is commonplace. Dogs can and do sire offspring decades after their demise. We can ship chilled semen literally around the world using sophisticated extenders. So while production records may be eclipsed due to technology, we must remember that not all animals are being counted on equal playing fields. We reap the rewards today of advances in veterinary science and research, treating conditions that might have rendered animals barren not so many years ago. Times have certainly changed. The dog that sired 20 champions in 1960 might sire 40 or more today. 
     The advent of DNA analysis has made a dramatic difference in the dog world. Now we can test for health conditions, use more than one sire in a litter, and track generations to be sure of accurate records. Making breeding choices based on DNA analysis has arguably changed the entire world of purebred dog breeding. 
     Likewise, dog show numbers and judging opportunities have increased exponentially over the years. Hardly a weekend goes by without shows being available at increasingly closer distances. At the same time, entry fees have increased and travel is also more expensive. We constantly hear "too many shows, not enough good judges." While it is not in the scope of this column to argue that theory, it is clear that entry numbers have decreased and requirements for Majors in many breeds, and certainly Boxers, have decreased. In my Zone 1, Major requirements in 2018 have slipped to 9 and 14. I remember when Majors were 24 and 27, with far fewer opportunities to find them. Boxers were almost at the top of the list of all breeds when it came to Majors. How times have changed--and not just for Boxers but for many other breeds whose registrations have decreased even tho their popularity ranking has stayed relatively constant. Boxers have been in the Top 10 by popularity for a number of years lately. They were #3 during the Bang Away era. 
     So--- we need to be aware of all that has gone before us that has altered the way we look at our beloved breed. Numbers are just that--merely numbers that reflect on a particular point in history. One stud dog or brood bitch record is not "better" than another; it just reflects a snapshot in Time.  

Stephanie Abraham
Scotland, CT 06264



Monday, April 2, 2018


How to Win Friends and Influence Boxer People…NOT!

It’s 2018. Boxer entries are down all across the US, the new AKC point schedule shows our breed in decline and the AKC just announced that the German Shorthaired Pointer made it onto the top 10 most popular dogs list in 2017, knocking out the Boxer, who had been in that group for the past four years. In the same vein, ABC membership continues to fall and the print-your-own-ballot scheme that the board came up with not too long ago in an attempt to save money has had the unintended consequence of ensuring that only a fraction of the membership votes. In addition to all that bad news, ABC member clubs are also losing members and more of them are falling by the wayside every year.

So why did the ABC leadership choose this inauspicious moment in time to take a simple problem – the judge elected to officiate at the Maryland Regional had to withdraw due to illness, and the judge who came in second in the election had already accepted another assignment – and turn it into a crisis?

When the ABC was notified that the original judge had to withdraw, the president could have called a special meeting of the full board and asked for a consensus on a new judge from the directors, who are after all elected to conduct ABC business. Instead, a couple of officers unthinkingly appointed a judge who had just judged one of the pre-ABC shows in May 2017.

Naturally the Regional show chair, Tom Davis, objected to the ABC’s hasty choice, which he felt would hurt the entry at a show that Maryland Boxer Club members had worked long and hard to make a success. So he called the Salisbury KC show chair and suggested a popular breeder judge who had previously judged the ABC Futurity (and was also an ABC director) and the Salisbury Kennel Club hired her.

But because Tom Davis refused to accept the ill-considered decision of the officers who originally selected the new judge and acted on his own to solve what he saw as a problem the ABC was only making worse, a majority of the board voted to expel him from the ABC; because Bridget Brown, the breeder judge hired by the Salisbury KC, refused to withdraw from the Regional assignment, a majority of the board voted to remove her from the board by suspending her for six months; and finally, despite that the other members of the Maryland Boxer Club had done nothing wrong and had put on a great show, a majority of the board voted to sanction MBC for a year, during which time the club cannot put on an independent specialty show or even a designated specialty. Which brings me to the point of this blog:

Both sides made mistakes here, starting with the ABC officers who selected a judge who had just judged during the 2017 ABC week, in contravention of the spirit of the ABC’s own judges’ selection rules. But only one side was punished, and by any measure, punished out of all proportion to their actions. Expulsion?  A six months suspension?  A year’s sanction? And most of those actions were taken in the secrecy of an “executive session” of the board.

It’s 2018. Our votes for a new ABC Board of Directors are due to the teller by April 30. I have served as both an elected member of the board and as a zone director – I know how the board is supposed to act and it seems plain to me that the actions of most of the current directors in this instance were “prejudicial to the best interests of the club and the breed.”

If you agree, read the candidate questionnaires carefully and elect a slate of new members to the ABC BOD. It’s time to change with the times.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A 2017 Update on JKD & ARVC Research

This update was originally published in the 2017 ABC issue of The Boxer Daily. It has been lightly edited. However, before you read about the progress that’s being made to find a solution to JKD (and ARVC), I’d like to direct you to www.boxerjkd.com. This website was created by a group of six Boxer fanciers, including three professional geneticists and several longtime breeders/exhibitors, to provide advice to Boxer breeders on how best to avoid producing Juvenile Kidney Disease – a devastating and inevitably fatal genetic illness – and to offer practical help and advice to the owners of JKD-affected puppies and adults.

Because there is not yet a gene test for JKD, the consensus of the three geneticists in our informal JKD group is that currently the ONLY way to stack the odds of not producing JKD in our favor is to avoid close breeding at all costs, and to eliminate from our breeding programs dogs and bitches that have produced an affected puppy. To that end, there are a number of pedigree programs that will help us avoid breeding two closely related dogs; and boxerjkd.com  has compiled a group of pedigrees from various parts of the world that identify dogs and bitches that have produced offspring that were diagnosed with JKD. (These pedigrees will soon be available on the boxerjkd.com Facebook page, too.)

It seems to be human nature to try to deny that a big health problem exists until it’s become an overwhelming problem. That’s what’s happened in the UK with JKD, and in the US with ARVC (we have JKD here in NA, too, but not yet to the same extent). For many Boxer fanciers, our whole lives revolve around our dogs. If you’ve ever lived with a JKD-affected Boxer, you’ll know that avoiding inbreeding and passing on the stud dogs and brood bitches that have produced offspring diagnosed with JKD is the very least we can do for our wonderful breed until a gene test is available.
VZ

A 2017 Update on JKD & ARVC Research
By Virginia Zurflieh, Scarborough Boxers

The Boxer community is a pretty tight-knit group of people, especially the breeders/owners/exhibitors in the English-speaking part of the world. And these days, most serious breeders have made themselves conversant with basic genetics as it applies to breeding Boxers. Our newfound familiarity with terms like “recessive,” “dominant,” “chromosomes” and “alleles” is due to a large extent to the persistence of British geneticist and Boxer breeder Dr. Bruce Cattanach in searching for a solution to various canine hereditary diseases, of which Boxers suffer more than their fair share. In fact, some genetic diseases and conditions, like ARVC and JKD, are forms of heart and kidney disease that afflict only Boxers.

Although already well-known to breeders in the UK and Europe, Dr Cattanach has most recently become familiar to Americans and Canadians by seeking out researchers working on studies that are aimed at eliminating those two often fatal “Boxer” diseases and persuading Boxer lovers to participate in the research via social media like Facebook.

One of these studies, on both JKD and ARVC, is ongoing at Cambridge University in the UK, where Professor Bill Amos is using new techniques to try to identify markers for JKD and ARVC. He is working with DNA from c.1000 Boxers, 100+ of them from the US and Canada. Prof Amos is still accepting DNA samples from Boxers that have been diagnosed with ARVC or JKD (called JRD or Juvenile Renal Dysplasia in the US). When I contacted him a week ago to ask if he wanted DNA from two recently diagnosed JKD cases of which I had just been made aware, he replied, “Definitely! Every case is desperately sad but worth its weight in gold.” So if you are unfortunate enough to own a puppy diagnosed with JKD/JRD or a Boxer diagnosed with ARVC and you wish to participate in Prof. Amos’ study, just email me at vzboxers@gmail.com and I’ll see that you get supplies and instructions and will send the completed kits to Prof. Amos at Cambridge. As always, the names of dogs and owners are held in strict confidence.

A second study, on ARVC, is being conducted by pediatric cardiologist & researcher 
Dr Robert Hamilton at the Hospital for Sick Children in TorontoDr Cattanach had previously collaborated with Dr Hamilton on an ARVC study that resulted in a co-authored journal paper that provided evidence that striatin, the gene identified by Dr Kate Meurs, was NOT the gene responsible for ARVC. But in the current ARVC study, Dr Hamilton, in Dr Cattanach’s words,”…has made a finding that I consider a breakthrough for Boxer breeders. It is what one might call a biochemical test for developing ARVC with the potential of recognizing the disease BEFORE clinical symptoms appear.” “This is not a gene test but should serve breeders well as a simple diagnostic test for the disease.” From Bruce Cattanach’s lips to God’s ears.

Previously, only one American dog in Professor Amos’ study had been diagnosed with JKD, but several were being treated for ARVC. It was relatively simple to put the owners of the ARVC-affected Boxers in touch with Dr Hamilton, whose staff then sent them blood/serum collection and shipping supplies. Dr Hamilton has paused his study while he publishes a paper and seeks funding to expand it, but I’ll continue to post updates on both research projects as I receive them.


At this point, I’d like to express my thanks to the many dedicated Boxer owners who participated with their Boxers in this research. I’ve been coordinating the submission of DNA swabs from the US & Canada to Professor Amos for over a year now, and have seen the dramatic response firsthand, with several owners submitting DNA for 7 or 8 dogs. 
Kudos, US & Canadian Boxer people – you’re the best!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

THE 2016 ABC IN REVIEW: What a difference a year makes!

The Show

Actually, this edition of the BU Blog is more a review of the progress made by our parent club since July 1, 2015 (when the new officers & board took office) than a critique of the show, which was as always, the greatest Boxer show on earth! There was only one glitch to detract from the usual seamless transition from one part of the week-long ABC spectacle to the next, but it was a pretty notable one:  The Sunday specialty, which was supposed to be a limited-entry show, ended up with 289 entries (BOB didn’t start till 6:30 pm Sunday evening!). As a result, the popular Sunday afternoon Greater Cincinnati Boxer Club puppy match had to be canceled, the Top 20 handlers’ planning meeting had to be rescheduled, and many exhibitors and handlers had to forego the ABC hospitality/karaoke event scheduled for Sunday evening in order to feed and exercise their dogs after an exhausting 10+ hours in the ring. Hopefully, that won’t happen again, but since being tapped for one of the pre-ABC specialty slots boosts an ABC member club’s prestige as well as its treasury, the ABC Board might consider rotating that privilege among all the member clubs that would like to have a shot at putting on the pre-ABC Saturday or Sunday show. Perhaps the Greater Cincinnati BC should be given first dibs on the Sunday slot next year.

The Rest of the Story

When the new officers and board assumed their positions on July 1st of 2015, there were a number of controversies, large and small, that had been swirling around the annual show for literally decades. And it’s no secret that there has been an ongoing battle between “traditionalist” and “modernist” factions in the club for many years, too. For example, the issue of whether performance events and exhibitors (obedience, agility, etc) should be as integral a part of the ABC as conformation competition was settled only a few years ago when a big majority of the membership who responded to the ABC Boxer Herding Survey supported the addition of AKC Herding to the events in which Boxers could officially compete. After the results of the survey were made public, the ABC Board voted to apply for the official admission of Boxers to AKC Herding events over only a few objections from dissenting board members, and performance exhibitors are now taking their rightful place as an important part of what is, after all, a working dog club.

Then in 2015/16, a new ABC President and Board took another giant step toward acknowledging working Boxers by giving the membership a vote on changing the ABC Bylaws to allow people that compete in performance events with an ILP/PAL number rather than an AKC registration to become ABC members. In the days before the ABC Code of Ethics allowed white Boxers to be registered with an AKC Limited Registration, many performance people had to resort to an ILP (now PAL) listing to be able to compete with their dogs in AKC Obedience & Agility, even when their dogs were purebred Boxers from show breeders. ABC members approved that bylaws change by a big majority.

The 2015/16 board took another giant step toward the 21st Century by proposing a change in the ABC Code of Ethics that gave complete equity to colored and white pet puppies. Happily, that change was also approved by a big majority of the ABC membership.  

But perhaps the biggest 2015/16 ABC achievement, particularly in light of the ABC’s reputation as a very secretive organization, was the creation of In The Know, an online ABC newsletter that has completely revolutionized how the ABC communicates with its membership.  IMO, In The Know is the best thing that’s happened to the ABC in ages, and goes a long way toward making the club a more open, progressive organization capable of confronting and beating back the anti-animal fanatics who have had such a negative effect on local and state laws and policies that govern hobby breeders.

Of course, there were a few decisions that weren’t unequivocally positive OR negative, like the board vote to keep the annual show in Indiana for at least five years. On the one hand, that decision ended literally years of open dissension among eastern and western members and the accompanying annual social media wars; on the other hand the huge difficulty and expense for western-most ABC members of bringing their dogs to the National Specialty, Futurity & Top 20 has still not been addressed. Perhaps another new innovation implemented this past year – live streaming – will help a bit, but as anyone who has competed with his/her own dog at the National knows, live streaming is a very poor second to actually being there. Here’s hoping the ABC ultimately decides to follow the lead of most other big parent clubs and goes to a roving national specialty.


Finally, there are a few other inequities – like the $400 apiece bistro tables that take up one whole long side of the show ring and appear to be available only on a sort of quasi-hereditary basis – but if the board continues to be more responsive to its general membership, issues like that may go the way of the dodo. Again, we can hope… 

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Information on ARVC

We're not going to rehash the debate here about whether Dr Kate Meurs’ 
ARVC-1 test identifies Boxers that do or don't have the gene for ARVC. That controversy has been ongoing since shortly after Dr Meurs announced her discovery and test in 2009 and I think we’re all sick of arguing about it. Instead, Dr Bruce Cattanach's announcement & peer reviewed journal paper (just published online a few days ago) can speak for itself. Please read the paper at the link below, check out the qualifications of the paper’s author and co-authors and discuss it with your own cardiologist. IMO, this is the most hopeful news we've had about ARVC for a long, long time.
vz
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ARVC News from Dr Bruce Cattanach:

I have some answers on problems that have been experienced with Kate Meurs’ striatin test for Boxer ARVC and which I think will be of interest particularly to American breeders.  These are provided in a substantively peer reviewed paper submitted to a highly regarded British veterinary journal and formally published online yesterday.  It can be accessed at:

The bottom line message is that striatin is NOT the gene for ARVC but it lies very close to the true ARVC locus on the same chromosome where it can separate from it by meiotic recombination.  This accounts for the evident association between the striatin mutation and the disease in some dogs but its absence in others, and also the existence of permanently disease-free lines of dogs that carry the striatin mutation even in the homozygous condition.  A major point is that the findings basically accord well with those of Meurs but, with the extra genetic evidence provided by the pedigree assessment, a different interpretation is demanded.  Several other points of interest also emerged.

Although the study does not identify the true ARVC mutation, my hope is that the findings will trigger further research upon the region involved such that either the true ARVC gene, or maybe DNA markers that are tightly enough linked to it to serve the equivalent role, will be found.  Any such work will have to be conducted in American Boxers as ARVC is no longer evident in the show section of the breed in the UK.

 Bruce Cattanach


Friday, December 19, 2014

JUVENILE KIDNEY DISEASE (JKD): A PETITION TO THE UK BOXER BREED COUNCIL

Editor’s note: I sincerely hope that every health conscious Boxer fancier in the world will read the plea of British Boxer breeder Sheila Cartwright below, and will sign the petition printed at the bottom of this page. Juvenile Kidney Dysplasia (JKD), known here in the US as Juvenile Renal Dysplasia, has been reported all over the world – in Europe, Scandinavia, the US (a case was just diagnosed in my home state of Florida) and even in Australia & New Zealand. This is not just a UK problem. British Boxers are popular on every continent, in large part because the UK Boxer community has always responded with alacrity to health concerns. JKD should not be an exception.   VZ      

Petition to the Boxer Breed Council on JKD
There has been much concern over JKD (Juvenile Kidney Dysplasia) during the last few years with not all convinced that it is hereditary. The same was true back in 2002 when cardiomyopathy came to attention. In 2006 a petition was sent to Breed Council, supported by Boxer owners requesting them to set up a Health Committee to look into this and other diseases. I was a member of that committee and at the first meeting we drew up a list of Boxer health problems. To add to the obvious ones, I put forward kidney-related diseases as I had become aware of several fatal kidney disease issues with a wide variety of veterinary diagnoses – i.e. kidney failure, polycystic kidneys, undeveloped organs and also UTI’s – over quite a large number of litters. It will never be known if any of these were JKD but the committee agreed to put this on the agenda. Obviously cardiomyopathy took precedence and nothing further was done about kidney disease until the issue of cardiomyopathy was resolved. Shortly after that, members of the committee changed and a new chairman was appointed.
Subsequently we have been made aware of a juvenile Boxer kidney disease (JKD). The number of British and foreign cases reported is large and it has become clear that the disease is inherited and widely spread throughout the breed. Attempts are being made in several countries to find the gene responsible but it seems this is not as easy as was first hoped.
Without pedigree information it has been difficult for Boxer breeders to be convinced that this kidney problem is inherited, and when breeding they do not know which way to turn. The only pedigrees officially published are from cases reported in Sweden. From these it seems unlikely that any clear lines exist anywhere but there will be clear animals.
I think that, as we have done in the past with other serious Boxer genetic health problems – e.g., PA and BCM – publication of the pedigrees of animals that have developed JKD would convince breeders that JKD is inherited and allow them to breed more safely.
This is not a witch hunt. Several breeders have already withdrawn producing stock from breeding. This is the right way to go. Just remember, the existence of the gene is nobody’s fault, but to knowingly perpetuate it definitely is.
A petition is now online requesting Breed Council to authorise the release of pedigrees to everyone and I would urge all Boxer breeders in all countries to sign it.
Here is the link for the petition:
Sheila Cartwright (Tyegarth)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JUVENILE KIDNEY DISEASE (JKD):

A PETITION TO THE UK BOXER BREED COUNCIL

It is now 4 years since Boxer JKD came to attention in Britain. Because the disease was immediately seen to be widely spread and the mode of inheritance was not yet clear, the only advice given to breeders was to avoid inbreeding. Breed Council decided that pedigrees should not be made public.

Since then, the mode of inheritance has largely clarified, and the disease has been recognized throughout the breed, not only in Britain but also throughout Europe and America. Tragically, it has also reached Australia and New Zealand through British exports.

Several European research groups and one American group are attempting to find the gene for JKD, but there is no expectation that the gene will be found quickly and a test developed.

In Sweden, the pedigrees of affected litters are published and it is recommended that JKD producers should be withdrawn from further breeding, but in Britain nothing is being done to help breeders. Rather, the withholding of pedigrees, coupled with the low detected incidence of affected animals, has meant that breeders are barely convinced that JKD is inherited

For this reason, we, the undersigned Boxer breeders, owners and exhibitors, petition the UK Boxer Breed Council to

a. request all JKD-producing Boxers be withdrawn from breeding, as also sibs of affected pups, and

b.authorise, with owners’ permission, the publication of pedigrees of affected litters to ensure that everyone can see that JKD is inherited.

The fact that JKD is now seen to be a problem in Boxers world-wide will minimize concern that breeders will attempt to breed to supposed clear lines and so reduce the size of the already-diminished gene pool. There are no unquestionable clear lines although there will be many clear dogs in all lines.

NB – when signing it would be appreciated if you could add your affix after your surname and country, many thanks.

Respectfully submitted 14/10/2014.
Here is a link to the petition:


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A "Commercial" Thanksgiving, Starring...Bungee!

Editor’s note: About a year ago, I sold a plain fawn puppy dog (“Tonka”) from my last litter to Kate Connick, who already had a neat assortment of dogs, including “Bungee,” the big white boxer with the fawn eye patch pictured below. Kate is a real dog person, and her dogs are not only beautifully trained, but also participate in her very athletic lifestyle in the tiny village of Ardsley, New York – hiking, swimming, herding, you name it! As befits such well-trained canines, they also participate in photo-shoots for magazines, TV shows and commercials and are all-round fantastic ambassadors for our breed. Below is Kate’s account of Bungee’s latest “commercial” endeavor. 


A “Commercial” Thanksgiving,
Starring…Bungee!

Bungee was at it again with another shoot yesterday.  This one for a brand of chewy dog treats. The company ad reps saw Bungee on John Oliver’s show & said, "Ooo, he's our dog!"  The shoot was at somebody's house that had been rented for the purpose – not a studio.  Two photographers took stills and video all day.  They told me that the theme of the product is related to dogs being regular dogs, so Bungee was basically supposed to misbehave throughout.  The material they got is intended for a social media promotion.  I think the idea was to show what a dog goes through at Thanksgiving.

The photographers loved Bungee.  They were also shooting a Berger Picard who has the look of a cuddly family dog, but was apparently more business-like and less touchy-feely than Bungee. The Berger was their "main" dog, because of his really adorable appearance.  (They might have been using him for a TV commercial, but I'm not sure.) Beautiful dog!    

The funny thing is that various cast members (and the homeowner) kept coming over and cuddling with Bungee and telling me how much they liked him.  It figures! I think the expectation is that a muppety-looking dog like the Berger should be a big stuffed animal, and a formidable-looking boxer should be a thug, so Bungee was a pleasant surprise for them (but not for boxer owners, of course).  "Bungee is soooo sweet.  THIS is the kind of dog I should have!  But...I guess that takes a lot of training, huh?"  I tell people how much exercise he gets, and they look sort of confused – mountain hiking, swimming, sheep herding?  He comes by those muscles honestly!  That being said, he really IS a sweet, mellow boxer. We were there all day, and they took tons of footage.  I think Bungee was more tired than when we climbed mountains in July & September!  He was limp by the time we got home last night.

First thing in the morning, the photographers wanted shots of him running towards the camera.  That was easy and he enjoyed it.  Simple stay & recall, over and over and over, in the backyard.  My sister Peggy, who came along to help when more than two hands were needed, said they commented on how fast he was.  They also wanted him nosing the camera lens, which was a slobbery mess, but they seemed happy about that.  I can’t imagine how they could’ve gotten anything they could use – Bungee was sliming their Canon lenses in a big way.

Next, they wanted him playing with a football (piece of cake).  They brought out two little kids who had completely ignored the dog inside.  The first thing the kids announced was how they hate football (and they didn't seem too into dogs, either). But it didn't take long before they were hysterically laughing and chasing Bungee as he ran around in circles, teasing them with the football he'd stolen from them.  He was really sweet with them.  Bungee would lie down, let them take the ball, and then attack the ball with gusto when they threw it.  I'm sure they got some good shots of that stuff.  The football looked pretty war-torn by the time we were done. The photographers also wanted him to paw at the back door to let himself in, but Bungee is kind of polite, so he wasn't going for it initially.  He quickly got the idea, though, and ultimately was throwing himself at the door and blasting it open, so the photogs got just what they wanted.

We moved to the front yard.  The kids threw leaves at his head, buried him in leaves, and continued to be silly.  Truth be told, Bungee looked pretty miserable; he wasn't exactly loving that part.  Even so, he was a good sport.  In the afternoon, other outdoor shots in the front yard had even more kids playing with him with a small, orange ball.  They were throwing it, often straight up in the air, and he'd run laps around them before lying down and waiting for them to take it and throw it again.  They got some shots of kids petting him, too, although the kids were all a bit intimidated by his size and strength.  Amusingly, the women who owned the house fell in love with Bungee.  She said she's not a "dog person," but was totally smitten.  She kept inviting her friends over to meet him.

The photographers also took a couple of shots of him eating their product.  Lots of spit and slobber.  They liked his drooliness.  I was surprised that they didn't take more shots like that, but they only got a couple of snapshots on the front porch of one woman feeding him treats.  I think the dog treats were made of chicken, but I'm not sure – they may have been promoting turkey treats for Thanksgiving?  I was too focused on the dog to pay much attention. 

There were also shots of kids walking him down the sidewalk themselves, and they got the entire "Thanksgiving family" together on the front porch for a family photo type of situation, in which the dog is supposed to misbehave.  Bungee was supposed to not sit still politely, so I'd call him out of the photo, they'd call him back and try to position him, and I'll call him out again. 

Indoors, they had Bungee rummaging through shoes left by the front door.  He sat awkwardly in a little girl's lap while she tried to see over him to watch the TV.  He sat in the kitchen, ostensibly looking up at a grocery bag with the treats in it, but that was hard, because his eyes tend to be glued to me.  I think they might have gotten some shots of him looking over his shoulder with streams of drool coming down instead.  He does a good "woe is me; I'm a starving orphan" face. Then the photographers had Bungee sitting by the Thanksgiving turkey while it was being carved, staring at the turkey and drooling.  Photographer: "Drool is crucial here." 

Another indoor scenario had an arm throwing a coat on a bed where other coats were lying.  Bungee was supposed to jump up and lie on the coats.  The bed was the highest bed I'd ever seen!  He'd jump up and lie down easily (Bungee loves comfort).  So then they asked if he could turn a circle like dogs do before they lie down.  Uh... okay?  So I'd have him jump up, spin in a circle, lie down, and drop his chin.  I have no idea if it looks authentic, but he's a really good sport about doing what I ask of him.

I think (?) that's pretty much everything.  The photographers were taking shots of him all day, and Bungee was enjoying being petted and fussed-over.  The very last thing they did was for their own amusement.  He gave one of the (two, young, blonde, female) photographers his trademark "hug" (paws over her shoulders, licking her face), and the other photographer said, "Wait! Wait!  I need to get that!  It's so cute." 

Anyway, they seemed really happy with the big guy.  He was an angel.  This was at a regular house, so we were working outside with no leash or fence, near an active sidewalk and (quiet) road, with neighbors and dogs and other distractions.  He's a good guy.  I think having a chance to play with a bunch of sugared up kids was just one big party for Bungee. 


Today, Bungee is sound asleep with Tonka lying next to him, snuggled up to his back.