by Laura Moss
Aleister, a terrier rescued from a California animal shelter, stars in 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,' along with several other rescue dogs.
The canine star of a movie about getting a last chance at love is a dog that got a second chance at life when he was rescued from an animal shelter.   Aleister, a 5-year-old terrier mix that was found in a California shelter in 2008, stars alongside Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.” The movie follows Carell’s character, Dodge, as he and Penny, played by Knightley, search for his high school sweetheart in the days before Earth is destroyed by an asteroid.   Aleister plays Sorry, a dog Dodge finds attached to his leg after a failed suicide attempt. A note on the terrier’s color simply reads “Sorry,” and Dodge takes it literally, addressing the dog as Sorry.   “Sorry enters the story right when Dodge has reached his lowest low and given up hope altogether,” said writer and director Lorene Scafaria in a press release. “He wakes up that morning and finds he has been given someone else’s burden, which becomes a responsibility that gives Dodge’s life meaning again.   “When I saw Aleister and his wonderful scrappy snaggletooth and wiry coat, I loved him and felt, ‘Here’s our hero dog,’” she said.   But Aleister wasn’t the only rescue dog on set.   “When a dog has a movie role as large as the Sorry one, you have to have a couple of different dogs at the ready,” said dog trainer Sarah Clifford.   Clifford scouted local animal shelters in search of doubles for Aleister and brought several dogs to the set, including one she named Mulligan, meaning “second chance,” who served as Aleister’s stunt double.   “Mulligan was rescued from the shelter on the morning he was scheduled to be euthanized,” Clifford said. “He learned the ropes, and was doing takes only two weeks after we took him out of the shelter. Mulligan did the scene where Sorry is crawling down the fire escape and anything else that required a lot of action.”   In addition to Aleister and Mulligan, two other shelter dogs were also involved in the film.   “There was another terrier on-set, a fourth Sorry,” said Scafaria. “They just make the set better. Or maybe I’m a crazy-dog-lady-in-the-making.”   Aleister won the hearts of his co-stars early on, and he was particularly fond of Knightley, according to Clifford. When they met, “he went up to her and nestled on her dress,” she said.   But it was the dog’s on-screen interaction with Steve Carell that was most important to the movie.   “We would take a little bit of time every day before we started filming for what we called a bonding session. We’d get Steve and Aleister comfortable together. Steve gave him treats, and kissed and cuddled him. That way, when Aleister worked with Steve on camera, there was already a bond,” Clifford said.    Although “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is Aleister’s first major movie role, his previous credits include print and television commercials for Pedigree, Texas Energy and Microsoft. When he isn’t on set, the rescue pup spends his days sunning himself and sleeping upside down on the couch at a movie animals’ ranch in Castaic, Calif.   “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” arrives in theaters June 22. You can watch the movie trailer below.  

Previously published here:
PRIOR LAKE, Minn. - Jim Larson is not the first husband guilty of wishful thinking. But he may be the only one to buy a Russian motorcycle - painted in camouflage - fully expecting his wife to love it.

"The initial plan was for her to ride this is so we could ride together," explains Larson who also owns a Harley.

He bought the Russian-made URAL with his wife's consent, but she quickly soured on the idea of driving it. "She just didn't like the color, she wouldn't ride it," says Larson.

No worries, thought Larson, the URAL came with a sidecar. He could drive; she could ride next to him.

"She rode it once," he reported, sadly. At 40 miles an hour, "she said, 'SLOW DOWN!'"

Time for Larson to reassess his situation: New motorcycle, sidecar - and laying in his yard a golden retriever named Cooper.

Turns out it was a match made in "check-that-out" heaven.

"First couple times I had to kind of muscle him in, we went straight to the doggy park. And the third time I just said 'Coop, doggy park.' He jumped right in the sidecar and he was hooked after that."

Jim's friendship with 9-year-old Cooper was originally kindled when Larson rescued the golden from a family that could no longer care for him.

But since introducing Cooper to the motorcycle, dog and owner are closer than ever.
"It's created a special bond that I've never had with another dog," says Larson.

At least once a week Larson and Cooper make the rounds to the dog park, the lake, and the local Sonic drive-in, where Cooper nibbles on French fries while Larson eats a burger.

Cooper is Larson's 6th Golden retriever. "I've never had a bad one. This is the best one though," he says.

A dog in a sidecar wearing snoopy style goggles is going to attract his share of attention. "I get people pulling me over, pulling me over taking pictures," reports Larson. "He's a rock star. He's probably all over Facebook."

As if a cold war veteran on a retro-Russian bike isn't head-turning enough.

"That's a new one," laughs Mark Rivers as he watches Larson and Cooper pull in to a local watering hole. "Maybe it's his designated driver when he leaves."

Larson enters the bar alone, but remerges moments later with a paper basket. "Want some popcorn Coop?"

Larson still loves the wife who chose to stay home, but his time on the road is golden.

Winners have been crowned at the 7th annual Loews Coronado Surf Dog Competition...

In the small dog competition, Australian kelpie Abbie girl took the title.

Large dog title went to ricochet, the golden retriever and a-s-p-c-a dog of the year.

The tandem crown went to Zoey the Jack Russell and her owners Scott and Tyler.

While watching dozens of dogs on surfboards is fun, the event is all for a good cause.

This year's event also broke three Guinness world records including the most dogs surfing at one board at the same time - twenty dogs!

If you think only dogs look out for their fellow pack members, check out this story. Elicia Calhoun, an agility trainer, competitor and speaker, rolled her car while traveling through the Arizona desert last week.

All six dogs aboard were thrown from the vehicle.

What happened next — and you can read the full details at – is equal parts sad and inspiring.

In the immediate aftermath, other motorists stopped and helped a bruised and battered Calhoun find three of the dogs, all alive – BreeSea and Iceman, both border collies, and Destiny, an Australian shepherd.

Three more were missing, including her 13-week-old Kelpi puppy named Tsunami, who had been secured in a crate in the front seat; another Australian shepherd named Nika; and Tobie, another border collie.

When the paramedics insisted Calhoun get in the ambulance, she refused until bystanders, including a border patrol agent, promised to keep looking for her dogs.

While Calhoun was being treated for cuts bruises and a punctured lung, word of the accident hit the Internet, and, within a matter of hours, 3,000 people had joined in a newly created Facebook group, many of them offering to help. Calhoun, against the advice of doctors, signed herself out of the hospital to continue searching for her dogs, and learned as she was leaving that Tsunami’s body had been found.

According to the story, by Deborah Davidson Harpur, volunteers were showing up to help in the search by then, and others were offering their assistance from afar, including animal communicators, pilots, ranchers who lived in the surrounding area, and HAM and CB radio operators. Someone even volunteered a military heat-seeking device.

By then, the number of members of the Facebook group had grown to 6,000.

Sadly, Nika’s body was found in the median of the freeway. With the three surviving dogs found initially, and the two later found dead, that left only one unaccounted for — Tobie

Elicia slept outside that night, in case Tobie came to look for her, and other volunteers slept in their cars or camped alongside the road before resuming the search for the remaining dog the next day.

That morning, Tobie was spotted by a volunteer. Elicia rushed to the location, spotted the dog running down the highway in front of a truck and eventually got Tobie to come to her.

Iceman, Destiny, and Breesea have some minor injuries, but they, and Tobie, who had been hit by a car, are expected to fully recover in the coming months.

Calhoun, on Facebook, offered thanks to all those that helped:

“Words cannot express my gratitude. I have just been home a few nights and am finally starting to absorb the impact of what has transpired. Walking into my house that first night was indescribable. My life is changed in so many ways now. I realize how blessed I was in surviving this crash.”


By Marissa Evans, Published: June 17 Erin Bagalman just happened to be dog-sitting for a friend when she heard about the Blessing of the Dogs happening Sunday next door to her house.

She went over to National City Christian Church in Thomas Circle in downtown Washington to see what it was all about and to have the dog, Gideon, meet other canines.
“I thought it might be fun, something unusual to do,” Bagalman said as Gideon tugged on his leash to mingle with the surrounding dogs.

The sixth annual blessing on the steps of the church brought nearly 40 community members, dog owners and canine companions together for a special service complete with gospel singing, prayers, and a little barking and sniffing, too.

The Rev. Stephen Gentle, senior minister at the church, started the service years ago after churchgoers noticed more and more dog walkers in the area. He said the service is meant to remind people of how pets influence lives and to make area dog owners feel welcome.

The outpouring Gentle received from neighbors and parish members after Roxy, his family’s dog, disappeared also moved him to act.

Gentle said he didn’t remember praying for his dog’s health and safety before then. As it takes a village to raise a child, Gentle said, it takes a community to love a dog.

“Our pets bless us in so many ways,” he said. “We bless our pets by the way we love them, care for them, show affection to them. . . . This is our way of asking for a blessing for them because they are a blessing to us.”

Roxy eventually returned home.

The service began with a prayer giving thanks to animals “who can show affection which sometimes puts us to shame.”

“Animals have a spiritual aspect to them, and they have a God-given purpose in our life,” said the Rev. Carol Richardson, who joined the blessing service Sunday for the first time. They “help us learn a lot on our spiritual path.”

Her dog passed away several years ago.

Barbara Boward, 54, has been attending the church for years and bringing her dog Ella since she was a puppy. Having the blessing opens the church up to the neighborhood, she said.

“We really want dog owners to feel part of the community,” Boward said. “It makes people know we’re not going to be upset with their dog being around.”

Kenneth Priebe, 74, has been taking his Siberian husky, Zeke, to the blessing since the first service in 2006. He said that as the dog gets older, the blessings mean more.

“You want to protect your dog just like you pray for yourself,” he said.

For cat lovers looking for a feline-blessing service, Gentle said it’s not that the church doesn’t like cats.

“We just don’t think cats and dogs should be together at the same time,” he said.

A former NYPD Blue TV writer has been arrested and charged for punching his dog so hard it died of a brain injury. Sunnyside resident Ted Shuttleworth, 51, allegedly punched 4 1/2-pound poodle Lola on May 29th because he was angry with it. He took the 5-year-old dog to a vet, where it under went a necropsy. “Lola sustained a traumatic brain injury secondary to the application of blunt force to the right side of her head at the hands of the suspect, her owner,” said ASPCA spokesman Joseph Pentangelo.

Shuttleworth, a screenplay consultant who also works as an administrative assistant at NYU, faces up to a year in prison. Shuttleworth's wife, Isadora Monk Shuttleworth, told the Post it was “a horrible accident.”

SUE MANNING Associated Press  LOS ANGELES  — Like any new addition to an office, Dolly had an adjustment period. The hardest part: learning not to bark at the mailman.

Dolly is one of millions of dogs that accompany their owners to dog-friendly businesses every day. Even more will join her Friday for Take Your Dog to Work Day.

"I consider it a benefit like health care. It's a huge attraction," said Dolly's owner Erin McCormack, who works at Authentic Entertainment in Los Angeles as a producer on the Discovery Channel's "Auction Kings."

McCormack and her Maltese mix walk together before work and at lunch to get some exercise, and McCormack saves money on the dog walker or daycare she would otherwise need.

"It's such a great way to create a productive atmosphere. It makes the environment more conducive to creativity," she said, at a company that produces shows such as the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras" and Bravo's "Flipping Out."

At the same time, McCormack added, "They are a calming force. When things get stressful, you can lean down and pet your dog or take a walk and pet a nearby dog. You get a more efficient workplace, one that's not consumed with stress."

About 1.4 million owners take some 2.3 million dogs to work every day, according to an American Pet Products Association survey last year.

When the group last surveyed businesses, in 2006, one in five was dog-friendly. That number is probably holding steady if you include one-person offices, work-at-home pet owners and retail shops, said Len Kain, co-founder and editor of, which lists dog-friendly companies in every state.

Some of the nation's largest employers are dog-friendly — such as Google Inc. and Keeping employees happy is one of the main reasons cited by employers.

"Engineering and software companies are often the type of company that is pet-friendly," Kain said. "These companies have trouble finding people with the skills they need and do not want to lose these employees."

Extrovertic, a health care communications agency with 40 employees and offices in New York City and Cambridge, Mass., tested the waters last year with Take Your Dog to Work Day. On June 22 this year, it is sponsored by North Carolina-based Pet Sitters International to promote adoption.

The experiment was so successful that the company went dog-friendly and Sally, a 5-year-old rescue beagle owned by supervising account manager Jared Shechtman, became Take Your Dog to Work Day's poster dog.

"We are a small agency. We want to be different. We want the quality of our employees' lives to be better than they would get at a bigger agency. Having dogs in the office is another way of saying, 'We are different and we care about you,'" said company CEO Dorothy Wetzel.

Fifteen to 20 of the 120 employees or freelancers working at Authentic Entertainment bring their dogs to work, said co-founder and executive producer Lauren Lexton.

Lexton and Tom Rogan decided to let people bring dogs to work when they founded the company 11 years ago, because "it always felt right. Dogs give a softer element to everyday work and there is something about having them around that makes people happy."

When you have great people, you want to keep them forever, she explained, so if they have a dog that's used to coming to work, the person is less likely to accept a better job offer if it comes along.

Having animals around also encourages camaraderie, McCormack said. "Dogs automatically break down barriers. They are automatic conversation starters and ice breakers."

Not every business can allow dogs, said Kain, who started with his wife Tara 15 years ago in Anchor Point, Alaska.

Companies may be located in buildings that ban dogs; it can be illegal for a food store, restaurant, hair salon (in some states) or medical office; and insurance may be a barrier, he said.

For others, allowing pets may be a way to help make do with fewer employees working longer hours. "By allowing dogs at work, an employee doesn't have to leave to take care of the pet," Kain said.

At Authentic Entertainment, Dolly's biggest hurdle was deliverymen. "She has always had a fear of carts and boxes and people in uniform," McCormack said.

She introduced Dolly to Authentic's maintenance man, and because Dolly still barked and growled at outside deliverymen, McCormack asked for a heads-up call from the front desk when they arrived.

Now she puts Dolly in her lap until the deliveries are finished. Problem solved.

Dolly's favorite part of coming to work is the attention, McCormack said. At home, she plays second-fiddle to a 3-year-old. At work, Dolly is Miss November in a calendar featuring employee dogs as characters on their shows.

"She is the toast of the town," McCormack said. "Everybody knows her and she is the star."

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- A 9-month-old Yorkshire terrier wasn't about to leave a Missouri rest stop without his master. Mistakenly left behind by an Arkansas truck driver, Rambo waited there for two days until his owner was able to track him down.

Rambo jumped out of Michael Siau's rig when Siau stopped at a rest area near Hannibal on Friday, the Hannibal Courier-Post ( ) reported.

"Didn't even cross my mind that he might jump out. He never has before," Siau said. "I jumped back in the truck, put it in gear and drove off. And I just thought he was in the back asleep."

Siau made it all the way to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 170 miles to the north, before he realized Rambo was gone. But he knew if he turned around, his schedule would be thrown off and his job jeopardized.

Siau was heartbroken. In October, Rambo's father, Ollie, who also accompanied Siau on trips, was run over and killed. Siau was so distraught he had taken six months off work, and the thought of losing another dog was too much to bear.

Siau said he was "freaking out" as he tried to determine where Rambo was lost. He finally concluded the puppy must have gotten out in Missouri.

Siau began calling authorities. By Sunday morning, he had learned Hannibal had jurisdiction over the rest area. Hannibal animal control officer Tim Ledbetter was sent to the site.

Sure enough, little Rambo was there, sitting patiently. been there much longer. Ledbetter said a family that had stopped at the rest area was just about to adopt the apparently lost puppy. "In about 60 seconds, he would have been gone," Ledbetter said.

Siau was in Hannibal Tuesday to pick up his buddy and thank those at the animal shelter who found Rambo and took care of him.

When a shelter worker brought the dog out for the reunion, Rambo heard Siau call his name and began to whimper, tremble and squirm. Once in Siau's arms, Rambo climbed up his shoulder and began kissing the back of his neck.

"You've never been this excited," Siau said.

Siau and Rambo then left for the next stop, Tennessee. From now on, Siau said, he'll always make sure Rambo is on board.

  • By: Josh Boose,
CLEVELAND - Marine Week in Cleveland is all about getting an up-close and personal look at the armed forces and some behind-the-scenes peeks at what makes the Marines so strong.

Dogs play a big role in the military during deployments. Their mission is to sniff-out bombs in the battlefield. Click the video on this page to watch the live interview and demonstration that aired on Good Morning Cleveland Tuesday morning showing how these animals train.

Dog team demonstrations will be open to the public to view Tuesday in Public Square at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Martial arts also plays a role in the Marines. Every Marine is trained in martial arts. By clicking on the video on this page, you can also watch the live interview and demonstrations by Marines of martial arts techniques they use. 

Martial arts demonstrations will be open to the pubic to view Tuesday in Public Square at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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A baby abandoned under a bridge in Ghana slept safely through the night, cuddled against the fur of her protector. The rescue dog belonged to a nearby farm. Somehow the pet found the infant and knew he should not be left alone.

The dog’s owner worried when her canine companion did not return home in the evening. A search party set out through fields and woods. Hours later they found the dog, curled around the baby.

The District Director of Health, Madam Rosemary Azure, told the Ghana New Agency (GNA) the abandoned baby was about two weeks old. His umbilical cord had been raggedly cut and had become infected. According to the GNA report:

She cautioned teenage girls against unprotected sex reasoning that the baby could have been abandoned by a teenager in view of the numerous reports of teenage pregnancies in the District.

Now the little one has been given medical treatment and vaccinations and is in care while police investigate. The dog has gained hero status for looking after the tiny baby until help could come.

No photos or descriptions of the dog or the baby have been released at this point, but the plucky canine showed a loving intelligence that is inspiring.

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