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So Who Gets the Dog?
Those Who Visit a Local Shelter.

January 7, 2005

For most homeless dogs, finding just one adoptive family is more than they dare to hope for. But Buckeye was lucky. He had three loving families—all anxiously vying for his approval. It seemed like one of those things that only happens in the movies.

But this shelter dog's dream is rooted in reality, even if the script was produced in Hollywood. The goal of Who Gets the Dog?, a new program from Animal Planet, is not just to entertain, but also to match up homeless shelter dogs and responsible families—and to inspire viewers to consider adopting their own furry show–stopper.

Buckeye´s quest for his ideal family is featured in the Monday, January 17 series premiere of the program. Each episode that follows gives another homeless dog the chance to sniff out his perfect match. During each show, the lucky pooch spends 24 hours playing and getting to know each of the three prospective guardians. Although he gets a little help along the way from a team of pet experts, it´s the pooch who ultimately decides who his new family will be.

The program is hosted by comedian and dog lover Dorothea Coelho, and the prospective family's interactions with the pooch are evaluated by a team of pet experts, including dog behaviorist Tamar Geller, author Merrill Markoe, and veterinarian Dr. Dean Graulich.

Who Gets the Dog? is a program that puts the pooches´ interests ahead of everything else. Before the program even began taping, the prospective adopters were carefully evaluated by the Animal Planet team and pre–approved by experts at The HSUS to confirm that all participants would make good adoptive pet parents. The local shelters and adoption groups that participated in the show, as well as show producers, selected dogs whose personalities were well–suited to the excitement of meeting new families and posing in the spotlight.

The Extras: Homeless Dogs Around the Nation

Although only a lucky few made the casting cut, there are literally thousands of dogs in neighborhood shelters around America who deserve a staring role in a loving home. Every day, countless dogs, cats and other companion animals wait for someone to take them home. Adopting a pet from the local shelter or rescue group doesn't just ensure a new best friend—it also saves a life.

While the number of animals entering shelters has gone down over the last few decades, public misconceptions about shelters, the proliferation of puppy mills, and the large number of animals who are not spayed or neutered have continued to make pet overpopulation a serious problem in the Untied States and around the globe. In fact, The HSUS estimates that about 6–8 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters every year. By adopting a homeless animal, pet lovers can help do their part to give all companion animals a loving home. Websites like www.Pets911.com can help by matching potential adopters with animals in their area.

In addition to showcasing the powerful pull that a shelter animal can have on pet lovers, Who Gets the Dog? instructs the newly selected pet parents in dog care and gives viewers insight into the tools needed to become responsible owners—for life. Understanding the commitment involved in adopting an animal is the first step to becoming a great pet guardian.

Animal lovers who want to learn more about how to be a patient and devoted pet guardian will soon have a new behavior tool at their disposal. Geller, the renowned behaviorist and expert from Who Gets the Dog?, h. as teamed up with The HSUS to produce a series of short pet training videos. Pet lovers looking for answers to some of their toughest behavior problems will benefit from the informational videos. In addition, behavior pet tips sheets are available online at www.PetsForLife.org.


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