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graphic
 
by
Kitty Brown
 
The face is unforgettable...

The look he delivers is unforgettable...

And shelter dogs everywhere hope the message he delivers is unforgettable...

The face belongs to Mike the Dog. The look he gives is worth a thousand poignant, imploring words. And the message he delivers is to adopt a shelter dog!

As SpokesDog for National Adopt-a-Dog Month, Mike the Dog, has filmed a winning commercial which will be shown nation-wide all this month for shelters everywhere.

Now, you probably recognize Mike from his appearances in countless TV commercials, such as Burger King, Cheerios and Wrigleys Doublemint Gum; as well as his appearances on MTV and THE CONAN O'BRIEN SHOW and home shopping on QVC-TV with Bash Dibra!

But Mike the Dog isn't just another pretty-boy Hollywood celebrity attaching his name to a charity he knows nothing about...

Mike, sadly, knows all too much about the life of an abandoned dog.

He's walked the walk...He's lived the life!

For, unbelievable as it seems, the Mike you see in all his Hollywood glory on TV, was a stray, abandoned animal long before he became a Hollywood party animal!

"Mike spent the first 3 or 4 years of his life on the tough streets of New York—and, perhaps because of those terrible early years, was a totally unadoptable dog! explains his owner, TV actress, Judy Jensen.

"I loved him, but he was horrible to live with! continues Ms. Jensen. "I hired countless trainers and animal behaviorists, but none was successful. All deemed Mike untrainable."

Finally, at the end of her rope, but not wanting to give Mike to a shelter, as she knew his bad behavior would make him unadoptable, Judy turned to Bash Dibra.

"It's never too late to work with an older dog, or a seemingly 'untrainable' dog" says Bash. "I told Judy that no dog is untrainable, and we were going to go back to basics with Mike."

"In the beginning, we worked with a crate," explains Judy, "creating a comfortable 'home-within-a-home' for Mike, where he would feel safe and comfortable and could relax."

After a few weeks with the crate, as Mike calmed down, he stopped tearing up Judy's apartment.

"When I would go to work, I would leave Mike with the run of the apartment, but with the crate still in Mike's space, but with the door open," says Judy. "I'd return home, and Mike would be content in his crate—with the door open—and my apartment intact!"

Then Bash worked on improving communications with Judy and Mike.

"Most 'bad' behavior is just a communication problem" says Bash. "A perfect example is when people tell their dogs NEVER to get up on the sofa, but when the owner wants to snuggle his dog, he says,'okay, come on up!' and the dog gets confused."

"Dogs must see their owners as loving but authoritative—the "Alpha" or leader of the dog pack," explains Bash, who bases his methods on his relationship with his wolf (the dog's ancestor) Mariah!

'This doesn't mean hitting a dog, it simply means establishing rules and having the dog follow through. It's tough love. A lot of people think all you need is love to solve the problems, and that's true. But real love also means working hard to understand your dog's needs and how you are communicating—or not communicating—with him. Also, sometimes a dog's perceived behavioral problems—especially in older dogs—may, instead, have a physical impairment at its root. A dog who disregards commands may be deaf or blind, for example."

So, pay attention to Mike the Dog!

When Mike appears on your TV screen begging you to adopt a dog this month, do it!

Because Mike is not just following a script—he's lived the life."

And now it's your turn to give life to a dog like Mike. Your adopted dog may not end up a TV star like Mike; but he'll always be a star in your own home, and to that little dog you say "yes!" to, you will be a SUPERSTAR!

 
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