2016: The Year in Dogs

2016 is no more, and Dog Tails wants to review it the way we know best – the Year in Dogs! Below are some of the most memorable dog stories of the past year. Enjoy, and a Happy New Year to hound and human alike. Here’s to a great 2017!

JANUARYAlabama Bloodhound Accidentally Runs a Half Marathon

Ludivine the Bloodhound runs a half marathon in Elkmont, AL

Ludivine the Bloodhound (Photo credit: Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half Facebook page)

Ludivine the Bloodhound started off the year with a splash, becoming a sensation after she accidentally joined a half-marathon race in her hometown of Elkmont, Alabama. It all began on Saturday, January 16th, when two and half year-old Ludivine, who was roaming around her family’s 40-acre farm, decided to wander off into the start of a nearby charity half marathon. The friendly, curious pup joined the runners along the trail, stopping a few times to track some animals with her legendary bloodhound nose. Even with her detours, Ludivine managed to complete the race in a little over an hour and half, making her the 7th place finisher overall!

To learn more about Ludivine and her memorable race, check out our blog post. Spoiler Alert: she’s now a DogWatch customer, so she can train for next year’s race while staying safe in her yard!

FEBRUARY – CJ the German Shorthaired Pointer wins Best in Show at Westminster

2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Best in Show winner CJ the German Shorthaired Pointer and owner-breeder-handler Valerie Nunes-Atkinson

CJ with owner-breeder-handler Valerie Nunes-Atkinson (Photo credit: Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Facebook Page)

On February 15, a German Shorthaired Pointer named CJ beat over 3,000 dogs to win the top prize – Best in Show – at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. CJ, a three year-old male who’s full name is CGH VJ-Myst Garbonita’s California Journey, is only the third German Shorthaired Pointer to win Best in Show at Westminster. He is the grandson of Carlee, who took the Best in Show title at Westminster in 2005.

We here at DogWatch have a soft-spot for the regal, intelligent Pointer – we include the breed’s likeness in our logo. Way to go, CJ, and congrats to all who participated at Westminster this year. We look forward to another great show coming soon in February 2017!

MARCH Inspirational Bulldog Puppy Bueller Finds a Forever Home


We instantly fell in love with Bueller, a bulldog puppy with swimmer’s syndrome who was surrendered to the Sacramento (California) SPCA by his breeder. A video of the adorable puppy fighting hard to learn to walk with the help of the dedicated folks at the Sacramento SPCA went viral in January. Watching the little guy paddle during water therapy to build up his strength was a highlight. By March, the now famous Bueller was walking and soon found his forever home with the Taylor family, who had recently lost their beloved bulldog Chubs to cancer.

Now the inspiring Bueller is walking and even running, and celebrated his first birthday in November. (See video above.) Check him out on Instagram (@buellerthebulldog) to follow him as he grows up. We’re so happy for you, little guy!

APRIL  Giant Dog Delivers a Giant Litter

Bailey and her puppies with the Theriogenology Service team, from left, Dr. Carla Barstow, AKC/Theriogenology Foundation resident; Dr. Aime Johnson, associate professor; Maureen Henderson, veterinary technician; and Dr. Dana Connell, resident.

Bailey and her puppies with the Theriogenology Service team, from left, Dr. Carla Barstow, AKC/Theriogenology Foundation resident; Dr. Aime Johnson, associate professor; Maureen Henderson, veterinary technician; and Dr. Dana Connell, resident. (Photo credit: Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Facebook page)

On, April 28, a four-year-old African Boerboel named Bailey delivered via caesarean what is believed to be the largest litter of puppies – 19 – ever born at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. (The largest litter ever was 24, born in 2004 to a Neopolitan mastiff named Tia in the UK.) Boerboels are working dogs that originated in South Africa, where they traditionally serve as a guard dogs for the farm and home. Fully grown, the giant breed can weigh over 200 lbs!

All but one of Bailey’s puppies survived, and returned home with Bailey’s family, Jerry and Angie Turner of Dothan, Alabama. The puppies all thrived and many have found forever homes with new families. And we bet these puppies are now a LOT bigger 9 months later!

MAY Jack Russell Terrier Rescued at Sea

Jagermeister, rescued after 3 hours in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo via Fox 13 News, Tampa, FL.

Jagermeister, resting after his dramatic rescue (Photo via Fox 13 News, Tampa, FL)

A lovely day on the water turned into a scary adventure for one dog and his owner this May in Hernando Beach, Florida. A Jack Russell Terrier named Jagermeister fell off his owner’s boat and into the Gulf of Mexico when the man went down into the bilge briefly to check something. The dog’s owner frantically searched for his dog with no success. Three hours later, Bruce Knecht, while boating in the Gulf with his wife and two friends, spotted what they thought was a buoy bobbing in the water. He quickly realized that it was the Jack Russell Terrier, wearing an orange life vest, fighting to stay afloat in strong waves. The boaters acted quickly, and Jagermeister swam right up to their boat and was pulled in by Knecht’s friend Michael Sahr.

The rescuers then radioed the Coast Guard, who connected their story to an earlier call from the dog’s owner. Jagermeister was reunited with his owner, who was tearfully overjoyed to see his beloved dog found safe. All involved were thankful that the dog was wearing his life vest at the time, as it undoubtedly saved his life. Let this story be a lesson to all you dog-loving boaters out there – invest in a doggie life jacket ASAP!

JUNE  Therapy Dogs Bring Comfort to Orlando

Love Greatly - Golden Retriever hugs woman - photo via KCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Facebook page

Photo credit: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Facebook page

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, a dozen Golden Retrievers helped bring some much needed comfort to the victims, their families and their friends. The Lutheran Church Charities’ (LLC) K-9 Comfort Dogs, who also traveled to Oklahoma to comfort tornado victims, offered their support with their calm spirits, loving attitudes and wagging tails. “Dogs are great listeners,” said Tim Hetzner, president of LCC, in an interview with CNN. “They are nonjudgmental, confidential and they won’t interrupt. The best furry counselors out there.”

The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs came from all across the country, including Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Nebraska, Texas and South Carolina. They were joined by numerous other therapy dog organizations. Volunteer Marc Gelbke, who came to Orlando with his dog Zoey and used to work in law enforcement, explained to CNN why he made the journey. “I know what it is like to go through such a horrific time and if therapy dogs like Zoey can bring just a bit of sunshine to their day, it is worth it.”

JULY – More States Pass Laws to Protect Dogs from Dangers of Hot Cars

Labradoodle inside red car

On July 1, a new law designed to protect pets from the dangers of hot cars went into effect in the state of Vermont. Act No. 147 (H.571) permits “forcible entry of motor vehicle for rescue purposes” without liability for damages under certain conditions. These conditions include making sure the car is locked, reasonably and in good faith believing that the dog is in imminent danger of harm, notifying police, fire or 911 prior to breaking in, remaining with the car and the dog until police or fire officials arrive, placing a notice on the vehicle that the police have been notified and the location of the animal, and using no more force than necessary to free the dog.

Vermont joined Tennessee, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and Massachusetts in passing similar laws in the past two years. To learn about about the dangers of dogs left in hot cars, check out our blog post The Facts About Dogs and Hot Cars.

AUGUST The First Contemporary Art Exhibition Designed for Dogs

Yes, you read that right. This past August, British artist and designer Dominic Wilcox unveiled his exhibit, the first of its kind specifically designed for dogs. Commissioned by insurance company More Than, Wilcox’s exhibit features lots of low-hung paintings created in a dog’s color spectrum, a giant dog bowl filled with plastic balls meant to look like dog food, an open car window simulator and a water installation.

“I think that play is really important to a dog’s mental and physical health,” Wilcox said in a video about the exhibit. (See above.) “And I really hope that the artwork gets a lot of dog tails wagging.” We have only one request to Wilcox: can you bring this exhibit stateside?!?

SEPTEMBER Chicago “Bark in the Park” Sets a World Record

Golden Retriever in a Chicago White Sox cap attends the "Bark in the Park" event at U.S. Cellular Field on September 13, 2016

Photo credit: Chicago White Sox Facebook page

The Cubs weren’t the only Chicago baseball team to achieve something remarkable in 2016. On September 13, 2016, the Chicago White Sox hosted a “Bark in the Park” event at U.S. Cellular Field, which attracted a record 1,122 dogs! The folks from the Guinness Book of World Records were there to certify this achievement with a fun ceremony before the game.

“Bark in the Park” attendees also got to walk on the field before the White Sox’s game against the Cleveland Indians. Some pups even dressed up in costume! This event is one of many dog-themed events at Major League Baseball games across the country. Stay tuned to Dog Tails in 2017 for a list of next season’s events, and let your pup enjoy a night at your favorite ball park!

OCTOBER  Hooch named 2016 American Hero Dog

Hooch, this year’s winner of the American Humane’s 2016 American Hero Dog Award, has a face you can’t forget and a story that can’t help but inspire. Hooch, a Dogue de Bordeaux (or French Mastiff), was rescued by Zach Skow of Tehachapi, California, who had become involved with animal rescue as therapy to help him in his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Hooch is a survivor himself – he was found severely emaciated, with his ears crudely cropped and his tongue cut out.

Skow nursed Hooch back to health, and despite what the dog had been through, he remained trusting and kind to everyone around him. Hooch now works as a therapy dog, and works especially well with non-verbal children with autism. “Hooch has never met a person he doesn’t like,” Skow said. “This dog is resilience personified. … It’s very humbling to see him living life on life’s terms and being triumphant.”

NOVEMBER Three New Dog Breeds Make Their Debut at the National Dog Show

Pumi, American Hairless Terrier and Sloughi - Westminster Kennel Club

Three unique dog breeds – the American Hairless Terrier, the Pumi and the Sloughi – made their US TV debut when NBC aired the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day. Although none of them took home the big prize (that went to a Greyhound named Gia), they’ll have another shot in February when they make their debut at at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

First up is the American Hairless, an small, energetic terrier that is only the fourth hairless dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Next is the Pumi (pronounced POO-me), a small Hungarian herding dog with high, floppy ears and a long history of working side-by-side with farmers in its native county. Lastly, the Sloughi is a tall, striking North African sighthound that can trace its origins back thousands of years. To learn more about these breeds, check out our blog post.

DECEMBER – Browser the Library Cat Keeps His Home

Browser the library cat

Browser the library cat (Photo credit: White Settlement Public Library via People)

We can’t end the year without at least ONE cat story, can we? We honor our other amazing group of animal customers with the story of Browser, the library cat who got his Christmas wish. Browser is the resident cat at the White Settlement Public Library in White Settlement, Texas, and he has a lot of fans. Unfortunately, Former White Settlement councilman Elzie Clements was not one of them.

Clements, who had led a previous, unsuccessful attempt to remove the former stray and current rodent control officer from the library, lost his bid for reelection in November. In one last attempt, the outgoing councilman tried again to put an item on the agenda before his last council meeting on Dec. 13th, banning the grey tabby. Mayor Ronald White, who is in his third year as mayor of the town of 18,000, intervened and decided to name the beloved feline “Library Cat for Life.” “People love that cat,” Lillian Blackburn, president of Friends of the White Settlement Library, told PEOPLE magazine. “He loves to hang out around the books and wander between the shelves…Cats and books seem to go together somehow.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed these 12 stories from the Year in Dogs, and we look forward to sharing many more stories like these with you in 2017 here and on our Facebook page!

Featured image photo credits (clockwise from top left): Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Facebook page, Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half Facebook page, Dominic Wilcox (Variations on normal) Facebook page, The Dodo Facebook page (screenshot of video), Photo via Fox 13 News, Tampa, FL, Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue Facebook page, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Facebook Page and Chicago White Sox Facebook page.   

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