True confession time. I love all dogs; even ugly, scraggly, three-legged borderline psycho ones.
Recently I spent several weeks with my parents back East, and their two cats - no dogs. It was tough. They were smart enough to sense my lack of enthusiasm and spent most of their waking hours giving me the equivalent of the feline stink eye.
Nat Geo's star host of "The Dog Whisperer", Cesar Millan, is a very compelling person to sit and speak with. I was fortunate to do so last year when he came to a local Petco and offered to meet his fans, who pitched their stories.
During my interview, I told him about my neighbors, Dan and Mary and their English bulldog Buster, a charming and at times ferocious female who has sent them both to the emergency room more than once. Because of her unpredictable nature, she cannot be off a leash ever around anyone outside of the two of them.
Well, Cesar took the pitch and answered their plea for help. He filmed a segment that has already aired this season, showing Buster in all her snarling glory finally submit to Cesar. In the process, however, she did take a chunk out of his hand. They didn't show that in the episode, but I saw the blood evidence firsthand in the trash can after the crew left their home.
Now NGC Series has a three special summer which premieres on Fridays at 9 PM ET/PT: July 18, July 25 and August 1
Cesar's unique talent with dogs first developed on his grandfather's farm in Mexico. Now, at his Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, he receives as many as 100 calls a week from owners desperate for help.
So now it is summer, and as the temperatures rise, Millan feels the heat as he heads to the D-list to help his friend and Emmy competitor, Kathy Griffin; works with a man to overcome his lifetime fear of dogs so his family can adopt a pooch; and encounters 3,000 fans with problem dogs lined up for the first-ever Dog Whisperer "auditions."
"These are three of my all-time favorite episodes because each offers something we've never done before," said Cesar Millan.
"For the first time, I worked with a family that DID NOT even own a dog; worked with a woman whose bite was worse than her dog's ... that would be the one and only Kathy Griffin; and finally a special episode we referred to as "Dog Whisper Idol" where fans lined up for the chance to work with me. And I'm very proud that one of the selected cases saved a dog just a day away from being destroyed."
The three special summer premieres are as follows:
DOG WHISPERER: FEAR OF DOGS
Friday, July 18, 2008, at 9 PM ET/PT
Ernesto Robles' four children constantly hound him to get a dog. There's only one problem: Ernesto is terrified of canines. His cynophobia began as a young boy when he and his friends threw rocks at a neighbor's dog. The dog jumped the fence and tore after the frightened boys.
Ernesto woke up in the hospital as doctors were injecting rabies shots into his stomach. Now 38 years old, Ernesto panics whenever a dog is near. He's even stopped running outdoors for fear of facing off-leash dogs. Ernesto wants Cesar to help him overcome his phobic terror and be able to finally adopt a four-legged companion as a member of his family.
DOG WHISPERER: MY LIFE ON THE DOG LIST
SPECIAL EPISODE WITH D-LISTER KATHY GRIFFIN
Friday, July 25, 2008, at 9 PM ET/PT
Actress and comedienne Kathy Griffin owns two rescue dogs: Chance, an 8-year-old male Lab/chow mix, and Pom Pom, a 3-½-year-old female Lab mix. They star alongside Kathy on the Bravo television series "My Life on the D List."
Though they aren't A list, that doesn't mean stardom hasn't gone to their heads. Even before she beat out Dog Whisperer to win her Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program, Kathy has had many problems with her celebrity canines. The dogs don't come when she calls, and they get so territorial around other dogs, it's impossible to get their attention or keep them from barking incessantly ... which endears Kathy to her neighbors almost as much as her own sharp tongue.
Pom Pom's dog aggression fuels Chance's aggression, and it becomes a vicious cycle. Even with help from her assistants, Kathy is unable to control her problem pooches. Cesar comes to teach this celebrity D-lister a thing or two ... including how to get her dogs on the treadmill. Will she get a passing grade?
DOG WHISPERER: CANINE 9-1-1
Friday, August 1, 2008, at 9 PM ET/PT
One bright Sunday morning in Orange County, more than 3,000 people and their beloved but troubled dogs descended on a local Petco, creating traffic jams and mayhem.
They came to audition, but not for best in show. They came to meet Dog Whisperer producers in the hopes of a session with Cesar for this episode of the Dog Whisperer.
This episode follows two of these troubled canines from their audition to working with Cesar -- including one dog who was just a day away from being euthanized. It becomes a true family matter when Cesar's son Andre is enlisted as an integral part of this emergency rehabilitation.
The second and third seasons of Dog Whisperer each received nominations for the Primetime Emmy for Best Reality Series. Millan was made an honorary member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and was recently honored with The Michael Landon Award for Inspiration to Youth Through Television at the 28th Young Artist Awards.