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2008-09-24 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

"Elvis", reincarnated in the compact form of a Parson Russell Terrier, has already had more than his Warhol-allotted fifteen minutes of fame. First a lavish Bark Mitzvah; then a TV role on a canine "Survivor" show. Ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog? Furgetaboutit. This dog is SOMETHING else.

Recently Elvis the Terrier and owner were contestants on CBS's "Greatest American Dog." Elvis resides far from Graceland, in Manhattan with Dr. David Best, founder of "The Doctor's Channel," an educational YouTube, offering physicians streaming videos of cutting- edge research.

Dr. Best, an ENT surgeon and MBA (and also first time dog owner,) now concentrates his efforts in medical communications. His website ( is an ingenious way for busy doctors to stay informed of the latest breakthroughs, by viewing short videos of information from Reuters and top teaching hospitals. As the logo says—doctors "learn from each other. Fast."

I met Dr. Best last February when he came to the Metropolitan Dog Club Brunch at Grand Central to celebrate with Uno-Westminster's Best In Show Beagle. He taped the big event for "The Doctor's Channel." His website also has a Humor section showing Elvis clips, including the $10,000 Bark Mitzvah he threw in honor of his pup's 13th birthday (calculated in dog years). Actually, boyish Elvis was less than two at the time of his extravagant party at an old Romanian steakhouse

"Elvis" with his pal, Dr. David Best "Elvis" with his pal, Dr. David Best on the Lower East Side. More than 100 guests, inc luding Dr. Ruth and Patty LuPone, showed up to wish Elvis "Muzzle"- Tov. Time out. Google "Elvis Bark Mi tzvah". Don't read

further until you watch highlights from his Bark Mitzvah online. You must see Elvis in a yarmulke chanting at the ceremony, barking his speech decrying Michael Vick and designer dogs, noshing on chopped liver, dancing the hora- but the best, the best of Best- the surprise appearance from Connecticut of Elvis's real mother, Michaela Wasp. (Oy vey, that pedigree name doesn't sound Jewish.) David told me that both Sonny Boy and Mama wearing her corsage were hoisted in celebratory chairs.

Elvis dancing at his Bark Mitzvah. (Dr. Ruth is also dancing) Elvis dancing at his Bark Mitzvah. (Dr. Ruth is also dancing) Of course, there were critics. This goes hand in hand with all creativity. Some said the festivities were irreverent; other postings argued the money should not have been spent on a dog party. Think about how many needy pets could have been helped. Hush up. You could call any party a waste of moola. Who is to say that the same people outwardly generous to their friends and family are not privately philanthropic? Besides, since his instant fame, Elvis is doing his share, promoting homeless pets at various adoption events, even Dog Day at Shea.

The Bark Mitzvah's tremendous Internet attention led to Elvis's TV discovery. Producers of last summer's reality program, "Greatest American Dog" contacted Best about an audition, and later chose David and Elvis as of one of a dozen duos residing in the Malibu mansion, dubbed the "Canine Academy", while competing for the quarter million dollar grand prize.

I repeat, David never owned a dog before. His

pup had participated in the Maryland Jack Russell races and the "Best in Shul" contest at a White Plains synagogue, but now they were about to enter the big leagues. Novice owner David and his best buddy Elvis with only a Petco obedience education, (and some finishing school from well-known trainer Bash Dibra), were up against seasoned dog professionals. During taping, David and Elvis were the first banished to the "doghouse" for an alleged assault on

Tillman, the skate boarding Bulldog, but in his defense, "reality" shows are somewhat staged. (While we're at it, wrestling isn't real either.)They were actually chosen because David's blazer made a great fashion statement while "slumming" it. The gracious doctor joked that if in NYC, the "doghouse" shack would probably rent for about $2,000 a month.

Alas, Doctor and dog were the third to be expelled from the Academy because of an agility faux pas but did come back for the show's finale. Although they didn't win, this team had every reason to be thrilled with their Hollywood experience. At the outset, David said that both he and Elvis were "characters" who found each other. Yes, they showed the world their fabulous bond, plus, as consolation, David got the chance to utter the immortal words: "Elvis has left the building."

For Adoption: This week our poster pets come from Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) on Lamar St. in W. Babylon. Spay/neuter is part of the adoption fee. "Memphis" a 3 month blonde kitten #19425 in a lobby cage is trying to be an Elvis impersonator, but no matter how we turned his leather jacket, it still looked like he had on a Hefty bag. He's reminding you that there re so many kittens and cats waiting at the shelter.

"Spike", a German Pinscher mix in Cage 24 has a sad story too. This sweet, medium-sized dog was seized by the SPCA but showed up at the shelter with a pathetic note from a former owner, most likely a child, asking the person who adopts him to "treat him like a human". Meanwhile Spike is getting care for a skin condition and ear hematoma. He stood patiently

while his ear was re-bandaged. Spike desperately deserves someone who will continue the TLC.

Males: Panda- the lonely Border Collie mix Cage 7; "Levon"- red Shepherd mix pup Cage 19; a wonderful Flat Coated Retriever mix pup under a year Cage 42.

Females: "Cutey - mature long-haired Doxie mix featured last week-Cage 25; "Tinkerbelle"- unique Lhasa/Cattle Dog- Cage 31; "Fluffy" 1 yr. black longhaired cat in C-9. Her owner died.

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