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 Created: 02/11/08


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Specialty HIT Colras Full Attention Req'd v. CJ CD, RN, CGC, TDI

February 11, 2008 — Let's take a break from reviewing the Best of Breed entries from last year's GDCA National. After four installments, I imagine many in the audience are ready to see something else.

I'm pleased to present Tiger, an exuberant three-year-old who belongs to Stacey and Chantel Johnson. Or perhaps, from Tiger's point of view, they belong to him. Lovingly trained and expertly handled by Chantel (co-owned by Colette Raasch), Tiger lives and plays in Topton, PA. Some of you will remember him from an earlier article. This week you'll learn a bit more of Tiger's story, as told by Chantel:



By Chantel Johnson

If it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. That vulnerable moment when your heart opens to a puppy you didn't plan on taking home with you. It happened to me at the 2004 GDCA National held right in my back-yard in Fort Worth, Texas. I was still feeling empty from the loss of a beloved old Dane friend and feeling sad for the one I still had with me whose illness wasn't getting any better. I couldn't imagine being Dane-less.

Enter "Tiger" — official name Colras Full Attention Required v. CJ. During the evening parades at the National along comes Colette Raasch, being joyfully led into the commotion by a four month old puppy boy which she bred. He was all big feet and lips and sleek and solid black. That night this puppy was totally unfazed by the noise, crowd, music and occasional power outages. This friendly and fearless baby took two seconds to steal my heart. He has lived with us ever since.

Tiger with his TigerGo Get 'em, Tiger!
The bundle of fun grew and grew and retained his exceptional disposition and personality. It was this joy for life which attracted me to him from the beginning. We began obedience school and took a Rally Class from our friend Barbara Bristol. It was Barbara who introduced us to Valerie Fare. Val has a keen eye for finding animal actors and models. She fell for Tiger's temperament and striking presence. In short order Val had a commercial shoot scheduled for Tiger! He was just ten months old and his part was to appear as an unruly, untrained big dog at an obedience class! The commercial was for a well-known company marketing a new robotic toy dog which would obey its owner's every command. Tiger was to be the example of what happens when you don't train your dog! Barb took Tiger to the shoot since I could not get away from work to go myself. She said the pup was the center of attention at the shoot and performed his misbehavior perfectly. He appeared in nearly every scene.

Tiger splashingAnother Acting Gig?
I really didn't intend for Tiger become an actor. He's my companion first, my obedience partner second and a "show dog" third. Recently Val called again to tell me there might be another commercial for Tiger. She warned me that this shoot would require more "acting" from Tiger than his previous commercial. She also said that the company might not want to use him because he is black. Dark colored animals are very difficult to light properly. It is hard to capture their facial expressions and not have them end up looking like a dark blob on the screen. To make matters worse, Tiger's co-star was to be a gorgeous white standard poodle. So much contrast might be too much for the crew to work with. But Val felt Tiger would be perfect for the part. The product in the commercial was a fat-free healthy canine dog treat.

The story-line is of an overweight owner and his chubby dog walking passed a lovely slim lady and her equally lovely poodle. The man tries to suck in his gut and the lady rolls her eyes in dismay. The next several scenes show the man and his dog working out, eating right, losing weight and getting fit. The scene which follows features the now fit man and his fit dog walking past the same lovely lady and her poodle. Tiger at the gymThis time the lady and her dog are very impressed! In the final scene the newly slim dog and the poodle are lying together on a picnic blanket. In the background you can see the lady oohing and ahhing over the man's new muscles.

We went to the shoot not knowing for sure if the company would accept Tiger. Nor was I sure Tiger would perform the tasks he needed to do for the commercial. Among other things, Tiger was required to hold a fake 50lb dumbbell weight in his mouth, be a spotter for the bench pressing actor, run across the gym while the actor did aerobics, catch a treat from a distance and jog on a treadmill along side the actor who was also on a treadmill. I was especially worried that Tiger would not want to run on the treadmill. The crew custom made a giant treadmill just for Tiger's 36 inch 175 pound bulk because his stride would not fit on a normal sized machine. I knew he just had to be able to do this! Thank goodness for my patient husband, Stacey. After a few tries he had Tiger jogging on the treadmill as if he'd done it al his life! Needless to say, the cast and crew were smitten with Tiger. He got the gig.

(More to follow next week)

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