feactures fun n frolic

Pooch movie mania magic!

Winters are here…kids are looking forward to their winter vacations. Cold waves, warm bedding – who wants to go out? How about some lovely pooch movies to keep boredom at bay? What’s more? Let your tailwagger curl up by your side, while you both enjoy these beautiful movies.
Movies are a fun way to treat and train animals. Some movies are with a message that spread awareness about adopting dogs. Here are some of the must-see movies the every dog lover must see:
Beethoven: This film is one comedy drama that you can watch with your kids! Directed by Brian Levant in 1992, Beethoven depicts the story of a St Bernard who comes into the lives of Newton family and fills a void that always existed in their family. The dog becomes the center of attraction and attention for the family and is endowed with much love and care. But the dog’s vet, Doctor Varnick, has some other plans for Beethoven. Dr Varnick has a secret, a dark horrible side to him that requires a lot of dogs to carry out experiments. He eyes the poor slobbering Beethoven for the same. How Beethoven is saved from the cruel vet is something to watch out for! A St Bernard by the name of Chris portrayed the role of the dog and you just can’t avoid falling in love with him.
Marley & Me: This movie became a superhit in 2008. Directed by David Frankel, this movie is based on an autobiographical book by journalist John Grogan. The story revolves around John’s life and experiences with one mischievous Labrador Retriever. This one is a truly family entertainer. It will make the elders, teenagers and even kids laugh. The unforgettable chaos that the dog gets the family into is real fun, but in the end the dog teaches the family what is really important in one’s life. The character of Marley is played by 18 different Labrador Retrievers. Also look out for the sequel, though the first part is much better. The book is also worth a read for book lovers. The language is simple and it also has photographs of the real Marley.
Hachi – A Dog’s Tale: An all time favourite movie among all dog lovers, this movie was made in 2009. It became an instant hit with all dog lovers across the globe. Hachi is a true story of an Akita breed dog. If the word Loyal has a synonym, then it is ‘Hachiko’. The story shows a rare and invincible bond between a dog and a human. College professor Parker Wilson finds a young pup abandoned at a train station. He instantly takes a liking for the dog and names him Hachiko-Hachi (which is a Japanese symbol for good luck that’s hanging from the pup’s collar). Hachi is a dog who doesn’t like to play fetch games, or do any tricks or get trained as other dogs do. That’s why Parker’s family has inhibitions towards Hachi. But he is extremely faithful to Parker and is friendly to him. He walks with him everyday to the train station in the morning and then again comes back to greet him every evening when his master returns. This is a routine Hachi follows even after the untimely demise of Parker. Hachi brings tears to the viewer’s eyes in the climax of the movie.
Air Bud (Series): Air Bud, as the name says, is about a buddy who jumps up in the air. No, he is not a superman but just a cute bundle of fur. A sports playing Golden Retriever named Buddy is the central character of the film. All the series are a great watch. A Golden Retriever by the actual name of Buddy played the central character. Buddy has also acted as Comet in the TV series Full House. Josh, a young kid becomes friends with a stray Golden Retriever who has some amazing ability to play basketball. Josh makes a school team of basketball players and Buddy becomes their Team Mascot. Josh and Buddy emerge as the stars of halftime in the game. Buddy gets all the attention from the media in halftime which is seen by his former mean pet parent, Norm Snively. He sees it as an opportunity and makes a wicked scheme to cash in Buddy’s popularity. Watch this movie to find out if Josh and Buddy get separated by Norm’s wicked plan or they remain buds forever?
Homeward Bound – The Incredible Journey: Here the three animals – Shadow, the Golden Retriever (intelligent and calmest of all- a true leader), Chance the Bulldog (a talkative fun mischievous adopted dog) and Sassy the cat (as our kitties always are) are given human voices. They belong to one family but each has their own space and own favourite kid-parents. When the family has to go on a vacation, they leave them with a pet sitter. The trio run away and set on an adventurous journey to reach back home. The film shows a series of events wherein each completes their own journey too of throwing away inhibitions, getting to know the outside world and becoming brave and courageous. It’s a perfect entertainer for small kids. The movie shows an abundance of wildlife and beautiful location sceneries.
Eight Below: This movie was also released by the name Antarctica in the US. Inspired by a Japanese movie, this is based on a true story of a Japanese expedition carried out in 1958. The human cast has done a great job, but the eight Siberian Huskies steal the show. Heart warming, this one is sure going to keep you on toes throughout their expedition. The story revolves around a dog-sled guide working at an Antarctic research station and his live action-adventures. A severe storm forces him to abandon his eight beloved sled dogs in harsh Antarctic winter. Left to fend for themselves, the rugged and resourceful dogs face several dangerous situations at every turn. They survive for nearly six months and finally meet Walter, who along with his colleagues, join hands to carry out a daring rescue mission to save the dogs. The Huskies look so huggable in the movie that you can’t help falling in love with each one of them.
101 Dalmatians: Dalmatians are a breed of dogs found first in Croatia. They were mainly used as carriage dogs in early days. But here in this movie Cruella DeVil, as her name is cruel and devil-like, kidnaps puppies and kills them for fur. The movie takes a turn when various animals join hands against her and take their revenge. The beautiful spotted Dalmatians in the movie make the viewers’ heart skip a beat. In the sequel 102 Dalmatians, Cruella manages to get out of prison and once again goes after the darned puppies. But the Dalmatians prove smarter. A full fledged entertainer for the whole family, 101 and 102 Dalmatians are not to miss out for the drama and picturisation.
Old Yeller: This movie is an old time classic. Set amidst the landscape of 1860 Texas, the movie revolves around a young boy named Travis and the bond he shares with a lop-eared stray. Directed by Robert Stevenson in 1957, the movie is based on an award winning book ‘Old Yeller’ by Fred Gipson. Travis doesn’t take an instant liking to Old Yeller until he saves the family from attack of a bear. Showing his true protective skills, Old Yeller gains affection of the family and becomes a loyal buddy of Travis. Soon they become inseparable, sharing joyous experiences and learning valuable lessons about growing up. The movie teaches kids about love and death, family bonds and life’s teachings. It might also teach kids about dealing with loss of a life (dogs). The movie also has a sequel Savage Sam which is again based on another book of Fred Gipson.
Hotel for Dogs: Andi and her little brother Bruce stay in a foster home where animals are not allowed. The kids love animals and an adorable dog whom they name Friday is their buddy. They secretly care for him and are ready to risk everything for him. They soon find a shelter for him in a huge abandoned hotel. Bruce puts his engineering skills to use and transform the abandoned hotel into an ideal place for dogs to live. Friday soon shares his home with all kinds of furry buddies and the place soon becomes a paradise to live in. The neighbours are led into a mystery when they discover sudden disappearance of all stray dogs around. Andi and Bruce strive to keep the hotel’s secret from being discovered. Will they manage to do so? The adventure is also beautifully penned down in Lois Duncan’s book by the same name on which the movie is based.
A Dog of Flanders: The movie is based on a novel written by English author Marie Louise in 1972. The movie is about a Flemish boy named Nello and his dog Patrasche (a Bouvier, a large sturdy dog native to Flanders). There is even a statue of the boy and his dog in Antwerp which is a tourist attraction. Young orphaned boy Nello lives with his grandfather in a small village in Antwerp and sell milk as they are very poor. They find a bruised dog and adopt him, naming him after Nello’s mother Mary. Patrasche helps Nello pull milk into town every morning. Though the book’s ending and film’s climax are totally different, both show a great human-dog bond.
Turner & Hooch: This film is surely going to bring smiles and laughter all around. It’s an average cop and dog movie. It’s a sweet love story of fights and bonding between Turner
(played by Tom Hanks, a cop) and Hooch
(a large and slobbery French Mastiff or Bordeaux Mastiff as they are called) who come together to find the murderer of Hooch’s pet parent. Turner hates Hooch but has to keep him at his home till the case gets solved and in the process takes a liking for him. In the end, Hooch dies solving the case and saving life of Turner. Turner, who was a control freak, becomes soft, considerate and animal loving by the end of the case. It’s his own emotional journey too. Watch out for the hilarious moments at Turner’s home when Hooch enters in initial days.
A Dog Year: This one is about a great bonding between Jon Katz, a writer by profession and his bonding with a Border Collie, a dog whom he receives from a kennel. The dog is undisciplined because of abuse and he gets Jon into a series of mishaps, but Jon doesn’t quit on the dog and wants to keep trying. Jon hires a farmhouse to give the dog enough room to run around thinking that will drive out his energy and calm him down. But, during the course, he realises that it’s his own problems that is driving him crazy and not the dog. A great emotional journey about a dog helping a human discover oneself. The Border Collie is one guy to watch out for….furry and huggable.
The Adventures of Milo & Otis: An adventurous film that will be enjoyed by both young and old. A kid’s favourite, this film revolves around the adventurous journey of Otis, a Pug-nosed puppy, when he takes off with an aim to rescue his friend Milo, the always curious kitten, when she is swept down a river during one of her roaming hangouts. It’s a Japanese action adventure film made in 1986 and the film was reworked for its release in English in 1989.
The Shaggy Dog: The adventure starts when a workaholic human (the dad, played by Tim Allens) is transformed into a lovable dog. Made in 2006, this movie is about a typical home where the wife and kids complain to their father about not giving them enough time. When he turns into a dog, he sets on a mission to uncover the mystery of how it all happened. His struggle to discover the mystery makes him understand his family better as a dog. He understands the meaning of fatherhood and wants to turn back as human and give all the love and time to his family that he has missed out on. A wonderful film to watch and learn!
Snow Dogs: Made in 2002, the movie stars Cuba Gooding Jr and is a live action comedy film. Directed by Brian Levant, the movie is based on the book Winter Dance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen. Cuba Gooding Jr is shown as a dentist from Miami who inherits a team of champion sled dogs. During the film he discovers that he was adopted and hence manages to find his true place in life. They participate in the Arctic Challenge Sled Dog Race to win it in the end. The race is to watch for and the occasional winking of the Siberian Huskies is to die for! The power of love between family, friends and dogs is what one can expect in this family film.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab the DVD and bask in the love and bind of
these lovely beings!

Canine Superstars!
Dogs who play central characters become a celebrity and when a movie becomes a hit, we suddenly see the demand for that particular breed in market! One such celebrity was Rin Tin Tin. He was the Biggest Canine Superstar Hollywood ever had. ‘Rinty’, as he was called, was a German Shepherd and he starred in more than 27 Hollywood films during an era when silent films were being made! Rinty was so popular that he was even nominated as ‘Best Actor’ and secured most votes in 1929 Academy Awards. Sadly, the Jury ruled him out or else, he would have been the first dog to have ever won an Oscar!! Rinty’s popularity made the breed German Shepherd a popular household pet. He died at the age of 14 in 1932.The dog was so popular that for the next two decades, directors hired German Shepherd dogs and named them Rin Tin Tin II, Rin Tin Tin III and so on. Interestingly, most of them were Rinty’s own sons.

Jadu: Your magic is missing!

I go to gym every evening at 6 pm. One day I noticed a black-coloured stray dog sitting outside the door of theRemembrance gym. I named him Jadu. One evening I found him surprisingly missing from where he used to sit regularly. I asked the gym receptionist about the dog’s whereabouts. He said that a car hit him. I searched around and finally found him crying in pain at a corner of the road. With the help of the receptionist, I took him in my car to a vet who examined and told that the dog has fractured his hip bone. The vet gave him some tablets and advised me to feed the dog mutton soup. That’s how my friendship with Jadu strengthened. Since then, I brought mutton soup and dog biscuits everyday for him and his injury improved. He resumed his normal way of running and jumping. He started recognising my car’s horn and came to greet me every evening. He sat at the gym’s doorway, waiting for my workout to get over. He understood the word ‘race’ and used to run along with me upto my car. But today, Jadu is no longer sitting at the door of the gym. He got hit by a car again and I have lost Jadu forever. I miss you a lot Jadu!

–Kriti Kapur, Delhi

Jaadu – the magic in our lives!

pawtails2JAADU- yes, this is the five letter name of my four legged friend! He is a black Pug. Whenever I saw the Hutch ad, I used to wonder how it would be if I had a dog exactly like the one in the ad. A lovely buddy who could follow me wherever I went, being friendly and playful! My wish was to get one for which I kept pestering my parents.

One fi ne day, I got to know the true meaning of the proverb -‘patience pays’, when my grandma gifted me Jaadu. True to his name, he is just like magic to us. He has brought complete happiness into our lives.

My Dadi, who does not like dogs, loves him dearly. Also, he has made himself the darling of my dad. When dad comes back from a grueling day at offi ce and goes to rest, Jaadu sneaks into his bed and goes and sits in the crook of his arms as if he were saying, ”I am always there for you.”

Jaadu is exactly as nice as I wanted. He does many hilarious things. Sometimes, he even tries to catch his tail but of course he never succeeds. As we children listen to our parents in front of them, but behind their backs we tend to defy them and do naughty things. Jaadu does just the same. When mom always tells him not to sit on the sofa, he in front of her shakes his head left and right, showing that he is totally involved. But when mom is not there, he always prefers the sofa.

Interestingly, Jaadu does not allow mom or dad to wake my brother or me up on a holiday. He makes a big rumpus so that we can sleep peacefully. Sometimes I wonder, how can Jaadu differentiate a working day from a holiday? It seems so because mom or dad are allowed to wake us up on a school day so that we may not be late for school.

Now, Jaadu has become a very important part of our lives. I think I should thank the Lord as Jaadu is His true gift for us.

Dog massage: magic at the finger tips

Dog massage: magic at the finger tips


Love, companionship and fidelity that a dog can offer are boundless. Whenever your pooch is ill, your pet feels better when petted and touched. Here, Jill A Deming introduces an advanced method, body massage, to promote both the physical and emotional well-being of our furry friends.

I arrived at the house to conduct a massage session with a Miniature Poodle named Castro. I had been seeing him on a monthly basis for a year. Although this was the first time I had seen Castro since he had undergone major surgery on his intestinal tract. He was healing at a remarkable rate – his veterinarians were quite pleased. I unfolded the portable grooming table and began work. He soon relaxed and his pulse rate and breathing slowed. The other animals in the house – 3 dogs and 2 cats – began to approach the table and sit at my feet, as if drawn to Castro’s relaxation. It is a response I often see in household animals that aren’t being massaged. As I began the session with Castro, I gently warmed the skin and muscle tissue with my hands. Gradually, I began feeling for muscle knots, tension and other irregularities in the tissue. Slowly I worked them out, returning to the more compromised areas, using various techniques.

How massage works

Massage is a deliberate and focused technique of touching and the manipulation of muscles and skin to promote well-being. It enables an injured animal to harness its innate resources and capabilities, thereby speeding recovery and correction of a range of physical deficiencies and emotional challenges. When skin receptors are stimulated, they transmit messages to the brain. Once the brain receives these messages, it initiates the production of chemicals that feed major body systems such as the blood, muscles, nerve cells, tissues, and organs. Massage is a vehicle that stimulates these skin receptors and releases the chemicals necessary for the body’s optimum performance.

Massage technique

The health issues and the needs of each dog is different so, a variety of ‘tools’ must be available for the canine massage therapist. Massage is divided into categories that are further divided into techniques. Therefore, a canine massage therapist has numerous techniques to choose from when faced with a particular situation.

“Effleurage” is a sweeping motion performed in the direction of the lymph nodes and encourages toxins to be carried out of the body. I conclude each session with this move because it helps the body to clear any toxins I may have stirred up in the course of the massage.

Massage benefits

Consider a litter of puppies playing and tussling with one another. This is a rudimentary form of massage. They are stimulating each other’s skin receptors and increasing the development of their brains.

Massage is particularly effective in treatment of injuries and can also be very effective in treating swelling, muscle spasms, scar tissue, strains, sprains, torn muscles and ligaments, lameness, post-foaling difficulties, and general trauma. It has been proved that animals who receive regular sessions of massage often heal from trauma at a faster rate than those who don’t receive massage.

Massage helps an animal who temporarily has its activity level curtailed by encouraging circulation throughout the system. It does this by dilating blood vessels, which increases the rate at which blood-borne nutrients and oxygen reach cells. The increased circulation also removes waste products such as lymph and lactic acid. Because muscle tissue is comprised of cells, this results in healthier tissue.

Continuous massage helps to reduce the output of ACTH (a stress hormone) that aids the immune system in maintaining its health and disease-fighting capabilities. Constant stress weakens the immune system and makes an animal more likely to succumb to infection.

Blows, wounds or any other type of trauma to the body can cause fibrous tissue adhesions beneath the skin. This impedes the proper movement of the muscles, resulting in future health problems. Tissue adhesions can be considerably reduced by the proper use of massage.

A dog who has scars on his body will benefit from massage in that area because it will contribute to break up the tissue adhessions and allow the muscles to move as they need to. For puppies, massage is useful in stimulating the flow of blood to the bones, thereby nourishing the skeletal system. It aids in the development of nerve pathways in the cortex and sub cortex of the brain, resulting in a more rapid rate of learning.

If you are interested in massage for your dog, ensure that you utilise the services of a certified canine massage therapist.

(Jill A Deming is a biologist, and had numerous years of working experience with exotic animals as a zookeeper. She now lives in the Virginia and specializes in canine and equine massage. More info can be had from

– by Jill A Deming