As appears to be a new Thanksgiving day tradition, Fox trotted out its annual installment of the FOX All Star Dog Rescue Celebration (renamed from last years awkward “Cause For Paws: All Star Dog Spectacular). An extensive list of celebrities told us their personal stories of dog adoption, showed us several of over 200 dogs available across the country for adoption, showcased the work of several dog rescue charities, presented awards, and gave us several opportunities to make a donation to the Petfinder Foundation.
The production value was up from last year, though, once again recorded at Santa Monica’s Barker Hanger.
Taking over the hosting duties this year was Kaley Cuoco who added effervescence and youth to the show. She gave us a few facts throughout the night including that more than 8 million animals end up in shelters every year, and only half of those make it out. Her most prominent role was introducing the nominees for the Pedigree Cutest Puppy Contest, where viewers could vote through fox.com/allstardogrescue, or tweet the hashtag of one of five puppies. I won’t spoil the results, but they are available on the shows website.
This episode started with Ross Mathews doing a remote broadcast outside the hanger covering the Wings of Rescue attempt to complete the Most Rescue Animals Transported In 36 Hours. They kept us in suspense the entire episode with Mathews also doing the final segment on the show where they succeeded (with a total of 1006). I’m not sure what the previous record was, or if there was one; but congratulations! There are so many deserving dogs going to happy homes across the country because of this organization.
Wings of Rescue also won the Transporter Of The Year Award.
Next up are Olivia Munn and Andy Cohen sharing more dogs for adoption and two interesting facts. When you adopt a dog, you save two. Adopting one dog opens a space up for a shelter to host another dog. Kohen shared that 25% of all dogs in shelters are purebreds. Going to a rescue that is specific to the breed you are looking for is a great place to start when looking for a dog.
Several times though the show, Cuoco and the presenters gave viewers information how to donate to the Petfinder Foundation. Petfinder aggregates the funds and disburses them to organizations across the country as grants. Viewers can donate through text or on the shows website.
Brandon McMillen (host of CBS’s Lucky Dog) ended up being the unofficial “Social Media” guy, showing videos and pictures of viral dogs of Facebook and Instagram while sending the show to commercial and as in interlude between presenters.
Once again, this year’s main sponsor was Pedigree. They didn’t have as much brand placement this year, and while a few of last years recipients received gifts of Pedigree products, none were to be found this year. Pedigree does a great job in being an active part in sponsoring adoptions through the Pedigree Foundation. Another notable sponsor during the commercial breaks was Subaru, a long-time animal groups sponsor. They also ran several commercials where a family of dogs takes road trips in Subaru vehicles; quite funny.
There were several updates from adoptions resulting from last years show. It was great to see a few of the success stories of how the dogs features now have loving homes and permanent families.
Sprinkled throughout the show were other stars who introduced dogs for adoption. Scarlett Johansson, Zendaya, Whitney Cummings, Kesha and Zachary Levi made brief appearances on a side stage to introducing dogs for adoption.
Hilary Swank then introduced the Sam Simon Award. It is given to an organization making a significant difference to people and their canine companions. The winner for 2015 was Fences for Fido, a group from Portland, Oregon. Their mission: Improving the lives of dogs living outdoors on the end of chains, tethers or in small kennels by building them a free fenced yard, insulated dog house, and spay/neuter.
Miley Cyrus, Ricky Gervais, Kristen Bell, and Stevie Wonder all did pre-recorded segments showing dog available for adoption. Cyrus told the viewers about the abundance of pitbulls in shelters, and how only 1 of 600 pitbulls find homes. Kristen brought us to Hawaii for a segment from the Big Island.
Wendy Malek and the superstar Betty White made another appearance this year. Rather than a montage and an entire segment last year, Malek and White made a short speech following up on a dog from last year, Traveler, and introducing two new senior dogs. All too often people will bring their senior dogs to shelters near the end of their lives, increasing the cost and care required at the shelter, and giving up on their dog in one of their greatest times of need. Keeping a dog through their older years, and loving them until the end, are the hardest and most rewarding times.
Emmy Rossum did a segment on the importance of foster families and the role they play in rehoming dogs; relieving some capacity strains on shelters and providing a loving (if temporary) family for dogs in transition. She introduced one of the most heart-wrenching segments on the episode. Through the show, there were two segments of dogs saved, fostered, then adopted through Rescue From the Hart. The segment of ‘Layla’ featured on the Fox special, is on the main page of Hart and has been viewed almost 7 million times. Be warned, you will see a dog in transition from huddled on the side of the road, to being rehomed. Bring out the tissue for this one. When the clip ended, Fox showed tearful and cheering audience members.
Celsea Handler rode along with the Lucy Pet Foundation as they drove Los Angeles talking spay/neuter. Left in tact, one pair of dogs can become 67,000 dogs in six years! Each week 80,000 dogs and cats are euthanized each week! Handler did a great job creating an entertaining segment with Karen Halligan, Chief Veterinary Officer of the Foundation.
Following Chelsea was Carrie Ann Inaba, creator of the Animal Project Foundation, hosting a pre-recorded segment on the 10-year old Dog-Surf-A-Thon put on by the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego; a fun publicity event to raise awareness of adoption and rescue. It was fun to watch some of the clips of dogs surfing.
Cesar Millan didn’t miss the opportunity to make an appearance to talk about special needs dogs and brought to stage a dog in a ‘wheelchair’ (a rig where the dogs back end sits in a sling, and wheels are used to give the back half mobility), and Caesar’s son Calvin had with him a blind dog. The dogs with needs are adaptable and just as loving as any dog.
Kathy Griffin ceased the day as only she can, to put some humor in the show, coming out wrapped in a blanket and carrying a bundle of newspapers. She directed us to the website for a list of supplies animal shelters need, before she dropped the blanket and showed off her silhouette to cheers. She then told viewers about the many dogs he has taken in, and the ‘train’ Eugene Bostick built to take his dogs for a walk to town, which went viral. She presented him with the Citizen Rescuer Of The Year Award. He is eighty years old, made his way to the front and gave an acceptance speech which, I believe, ran longer than the producers had planned.
One of the highlights of the show was the ‘live’ adoption of Archer. A family had talked about adopting a dog, gone through the application, was approved, and the parents broke the news to their children in front of the cameras! The children were elated, tears of joy flowing, the audience loved it, and it made for a great TV moment!
Dwight Yoakam then presented Emmylou Harris with the first ever resenting – Doris Day Award for her extensive work rescuing animals and for founding “Crossroads Campus” which helps dogs and at-risk kids. Rather than acceptance speech, Harris performed the song “Homeward bound” with Andra Day.
The Citizen Rescue Hero Award winner was Michael Schoepf who rappelled down an abandoned mine to save a fallen dog, took her home, attempted to find the owner, and ultimately ended up adopting her. There was a short montage of their story. Bark Avenue Foundation generously provided 5 years of pet health insurance to Schoepf for his dog Corona.
Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson both made appearances. Paula owns 3 chihuahuas. among the most common dog breed in shelters. Another music industry heavyweight was Sia introducing a long-time shelter resident and making us aware of that long time residents don’t have to be “forever” residents.
The Florida Georgia Line appearance didn’t come off as natural, but they introduced the winners of the Foster Organization of the Year as Dogs on Deployment. We got a brief pre recorded segment on this organization which matches temporary homes with dogs who are left behind while their owners are on deployment.
Finally, the show closed with Wings of Rescue being announced as recipient of the Transporter of the Year Award.
Overall, this was another great episode. While it was disappointing to read that the ratings weren’t great, it was given a unique time slot. The increase in production value, the renaming, new presenters and award categories were a great addition. I feel the show moved a bit faster than last year (in a good way) and I can’t wait to see what creators Hilary Swank and Michael Levitt have for us next year!
In addition to the organization listed above, these were also mentioned during the show:
LA 4 Animals – “Save the CHI” Program
Check out these Social dogs featured on the show:
Tugger Tails Facebook