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Almost Famous Dogs

By Meredeth Barzen

If dogs are man’s best friends, then by the transitive property of celebrity canines, dogs of famous people are famous best friends … or famous best friends are dogs? Hmm, we’ll have to make a flow chart to figure that one out, but in the meantime, we at Sidewalk Dog love to hear your dog stories … favorite parks, best squirrel-chasing grounds, yummiest treats, etc … So thought we’d ask some of the Twin Cities’ best-known dog moms and dads about their best friends. Below are their deepest, darkest dog secrets.

Mary Lucia (Host, 89.3 The Current, Minnesota Public Radio)

Mary Lucia's Smudge

Mary Lucia's Smudge

Dog’s name: Smudge

Dog’s nicknames: Ladies and gentleman for one night only the incredible Smudgestone!

Breed: Pug/88 year old man

Age: 5

Favorite toy: Anything meant for my cats

Mary Lucia

Mary Lucia

Favorite treats: Anything that falls on the floor

Groomer: Keira at Petco in Richfield

Dog’s favorite place to hang out: Two inches from my left arm

Favorite dog park: Not a “throw the stick and run” kinda dog

Favorite dog-friendly coffee shop: Gigi’s Café in South Minneapolis

Favorite pet store: Calhoun Pet Supply in South Minneapolis

Childhood dog: Enzo

Dog’s best trick: Somehow convinced my cat Muse to groom her

Dog’s best friend: Anyone who stops to pet her

Dog’s nemesis: Smudge loves everyone.

Sleeps on: Her own bed in my bedroom closet. I now sleep with earplugs as she snores louder than any human being I have ever heard.

Be honest: Do you ever use baby talk when speaking to your dog? My voice is too husky to talk baby talk but sometimes I find myself using an English accent when I speak to her: “Good day, Smudgely.”

Pat Neshek (Minnesota Twins pitcher) and wife Stephanee

Stephanee and Pat Neshek with their dogs, Juicy and Kirby

Stephanee and Pat Neshek with their dogs, Juicy and Kirby

Dogs’ names: Juicy & Kirby

Breeds: Juicy is a dachshund mix and Kirby is a chocolate piebald dachshund

Ages: Juicy, 4; Kirby, 2

Favorite toy: Juicy likes any stuffed animal that she can rip open, shred apart, and pull the stuffing out of. Kirby LOVES mini tennis balls with squeakers.

Favorite treats: Juicy likes those chewy doggie pizza treats (but she doesn’t get them much because they are terrible for her!) Kirby loves bananas! He goes crazy and can smell them a mile away … he’s even gotten into the back of the car while we were driving and eaten a whole peel with the banana!

Favorite place to hang out: Bike trails by the Coon Rapids Dam—they love walks!

Favorite dog park: Elm Creek dog park

Favorite dog-friendly restaurant: Eastside Food Co-op

Favorite dog-friendly store: Eastside Food Co-op

Favorite pet store: Petco

Favorite dog-friendly vacation: Dog beach in Fort Myers, Florida

Childhood dog: Stephanee’s family had a golden retriever named Brandy. Growing up, Pat had a cocker spaniel named Tuffy. When Tuffy passed away, the Nesheks adopted Dodger, a Lab/shepherd mix. After 14 great years, Dodger died in his sleep of old age last August.

Best trick: Kirby will roll over for treats—and loves getting treats so much, she will keep rolling over in continuous circles!  Juicy can dance—she can even ”raise the roof” when she gets excited! Both dogs will sit up in a “prairie dog” position, but it isn’t really a trick. They do it whenever they want something.

Kirby and Juicy Neshek doing tricks for treats

Kirby and Juicy Neshek doing tricks for treats

Dog’s best friend: Kirby and Juicy are best friends. Other than Kirby, Juicy’s best friend is Stephanee’s sister’s Chihuahua Ozzie. They grew up together in Florida. Kirby says his best friend is his daddy.

Sleeps on: Both dogs sleep in the bed with us—under the covers—every night.

Be honest: Do you ever use baby talk when speaking to your dog? All the time … they are our babies.

Cheryl Kaye (Morning show co-host, 102.9 Lite FM)

Cheryl Kaye's Ursula and Elwood

Cheryl Kaye's Ursula and Elwood

Dogs’ names: Ursula and Elwood

Nicknames: Ursie (Ursula) and Smelly (Elwood)

Breeds: Dobermans, both adopted from rescue organizations

Age: Ursula is 14 and Elwood is 8

Favorite toy: Anything fuzzy with stuffing inside—they like to rip them apart. I suspect they pretend they are squirrels!

Favorite treats: Anything remotely edible.

Groomer: Uh, I guess that would be me?

Dogs’ favorite place to hang out: My bed.

Favorite dog park: Ursula is a diva around other dogs, so we don’t do the dog park. But they love to go for leashed walks at Central Park in Roseville.

Favorite dog-friendly store: Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet

Favorite pet store: Chuck & Don’s

Favorite dog-friendly vacation: The Gunflint Lodge on the Gunflint trail.

Childhood dog: Ringo, a beagle

Dogs’ best trick: Sleeping

Dogs’ best friend: Elwood adores Ursula. Ursula puts up with Elwood. Typical woman!

Dog’s nemesis: The rabbits in the neighbor’s yard

Sleeps on: Mostly the bed. But they love a good sun nap in the backyard.

Be honest: Do you ever use baby talk when speaking to your dog? Every second of every day: “Ursie bursee, boosie, tootie wootsie.”  “Elwood smellwood, pooper dooper.”  Wow, I can’t go out in public anymore after that admission.

Frank Vascellaro and Ameila Santaniello (Husband-and-wife TV news anchors, WCCO)

Frank Vascellaro

Frank Vascellaro

Dog’s name: Cleopatra

Dog’s nickname: Cleo

Breed: Hound/boxer mix

Age: 16 and still doing OK

Favorite toy: Too mature for toys, but loves being around our three kids

Amelia Santaniello

Amelia Santaniello

Favorite treats: Cleo has been exposed to a wide variety of foods and eats darn near everything. About the only thing we found she doesn’t like are beets.

Groomer: Hurray for short hair. All she needs is a little nail clip at home every now and then, but Amelia points out that she sheds.

Dog’s favorite place to hang out: These days, she just wants to be around us at home with a special emphasis on the kitchen.

Favorite dog park: The unofficial dog park bordering Minneapolis, Edina, and St. Louis Park near 40th St. and France Ave.

Favorite dog-friendly coffee shop: Java Jack’s Coffee Cafe

Favorite dog-friendly store: Settergren Ace Hardware on Penn Ave. and 54th St. Great people, and the dogs always get a treat.

Favorite pet store: Cleo has never had a bad experience cruising the aisles of Petsmart.

Favorite dog-friendly vacation: We take Cleo with us Up North every weekend.

Childhood dog: Frank had Mickey and Gino and Amelia had Chibi and Poco.

Dog’s best trick: Cleo is super smart. She’s 16 and is too mature to be tricked into performing, but she’s still very aware.

Dog’s best friend: Frank

Dog’s nemesis: Thunder and lightning

Sleeps on: In younger days, she would sleep in our bed and could jump up there. These days, I need to carry her up and down the stairs because she’s old. We bought her a dog bed for the floor about two years ago.

M.A. Rosko (Morning news reporter, FOX 9)

M.A. Rosko's Red and Munter

M.A. Rosko's Red and Munter

Dogs’ names: Munter and Red

Nicknames: Munter, aka “Private Pinkerton” when she’s on squirrel watch duty, and “Princess Muntavia von Licktenstein” when she’s being a willful, yet beautiful Teutonic princess. Red also goes by “Ass Man,” as he charges at other dogs in a terrifying manner, only to gleefully grab a tantalizing sniff of nether regions.

Breeds: Munter is a silver dappled miniature dachshund; Red, to the best of our knowledge, is a Lab.

Ages: Munter is 9, Red’s about 5.

Favorite toys: Munter loves her threadbare, barely stuffed but still humpable Koala bear. Red goes ape for a peanut butter-stuffed Kong.

M.A. with Hunter

M.A. with Munter

Favorite treats: Red eats anything; he’s a Lab. Lately he’s obsessed with picking up mulberries that have fallen off the tree in the backyard. Munter likes “people food,” which I should call “other people food” as other people feed it to her, I do not.

Dogs’ favorite place to hang out: Munter likes to go to live shot story locations with me and bask in attention. Red enjoys the backyard.

Favorite dog park: Airport or Minnehaha Falls

Favorite dog-friendly restaurant: Café Barbette and Galaxy Drive-In (the newly remodeled “Wagner’s” drive-in, in St. Louis Park—gives free kiddie cones to all dogs.)

Favorite dog-friendly coffee shop: Butter, on 36th and Grand Ave., bakes its own biscuits

Favorite dog-friendly store: Diamond Lake Hardware

Favorite pet store: Urbanimal

Favorite dog-friendly vacation: I can’t wait for this one! October 8-11, the Gunflint Lodge is hosting “Waggalot,” a dog-friendly celebration. There will be hikes, photography, seminars on training and nutrition, canine massage and more. Join Red, Munter and me up north this fall!

Your childhood dog: My first dog was a terrier named Governor, whom I called Govvy Gee-Gee. As an infant, I ate his dog biscuits out of his Christmas stocking, and whacked him on the head with a (soft) xylophone mallet. God bless that dog.

Best tricks: Red makes bananas disappear. As in, I swear I left some bananas on the counter, now all I can find is a bit of stem on the floor.

Dogs’ best friends: Munter’s best friend is my boyfriend’s yellow Lab Samantha. Red has recently become BFFs with my Fox9 Morning News co-worker Alix Kendall’s new adopted dog, Pax.

Dogs’ nemesis: Munter has a prejudice against big fluffy dogs like Huskies. Red wants a piece of my mailman, who happens to be the nicest man in the world.

Sleeps on: Munter likes to change position several times each night, and burrowing under covers is necessary. She has two dog beds (she’s taken over Red’s large bed as well as her own) but  a pile of clothing on the floor will do. Red sleeps wherever Munter has chosen not to.

Be honest: Do you ever use baby talk when speaking to your dog? All the time. Even on the air.

Lisa Goodman, Minneapolis City Council Member and key player in getting last year’s doggie dining ordinance passed

Lisa Goodman's Sadie (not to be confused with Sadie the Wonderdoodle)

Lisa Goodman's Sadie (not to be confused with Sadie the Wonderdoodle)

Dog’s name: Sadie Rose

Dog’s nickname: Miss Sadie

Breed: Goldendoodle

Age: 4

Favorite toy: Anything soft and stuffed animal-like

Favorite treats: Homemade snicker doodles by Senator Linda Higgins

Groomer: Royal Pet

Dog’s favorite place to hang out: Loring Park dog park or any beach

Favorite dog park: Loring Park

Favorite dog-friendly restaurant: Nick and Eddie or Toast Wine Bar and Cafe

Lisa Goodman

Lisa Goodman

Favorite dog-friendly coffee shop: Cafe Espresso Royale

Favorite dog-friendly store: Corazon

Favorite pet store: Urbanimal

Favorite dog-friendly vacation: Lake Michigan dog beach on Montrose in Chicago

Dog’s best trick: Shaking hands

Dog’s best friend: Our cat Coco

Dog’s nemesis: University of St. Thomas–Minneapolis Campus plaza and fountain where she has been told not to play in the water.

Sleeps on: Couch

Be honest: Do you ever use baby talk when speaking to your dog? Of course!

Al Franken (Recently seated Senator whose first piece of legislation was the Service Dogs for Veterans Act, which will pair service dogs with veterans who have physical or mental wounds, including PTSD. His dog, Kirby, recently passed away.)

Senator Al Franken

Senator Al Franken

Name: Kirby

Breed: Black Lab

Age: 8

Favorite toy: His favorite game was tug of war, so anything that helped him play that was his favorite toy. Until, of course, it ripped.

Favorite treats: He was a Lab, and Labs eat anything. He didn’t get people food or table scraps (unless he stole them). He got the same kibble every single day—Eukanuba—and every day he ate as if it were the first time he’d ever had it. He absolutely destroyed it.

Favorite dog park: Lake of the Isles Dog Park—right by the soccer field

Favorite pet store: Urbanimal

Childhood dog: There were two—Brownie was a mutt, and Gunther was a dachshund named after Gunther Toody from “Car 54, Where Are You?”

Best trick: He wasn’t a service dog. His best trick was running around in circles chasing his tail whenever I came home. It wasn’t much of a trick, but I liked it.

Dog’s best friend: Me, the kids, Franni, my wife, anyone else

Dog’s nemesis: Franni, only while cooking food he wasn’t going to get to eat

Sleeps: On a chair. It was “his” chair.

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3 Responses to Almost Famous Dogs

  1. Pingback: Sidewalk Dog » Blog Archive » Almost Famous Dogs: Part Deux

  2. Pingback: Sidewalk Dog » Blog Archive » A Look Back at the 2009 Twin Cities Dog Scene

  3. Pingback: Sidewalk Dog » Blog Archive » Dogs on the Brain: Local artist WACSO indulges in a canine fixation

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