Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Leader of the Pack

He trains dogs...he rehabilitates people. Cesar Millan is my hero. Watch a couple of episodes of "The Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic (Nat Geo now per their announcers), and you may feel the same way. Mr. Millan is one of the most reasonable and, (to his canine customers and their hapless human families), powerful people on the planet Earth. Over the past few seasons that this show has aired, he has taken on the large (a Great Dane afraid of slippery floors), the medium (a bulldog obsessed with attacking skate board riders) and the microscopic (a terrifying teacup sized Chihuahua who hated nearly everyone). Cesar Millan comes to the rescue when people who love their dogs, have dogs that make you want to run screaming towards the nearest high rise balcony and pitch yourself over the side.

His rules are simple, and established clearly in the beginning of every episode, no matter how challenging the dog or nutcase human consort. "Set boundaries. Stay calm and centered. Show no fear. Be patient. Always, and every day....walk, walk, walk." It sounds like an awful self-help mantra, but the producers of The Dog Whisperer have cleverly focused on dogs and owners that are incredibly troubled or weird, but at the same time sympathetic. If you watch the first few minutes, it is impossible to not stick around for the outcome.

Calm and centered is good advice for two legged humans and four legged furry canine friends alike. Obviously, The Dog Whisperer, is about dogs. But what I really love about this show is how wonderfully Cesar Millan reacts with the dog families. From the billionaires in Beverly Hills with a dyed pink petite poodle, to the nice gay couple with a show dog or the suburban family with a pooch who can't stay out of the backyard pool. Cesar Milan helps them all, without being maudlin or apologetic for insisting that what what both dogs and people need most is a little discipline, a lot of exercise and some calm and centered understanding.

Now...if only we could convince him to do cats!


Jane said...

I am commenting on my own blog to dedicate it to my sister's dog Taz...the most kind and beautiful and loving Chow chow dog who ever lived. Taz is 13 years old, and we have just found out that his health is failing rapidly. We love you TAZ!!! Beautiful orange dog, lover of cats, enemy of Pizza delivery men. We are praying for Taz the Magnificent to recover.

Lisa said...

May I also add my kindest thoughts and warmest wishes to Taz. I'm pulling for you, Taz!

In terms of Cesar Milan, I also love the show, and watched it ALL the time. I sort of went off it for a while but Jane's post has reminded me how much I love the show for what it shows about animals and also for what it teaches people about what they need to be in order to offer their animals the best life. Not a human's idea of a best life, but what, to a dog, is the most fulfilling. I can't tell you the number of dog owners I've recommended the show to, and non-dog owners too (like me.)

As for cats...well, a classful of cats would be filled with truants, miscreants, class clowns, flirts, big-headed star athletes and many students constantly falling asleep in class. Even Cesar probably couldn't do much good there! :-)

Wonderful post, Jane! And good luck, Taz!

Jeri said...

Hey Taz, I'm pulling for you. A big wonderful orange dog and lover of cats. How much more could you ask for in a dog. C'mon Taz I know you can feel the love of the Flaming Nose.
Ceasar Milan is a compelling man to watch and I have watched many episodes of the show. If only he could come to corporate America and train VP's to break bad habits what an extra wonderful show this would be.
And as for cats, I think Lisa states it very well, there would be no show with truant cats who would only look at Cesar Milan as more fodder for their silly cat antics. Cesar would only have to tell a cat no twice before that cat would latch on to his hand and hang on with both teeth and claws and disengaging an angry cat is never an easy task.
To Taz if you need to go to the light then so be it but know that you were a much loved dog...and I never even met you.

Jane said...

Jeri, thank you so much for your kind words about a dog you never even met. Taz got very bad results from his most recent vet visit, so we will increase the good wishes and hope that his days are comfortable, blessed and filled with his favorite snack food (Pupperoni's)