Archive for November, 2011

Top 200 Places: St Augustine’s Fountain of Youth

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Fountain of Youth
11 Magnolia Ave.
St Augustine,

Tradition has it that The Fountain of Youth is the exact spot where the Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon landed on April 2, 1513. He met the Timucuan Indians who at the time had an unusally long life span that averaged about 90 years. The Spanish at the time had a much shorter life span average. The water that the Indians drank became known as the “fountain of youth”. Of course, the Indians longer life span could have had something to do with their healthy seafood diet and their active lifestyle. Today this park offers exhibits of early Timucuan Indians and Sixteenth Century Spaniards. At the park you can stroll along the gardens, explore excavations, view exhibits, presentations and a planetarium. In the Spring House, both people and pets can take a sip of the famous “Fountain of Youth” water. A guide will hand out samples of the water in little paper cups. The water has a very strong mineral taste. Well-behaved leashed pets are welcome both outside and inside the buildings.

Top 200 Places, with tens of thousands of places listed to take your dog to, will be releasing on it’s Dog News blog, Facebook page and on Twitter a list of 200 Top Places that you can take your dog in the U.S. and Canada. This list, while intended to highlight top places that are especially pet-friendly, is not designed to be the absolutely top 200 places that we could find, but a sampling of the top places so that all regions, types of attractions, hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals, parks, beaches, shopping and more can be considered. No doubt each of you will find many other places not on this list or our full list of dog-friendly places at Please let us know about them by commenting on the blog or emailing us at You can also let us and our readers know if you agree or disagree with the selections, or your experiences there. Please keep in mind that places often change their policies regarding dogs and thus may have different policies at any time in the future.

The blog entries can be found at, our Facebook page, or Twitter.

Animals as Human Saviors in Animal Planet’s Series “Saved”

Monday, November 14th, 2011

People in Peril Find Salvation Through Deep Bonds With Their Pets

A man contemplating suicide never could have dreamed that a four-pound dachshund would save his life. And, the death of a young American soldier shattered the hopes and dreams of the family and fiancée he left behind, but one stray puppy helped put the pieces of their lives back together.

Beginning Monday, November 14, at 8 PM ET/PT, Animal Planet brings viewers SAVED, a six-part series that uplifts spirits and proves that animals have the power to transform human lives. Each story reveals people eclipsed by their darkest hours who then find light and hope in the purest of forms – animals. Some might call it divine intervention; others might call it a miracle as every animal in SAVED gives his/her human family the greatest gift of all: a second chance at life.
“We all have heard stories where animals are heroes in the physical sense, rescuing people from a fire or a near drowning,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “The stories that haven’t been told are the ones where animals save us in the emotional sense, and that’s where SAVED comes in. Each story shows how pets extraordinarily bond with their owners, breaking through emotional barriers and giving them new meaning and purpose in life.

“I wouldn’t be alive today if it were not for my dachshund, Sammy Davis,” says Patrick Major of Castro Valley, California, who has been battling illnesses all his life. Born with an incurable bone and muscle disease, Patrick is forced to wear leg braces while he walks. To add to his struggle, Patrick was diagnosed with kidney disease, which drove him into a deep depression, nearly destroying his will to live. In an attempt to boost his spirits, Patrick’s girlfriend pleaded
with him to adopt a dog. In the beginning, Patrick wanted nothing to do with Sammy Davis. However, as time passed, he realized that Sammy Davis was more than just a dog…he was his 2-2-2 -moreguardian angel. Sammy Davis did everything in his power to get Patrick up and out of bed, forcing him to take control of his life.

Army Spc. Justin Rollins was killed in Iraq. But on the last day of his life, he was overjoyed when he and his unit found 15 stray puppies outside an Iraqi police station. The unit snapped photos of themselves with the puppies, which Justin planned to send to Brittney, his fiancée. Unfortunately, he was killed in combat before getting the chance. Shortly after, Brittney received the photos from a unit sergeant’s girlfriend and shared them with Justin’s parents. Seeing Justin smiling with the pups and recognizing his genuine happiness, Justin’s parents and Brittney knew they had to find these puppies and bring one home immediately. But even before receiving the puppy that was going to join her family, Rhonda selected the name – Hero – in honor of Justin’s bravery. “I really believe Justin saved Hero’s life, and in turn, Hero saved us,” says Justin’s mother, Rhonda Rollins. “I wanted that puppy from Iraq. I wanted the one my son held. It’s the last thing that gave him a bit of happiness the night he was killed.”

Other SAVED stories include a Yorkshire terrier that saved a traumatized child in the aftermath of 9/11, as well as a Dalmatian that helped a family cope with the loss of firefighter sons who responded to the attack on the Twin Towers. In addition, episodes of SAVED features a young man who escaped the violence of gang life through a deep love of horses and a veteran whose German shepherd helped him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
SAVED is produced by Picture Shack for Animal Planet. George Plamondon, Betsy Schechter and Michael Rosen are executive producers for Picture Shack. For Animal Planet,

SAVED is developed and produced by Vaibhav Bhatt.

Country Music Star Trace Adkins Names Grand Prize Winner of The Waggin Train Tail Waggin Jingle Contest

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Life with our four-legged friends is so much fun that it inspired dog owners across the country to write a jingle about it. Today, Country Music star Trace Adkins selected Dewey Longuski of Mason, MI as the Grand Prize winner of the Waggin’ Train® Tail Waggin’ Jingle Contest, which asked dog owners to create an original jingle with lyrics describing how they enjoy a “tail waggin’ good time” with their best buddies. As the Grand Prize winner of the national contest, Dewey won the opportunity of a lifetime to perform his jingle in a recording session produced by the country star.

Dewey took home top honors following a live performance of his jingle in front of Adkins, who judged the five contest finalists at a private event held yesterday at the Hard Rock Café in Nashville, Tenn. In addition to the recording session, Dewey received an autographed CD of his jingle which may be featured on the Waggin’ Train brand’s Web site and Facebook page.

“I was really impressed by all of the finalists’ performances and the quality of the jingles they wrote to celebrate the good times they share with their dogs,” said Adkins. “While it was a tough decision, Dewey’s jingle rose to the top because of its catchy lyrics and memorable melody that left me wanting to hear more.”

The judging criteria Adkins used to select the Grand Prize winner included: jingle describes the good times enjoyed by the entrant and his/her dog (50%); musical performance reinforces the Waggin’ Train brand’s wholesome, fun personality (25%); and overall creativity/originality (25%). In addition to the trip to Nashville to perform in front of Adkins, the five finalists each received tickets to attend “The 45th Annual CMA Awards” that air live on ABC on November 9 at 8 p.m. EST.

The Waggin’ Train Tail Waggin’ Jingle Contest invited dog owners across the country to create an original jingle with lyrics that describe how they enjoy a “tail waggin’ good time” with their four-legged friend and then upload a 60 second video that showed them performing the jingle with their dog. Twenty semi-finalists were selected by an outside judging panel and posted on During the voting period, five finalists were selected by the consumer vote (20% of the final score) and by Adkins who judged the semi-finalists’ entries (80% of the final score) using the same criteria for the finalist round. The 20 semi-finalists each received a one year supply of Waggin’ Train brand dog snacks.

For more information about the contest and to hear the Grand Prize winner’s jingle, visit