SOURCE: Heads & Tails, Inc.

April 16, 2009 08:00 ET

The 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Reveals a Higher Purpose on Animal Planet's "Faithful Friends"

David Frei, Voice of Westminster, Has New Friends From the Walter Reed Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House and Celebrity Foundations Because "Best In Show" Champions Give Unconditional Love as Featured and Supported by Drs. Foster & Smith

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - April 16, 2009) - The 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is featured this week on "Faithful Friends," which airs Saturday morning at 9am on Animal Planet. "Stump" returns from retirement and takes the 2009 Best In Show award, and Uno, the 2008 Westminster winner, leads the way in helping an Iraq veteran as an "Angel On A Leash." The show features David Frei and the Westminster Angel on a Leash program, the Lili Claire Foundation and interviews with celebrities, handlers and fans that work with champions for a higher purpose. And, Drs. Foster & Smith is bringing this "higher purpose" to the forefront through ongoing pet education, donations and network television support.

"There are so many animals that are changing lives daily, and Dr. Race Foster and Dr. Marty Smith desire to showcase their individual stories. Whether they are Rescue Cats, AKC or AQHA Champions, or birds, reptiles or dolphins who have lost a tail and now have a prosthesis; each has their own story and each can give unconditional love," stated Tony Loiacono, creator of "Faithful Friends." He added, "'Faithful Friends' provides the perfect forum to showcase the people and animals that change lives one-on-one but that ask little in return." Westminster Kennel Club's charity organization Angel on A Leash featured 5 "Best in Show" Winners from as far back as 2001 at a fundraiser in New York prior to the show. Surrounded by celebrities, fans and people who contribute dollars to expand therapy programs these winners all desired the same thing: Love. Four of the Five "Best In Show" winners have gone through therapy dog training, and now visit Ronald McDonald Houses, health care facilities, schools, correctional facilities, extended care residences, crisis clinics and hospitals around the country.

This past year Josh Bleill, a double amputee Marine injured in Iraq, was introduced to the Angel On A Leash program when he met Uno, the beagle that captured Westminster's 2008 Best In Show, and David Frei at the Walter Reed Hospital. During the show, "Faithful Friends" Host Wanda Goldberg sits down with Josh Bleill and discusses how dogs are making a huge difference in giving hope to our veterans. Josh states, "Once I retire from the Marines this year, I would like to continue working with Angel On A Leash. It helped me!" (Shortly after that interview took place, Josh was elected to the Angel board.) The research and new technologies with prosthetics help many people like Josh and animals like a dolphin named Winter from the Florida Clearwater Aquarium who now swims with a prosthetic tail. "Our 'Faithful Friends' team has found many different animals being used in therapy, animals that daily change lives with the help of responsible owners and celebrities who support these wonderful endeavors," stated Gordon Magee, spokesperson for Drs. Foster and Smith. He added, "Technology is saving lives, animals are changing lives, foundations are raising funds, celebrities are serving, hospitals are accepting animal support and well people are enjoying being part of a higher purpose."

During the "Faithful Friends" episode this Saturday, viewers will also see Jeff Gordon as the animated character Racer, inspiring kids to further their pet education, Kid Reporter Lauren Derminio with the best of the best Westminster Jr. Handlers, Winter the dolphin with a prosthetic tail from the Florida's Clearwater Aquarium, AKC's President Dennis Sprung ringside, and the 2009 "Best In Show" handler Scott Sommer and Judge Sari Brewster Tietjen commenting about Stump's win, historic in two ways: it was first ever for a Sussex Spaniel, and at 10 years of age, he became the oldest dog ever to win BIS at Westminster. Features also include how the Champions get ready for the show and bonding with your faithful friend.

You can support the Angel On A Leash program by purchasing Bio-Spot at FosterandSmith.com. Since the program began in March, Drs. Foster and Smith and its customers have already donated over $14,000. "We appreciate the support by Drs. Foster and Smith, and look forward to building awareness of this fantastic program that brings attention to how these Champions give back after winning in the ring at shows like the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show," stated David Frei. "There is a higher purpose and each of us can do our part in making a difference in our world. For me to have an opportunity with the world's best is just the start."

About Doctors Foster and Smith:

Doctors Foster and Smith, a privately owned company, is the #1 catalog and online seller of pet supplies and pharmaceuticals in the industry. Doctors Foster and Smith is known for empowering pet owners by providing extensive veterinarian-supported advice, proprietary information and quality pet products, serving millions of pet owners from coast to coast via their extensive website and publications, and the television series "Faithful Friends presented by Drs. Foster and Smith Pet Supplies" on Animal Planet as produced by Heads & Tails, Inc. Dr. Race Foster and Dr. Marty Smith have become the nation's foremost authorities on pet wellness, pet care and pet-owner education, earning an unmatched reputation for the scope of their veterinary expertise on dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, pond life, small animals and equine. For more information, visit http://www.fosterandsmith.com, http://www.faithfulfriends.tv, http://www.headsandtails.tv/angel, http://www.faithfulfriends.tv/uno-david-frei, http://www.peteducation.com, http://www.animalcenter.org

About Angel On A Leash

Angel On A Leash champions working with therapy dogs in health care facilities, schools, rehabilitation, hospice, extended care, correctional facilities, and crisis intervention. Through advocacy, education, research and service, Angel On A Leash promotes the role of the human-animal bond in enhancing human health and quality of life. For more information, log on to www.angelonaleash.org

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