Thursday, June 14, 2012

Card slinging Jilli Dog and her owner Rick Caran!


When my mom is at work, I like to turn on the TV and watch Animal Planet, National Geographic and Discovery Channel.
I like to watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet

I sometimes see Yorkies featured on The Dog Whisper and other dog training shows.  But I had no idea that I would see my first famous Yorkie on TV.  On July 31, 2009, my mom and I sat down to watch Live with Regis and Kelly.  My mom told me the show was featuring an amazing dog.  I could not wait.  I curled up next to my mom and waited for the dog.  Then I saw Jilli Dog and her owner Rick Caran. What a pair!  They play poker together, help raise money for kids and dogs, and supports the Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue. Jilli is known all over the world for her gambling, modeling, and acting skills. Check her out in the video below and see what she does on Friday nights!  She would definitely win all of my milk bones, woof!

Since my first encounter with Jilli on Live with Regis and Kelly, I have sniff out her moves on other television shows such as Animal Planet's Dogs 101 and Disney TV's Johnny and the Sprites.  When she is not working behind the camera, Jilli and Rick attend a variety of events to raise awareness and funds for human and canine causes.  Recently, Jilli and Rick attended the New York AutoFest 454 Grill for Ronald McDonald House.  Jilli and Rick provided the entertainment for this furtastic fundraiser.

I had the extraordinary honor of interviewing Rick and Jilli too!  I admit, I was star struck.  However, I managed to pull it together and ask them some questions.

Chewy: You both have been on television numerous times and are featured in many news broadcasts and articles.  How do you feel about your rise in celebrity status?

Rick and Jilli: It's like a dream! It's a life long hobby, that suddenly went worldwide, when Jilli entered my life, especially around 2003 when I taught her how to play poker and we put a video on Youtube! Now we travel the US, and have done tours in Europe, and soon in Japan! We do trick shows and I give my FUN training tips! My new Yorkie pup, Ruby, 3 yrs old and 3 lbs, is the new star of the show, and that lets Jilli relax, unless she tells us she feels like doing tricks! Ruby does all the tricks (poker, basketball, wagon push, magic etc) as well as some new ones, along with her brother, Spidey Chihuahua, and Coco, pup-in training!

Chewy: Not all Yorkies like to be on camera. Does Jilli like to be on camera, whether it is a photo shoot or on live television? Does she prefer one over the other?

Rick and Jilli: I always say that if you train your dog to do fun things like tricks, and do them around other people as much as often, then they are comfortable in different situations, like photo or movie shoots... But make sure that the rules of rest for the pups are obeyed, so your pup won't burn out. Jilli and Ruby like both print work and taping! They love people, so as long as the people on the shoot are aware that they have to be kind and careful with the doggies, then all will go well...

We have been on Animal Planet, Disney TV, Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, Rachael Ray, Japan TV, Australia TV, and much more. FUN!

This same kind of training has enabled Jilli to be a therapy dog, and she has been the Goodwill Ambassador for Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, for about 7 years now... 

Chewy: Jilli Dog is a great model.  What advice do you have for aspiring Yorkie models?

Rick and Jilli: That is a very good question, because in reality, up until about 6 yrs ago, I never considered Jilli a model, I considered her an actor and trickster! But I was convinced by some friends to enter her in a Beauty Pageant, and I noticed that most contestant pooches were either carried or walked on a leash. So I had fun, I has Jilli sit, wave to the judges, turn and wave to the audience, do a few spins and such, and she did great! Spidey Cihuahua is the current "Mr NYC Chihuahua King:, and I am sure it's because he did the runway moves so well, as well as his talents!  But I will only do as much work and the kind of work that keeps my pups happy! They love to make people smile, and I'd like to keep it that way, and not over do it...

One of my pet peeves is when there is a doggie event with many dogs attending and taking part, and there is loud, blasting music playing... sad for the doggies  :(

Chewy: I am a Yorkie who loves to wear clothing.  Jilli seems to love wearing clothes too.  What is her favorite outfit and where does she like to wear it?

Rick and Jilli: Well, you will see Jilli and the rest of Team Jilli Dog wearing fashion designs at special events, when they ask us to, but in general, they do their shows with no outfits, because they move better without them. Jilli has a really pretty pearl necklace that she was given by a little girl whose birthday we did... I wish I could remember who the girl was, because she has worn those pearls her whole public life, and she looks beautiful in them... We have beautiful bling collars for Ruby and Coco, from our wonderful friend, designer Lucy Medeiros... Of course, they all have nice warm jackets and outfits for colder weather... I have to smile when I think that I now have doggies that sometimes wear any clothing at all, but I think that's because I mostly had medium or big dogs, and that has all changed since I have gotten into the wonderful world of tiny dogs!  :)  I am even a columnist for Yorky Club Magazine, International, published in Italy and Norway, and have recently written a children;s book: "Jilli Dog, The Little Dog Who Made MR Kranby Smile", about pet therapy...

My life has changed so much for the GOOD, all because a little furball walked into it over a dozen years ago... :)

To play poker or eat a treat? This is the question every dog must ask themselves after watching Jilli Dog and Rick Caran in action.  I hope to one day meet Jilli, Rick and the whole pack.  Until then, I will just keep wandering while practicing my gambling skills.

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