Breeds Cool and Fun Stuff Get informed and educated Interviews on Pet Care Pet Care Uncategorized

UK-based DogCast Radio – Interview with Julie Hill

While maintaining our PackPeople’s Twitter account 1 month ago I found Julie Hill’s profile and thought that this could be a very interesting addition to our interview series.  Julie is the founder of DogCast Radio, a twice monthly radio show all about dogs which first aired in 2005. On her website you can hear the show for free, download it for listening at home or on your MP3 player, or subscribe to it as a Podcast.

This entertaining and informative show for dog lovers covers important and interesting topics such as dog training, dog news, dog adoption, health…. the list is endless, and it’s truly fun to listen and learn!

Julie’s enthusiasm about what she does is engaging, and we’re grateful she joined us from her home base in England. We’re honored to share the interview with our PackPeople audience of animal advocates and responsible pet owners.

DogCast Radio show with Julie Hill by PackPeople
DogCast Radio


Twitter: @DogCastRadio

Facebook: DogCast Radio

Julie recommended following books, videos and pet related links:

Books: Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog  by Ted Kerasote

Links: Hound TV

PetPlanet – a great resource to research breeds to adopt –

Facebook and Twitter – social media is valuable for networking with other dog lovers and dog owners

Video: Eight Below  directed by Frank Marshall – Eight brave sled dogs search for their master, who is trying to rescue them in this adventure-drama.

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

iTunes News: Get PackPeople’s interviews as a Podcast!

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Cool and Fun Stuff Interviews on Uncategorized

Celebrating our 50th Interview!

50 Interviews – Thank you to all participants for making it possible – We love what we’re doing and we’re happy to announce our 50th interview today. Since May 2011 we’ve had the pleasure interviewing  America’s hardest working pet rescues, animal welfare organizations, pet-related businesses and a lot other fun people.

Love, WOOF and MIAU.

Yurda, Rufino, Lilly, Ringo and Red.

Cool and Fun Stuff Fun Stuff and Pet Companies Interviews on Lilly Recommends

Heard About "The Mona Vizsla"? – Interview with Ashley Reid, an Amazing Pet Portrait Artist

"The Mona Vizsla" 18x24" Oil on canvas 2004

Yes, we love our pets. In my household I have  more pictures of my dogs than my family (oooops!) and I’m always looking for new, interesting and unique ways to show off my dogs’ beauty:). That’s how I found Ashley Beech Reid’s website – I was surfing for an exceptional pet portrait artist – and I found her.

I thoroughly enjoyed the picture gallery on Ashley’s website, admiring all the stunning portraits of people’s beloved dogs and cats she has been painting on canvas, and recognized at once her immense talent. She shows tremendous skill in picking a special angle, look, characteristic of your pet, making every single piece unique and special.

We are honored to interview this young artist, Ashley Beech Reid, a passionate dog lover who donates 10% of her sales to the work of rescue groups. She shared with us her secrets to success – and how an ordinary dog picture becomes a masterpiece on canvas.

Ashley’s new book, “Ashley Beech Reid’s Pet Portraits ~ the 16×16″ series” is hot off the presses at Blurb. You can take a sneak peek at 19 of my favorite paintings and place your order if you’re a fan, a friend, or an animal lover.

How did the idea for your business with pet portraits come about?

When I turned twenty nine I got my first dog. He is a Vizsla named Sayge. I painted him many times over, but it wasn’t

until I captured him in “The Mona Vizsla”, (a copy of Da Vinci’s portrait of The Mona Lisa), that the idea to paint other

people’s pet portraits was born.

What is your background as an artist?

I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little girl. I remember discovering in second grade that my art project was

better than most of my  classmates and that I had a talent for it. Throughout high school I focused my studies on art and

later went  to Edinboro University of PA, graduating with an BSA in Art Education. When I couldn’t get a teaching job I

returned to Edinboro three years later and received a Master’s Degree in Art with a concentration in painting.

What do you love most about painting dogs/pets?

I love watching a portrait come to life…I post progression pics of each painting from photo to sketch to finished

piece on my facebook portrait page. Making the 10% donations has also become one of my favorite parts of the process.

"Dream of the Bull Terrier" 36x48" oil on canvas 2004

I checked your picture gallery on and I love your work. You are an amazing artist. If I want you to paint a picture of my dog, what do I have to do first?

If someone is interested in a portrait they can contact me through my website or via email to I will reply with all of the info on the portraits from canvas sizes, to prices, to process (I

work from my client’s photos, completing a painting in 2-3 days), and the wait time (currently 6 months). I will put an

interested client into my queue and they send the photo(s) they like, decide on the type of background (color or scene),

and think about where they’d like to donate the 10%.

You use the picture of a dog as a draft/pattern. Do you have any tips for readers about taking great photos of their dogs?

Photo tips…take close up photos! If the pet is so far from the camera that it’s difficult to see details of the face,

then it is harder for me to capture their likeness. Photos taken in natural light, rather than with a flash or in bright

sunlight, will show the true color of the pet. If you have trouble getting your pet to be still I suggest putting them in

a sit down stay. Set your digital camera to take multiple pics in a minute, hold a treat up near the camera to get your

dog’s attention, and start snapping. In most cases there will be one perfect photo amongst the 50 or 60 that were taken.

In some cases where the pet has passed and the client only has old photos, that perhaps aren’t of great quality, then I do

the best that I can with what’s available.

"Four Squared" 4 ~ 16x16" acrylic on canvas "Bert" , "Olympia", "Roscoe" and "Jake" 2011 All of these portraits are rescue dogs.

You paint in acrylics on 6 different canvas sizes. Tell us a little about you work and the process of a new portrait.

(Actually I have 7 different canvas sizes that I offer. I recently added a new size of 24×24).  I start a painting with

a base coat color on the canvas. Next I start a preliminary sketch that I work up to a nicely finished drawing. After that

I usually start with the background first, then add the dark tones, the white, and the colors, until the first coat of

paint is on the entire canvas is complete. This usually takes one day. The second day I add the second coat of paint with

final details. I also finish all four sides of the canvas so that the painting seems to continue over the sides, giving it

a more finished look that does not require framing. Finally, I put on a coat of protective varnish to finish.

Could you give us a quick overview about your pricing? Are you affordable to everyone:)?

I believe art should be affordable and available to all.

I offer 7 canvas sizes ranging from the smallest 16×16 for $185, to the largest 36×48  for $850.

I also ask for additional $ if more than one pet is in the painting (generally $25 per pet).

16×16   $185 (this size is a nice, modern square for individual head shots.)

16×20     275 (good size for head and shoulders or two head shots.)

18×24     350 (recommended for three dogs)

24×24     425 (good for one big head shot or four dogs)

24×30     500

30×40     650

36×48     850

On your Facebook page people can follow your progress on a new picture, you publish pictures of the single steps. How long does it take to finish a portrait of a single dog?

Generally a painting takes two days. I sketch one evening. The next day I finish the first coat on the entire canvas.

The following day I finish up the second coat with final details.  If it’s multiple pets then it will take a couple of more


How would you say is your style or what is different to other animal/pet/dog painters/artists?

I have a rather unique, stylized style, not photorealistic (like a photograph). I use a lot of solid color backgrounds

which give the portraits a contemporary feel while focusing on the pet’s unique facial features. I like the viewer to be

drawn to the subject’s eyes which are truly windows into the soul.

What has been your #1 favorite picture so far?

"10 Pits" 36x48" acrylic on canvas 2011 These beauties were composed from ten separate photos on the largest canvas I offer.

I don’t have one favorite portrait, more like a top 5. (I’ll attach some of these in a separate email for you).

How many dogs did you already paint on canvas?

I have 264 pics of dog and cat portraits on my website.

Where do you find the inspiration to keep your paintings unique? How do you decide on the colors you use?

I keep the portraits unique with the input of my clients. I ask them what style of background they would like…color

or scene. I like them to be a part of the process. Each pet is so unique I think the subject matter makes it easy to stay


You are a full time freelance artist, painting subjects you love. What is the secret of your success and do you have any ideas, tips or advice for the next talented artist who might want to start a business like yours?

#1. Don’t give up. It’s taken me over 15 yrs. to finally find my niche and develop my own style.

#2. Give some back. I think the fact that I donate 10% to the animal organization of my client’s choice has a lot

to do with my success.

#3 Be affordable and you’ll get more commissions. I just booked my 265th commission since 1/1/10 and have a 6

month wait time.

You are a animal rescue supporter and you are willing to donate 10% of your painting sale to organization chosen by the buyer. And you are about to make your 62nd donation to a rescue. How much did you already donate?

Actually I am about to make my 179th donation (the number of donations in my facebook info is old). I’ve donated

$4,823 since 1/1/10.

In general, why should people adopt from a rescue?

I never knew about the vast world of rescues and shelters until I joined facebook and saw the incredible efforts being

made to save these amazing animals. If you adopt a cat or dog from a shelter or rescue, not only are you saving that

animal’s life, but you are making room (for the org.) to save another. What could be better than that?

Do you have pets of your own?

I do have a 10 yr. Vizsla, Sayge.

"Rosie, Bruno, Petunia, Starbuck, and Oliver" 24x30" acrylic on canvas 2011

Which websites or pet-related books would you recommend to PackPeople?

Hmmm, well first I would recommend my own site! haha…

Second, if you are interested in a pet, I recommend Googling a breed’s specific rescue (they are out there and they are willing to transport if not in your area) or your local shelter’s website…and you might just find your four legged soul mate.

You want your beloved pet’s picture on canvas? Please contact Ashley: or use the Contact form on her website. See full picture gallery here.


Twitter: @TheMonaVizsla

Facebook: Ashley Beech Reid’s Pet Portraits

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

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Cool and Fun Stuff Pet Care

When dogs turn into artists – A fun event in N.Y.

Dog Art Night – A fun Event with creative dogs

Our friend Jenna Dreher from Pet It Forward (, a website that helps pet owners save money by booking and paying for pet care online, hosted Dog Art Night at Animal Haven in SoHo on Saturday, Oct 8th. Learn more about please watch Jenna’s video interview.

The sold out event was a huge success, giving pets and their people the opportunity to unleash their inner artist by creating individual “Abstract Paw Paintings,” “Make Your Own Dog Tag Art,” and all the pups at the event had a chance to add their helping paw to paint a large scale canvas “Paw Painting” that is now for sale on to raise money for Animal Haven Shelter.  The event was attended by some local dog celebrities including Doggie Moms of NYC star Erika with her dogs Cubby and Ginger.

Rescue Chocolate founder, Sarah Gross, set-up a human’s only chocolate store for the event to raise money for Animal Haven.  We recently interviewed Sarah, learn more about her business idea here and listen to her audio interview. And New York City pet photographer Marshall Boprey took tons of great photos during the event.

We want to thank Jenna for reaching out. The pictures are too cute.

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Adoption Breeds Contests Cool and Fun Stuff Get informed and educated Interviews on Pet Care Pet Care Product Reviews Shelter Animals

Interview with Dogster's Top Dog Ted Rheingold – Helping Dogs and Cats Get Adopted Every Day

Massively popular Dogster ( is a platform for dog lovers, an online community with over one million subscribers, 800,000 pet profiles and two million unique visitors every month. Dogster Inc., the creator of award-winning Dogster as well as its feline counterpart Catster (, offers knowledgeable and trustworthy resources, expert points of view and a vast wealth of opinions, advice and wisdom from a huge community of dog and cat owners.

We had a great time interviewing the Founder, CEO and Top Dog at Dogster, Ted Rheingold – a passionate animal lover who wanted to create a platform in 2004 for dog lovers to share pictures of their dogs and communicate with other like-minded people. He shared with us his insights of one of the biggest dog- and cat-related online platforms in existence.

Interviewer: Rufino Cabang (PackPeople) / Interviewee: Ted Rheingold  –

Dog lovershttp://www.dogster.comCat Lovers

Twitter: @dogster  –  @catster

Facebook: Dogster   –   Catster

Fun and interesting websites Ted mentioned are:

The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund  –

Teddy the Dog –

Dog is Good –

Note: Ted will speak at the BarkWorld Expo in Atlanta end of this month. Visit BarkWorld Expo – a Social Media Event.

If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you.

iTunes: Get PackPeople’s interviews as a Podcast! Free Download – Listen and enjoy when ever you want!

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Cool and Fun Stuff Interviews on Pet Care Pet Care

Fido, Fasten your Seat Belt! An Airline just for Animals – Pet Airways Services in America

A business idea was born when Dan Weisel and Alysa Binder, Founders of Pet Airways, wanted to travel with their Jack Russell Terrier, Zoe. After searching for a safe and comfortable way to take Zoe with them, they founded Pet Airways, the first pet-only airline  in 2009.

The best travel solution for our pets, Pet Airways transports all animals only in the climate-controlled cabin with an in-flight attendant who takes care of the “pawsengers” and checks on them every 15 minutes. Pet Airways supports safety, care and comfort for all pet travelers and their significant growth in revenue (an increase of 105% in the second quarter of 2010) shows us that we and our pets love this new and innovative service. Dogs, cats and even pigs can fly….with Pet Airways.

Now it’s boarding time…fasten your seat belt and check out the great audio interview with Aly Tognotti, Director of Customer Care for Pet Airways.

Pet Airways by PackPeople
Pet Airways 


You Tube: Pet Airways

Facebook: Pet Airways

Twitter: @PetAiways

Aly Tognotti, Director of Customer Care at Pet Airways recommends:

Best Friends Animal Society –

Petfinder –

VPI Pet Insurance –

If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you.

iTunes News: Get PackPeople’s interviews as a Podcast!

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Contests Cool and Fun Stuff Interviews on

Photo Contest – Pets'n Pairs – Upload your dog's picture and win and have partnered for this really exciting contest! Three pet-loving winners will each win a $100 gift card to and a $100 donation to Are you ready to have some fun on Facebook and increase awareness about pet adoption?

Here’s what to do:

Simply upload a photo of your pet with your favorite pair of shoes or the box from Sept 1 @ 12pm CT – Sept 22 @ 12pm CT.

Five finalists will be announced on Sept 23, 2011 and the winners will be chosen by YOU! The voting period will be Sept 23– Oct 2 and the three photos with the most votes will be the grand prize winners.

So visit and show off your pet!

Interview with Allison:
SHOES.COM Contest Interview by PackPeople
The contest is fun and I like the idea that partnered with That’s what I did with Lilly and Red. I haven’t had much time, so I just took something really quick out my closet and forced the dogs to be cooperative. I had mercy with my old Grandpa Samson,  he is just to old for games like that. I like RED’s blue rubber boots:)

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Cool and Fun Stuff Lilly Recommends Pet Care Product Reviews

My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story – a film worth watching and sharing

Last May 16th, which marked my 45th birthday as well as Ringo’s 3rd (Why not? I asked myself), my sister gave me a DVD titled My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story. I am so glad she did.

Have you all heard about this? The film was made a couple of years ago, and I’m typically late coming to any party, but now that I’ve finally watched it (earlier this morning), I have to recommend it to anyone who cares about dogs, animals in general; basically, anyone who cares about anything. My Dog (lovingly directed by award-winning playwright, author and film/TV writer Mark St. Germain) is more than a documentary, it’s a thoughtful, meaningful collection of interviews with celebrities and noted professionals from all walks of life who share about their relationships and experiences with their dogs.

For months, my sister has been asking, “Have you watched it yet?” and I can’t believe it took me this long. The journey on which these grateful humans and their loving pets take the viewer is worth taking over and over again, while helping save lives: twenty percent of each dollar earned by My Dog is donated to animal welfare charities designated by the film’s participants.

My Dog has too many highlights to list, but there are moments as varied and inspiring as the late, wonderful Lynn Redgrave’s introduction to puppy Viola, forging a bond that helped her cope with cancer; the hope and healing felt by Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis as he works with dog agility training and cares for his beloved Nipper; a poem read by Billy Collins in which a master’s dog shares thoughts on aging, from the dog’s very specific point of view. Yeah, that one kind of did me in.

I love this film and think it would make a great gift for yourself or anyone else. Just so you know, PackPeople isn’t getting anything from promoting this film, other than the satisfaction of sharing something well worth seeing. I’m enthusiastic because it really affected me. I hope others out there get to experience it, and will feel the same way. Here’s a link to NEWVIDEO, where you can find out more about, and purchase, My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story.