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New dog museum unleashed in New York City

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Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press


Published Friday, January 11, 2019 3:33PM EST

NEW YORK — It’s a museum that invites visitors to come! Sit! And stay.

The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog opens Feb. 8 in midtown Manhattan, returning to New York after three decades on the outskirts of St. Louis.

The collection boasts portraits of royal and presidential pets, artifacts that trace canine history as far back as an estimated 30 million-year-old fossil, and devices that “match” visitors’ faces with dog breeds and let people try their hand at basic dog training with a virtual puppy.

While there won’t be actual dogs except for special occasions, the museum hopes to give visitors “an understanding of the history of dogs, how they came to be in such different variety,” said Executive Director Alan Fausel, a longtime art curator and appraiser seen on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow.”

About 150 pieces from the kennel club’s extensive, mostly donated collection are on view at the museum, which also has a library area for perusing some of the club’s 15,000 books.

Fanciers will find images and information on canines from bulldogs to borzois to Bedlington terriers. There are some just-don’t-knows, but the collection is focused on purebreds.

The kennel club, which runs the nation’s oldest purebred dog registry, has taken heat over the years from animal-welfare activists who view dog breeding as a beauty contest that fuels puppy mills. The club argues there’s value in breeding to hone various traits, from companionability to bomb-sniffing acumen, and hopes the museum helps make the case.

“I think the best thing to take away is the fact that dogs were meant to have different jobs,” Fausel said. “It’s learning why they were purposely bred for certain jobs, and their activities and their attributes.”

The exhibition ranges from the scientific — such as a skeleton of a 19th-century smooth fox terrier that was important to shaping the breed — to the whimsical, including one of photographer William Wegman’s images of Weimaraners in humanlike situations (in this case, canoeing). There’s also a tiny, elaborate, Edwardian-style dog house for a Chihuahua, and a wall of movie posters celebrating canine stars from “Lassie” to “Beethoven.”

Other pieces speak to dogs’ stature in real life. A painting of a fox terrier mournfully resting its head on an empty armchair depicts Caesar, a pet so cherished by Britain’s King Edward VII that the dog marched prominently in the monarch’s 1910 funeral procession.

The collection also features paintings of White House dogs: U.S. President George W. Bush’s Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, and one of President George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniels, Millie.

“Dogs have enriched our civilization, and woven themselves into our hearts and families through the ages, and I am delighted to see them acknowledged” in the museum, then-first lady Barbara Bush wrote in a 1990 letter.

The museum opened in the kennel club’s New York headquarters in 1982. Seeking more space and hoping to attract more than its roughly 15,000 annual visitors, the museum moved in 1987 to a historic house owned by St. Louis County.

Another planned move, to a new development in a nearby city, didn’t materialize. Neither did the hoped-for attendance boost: The museum counted under 10,000 visitors last year, Fausel said.

St. Louis County officials didn’t return a call Thursday, but Parks Director Gary Bess told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week the museum’s former home will be rented out for events and exhibits.

It offered something unmatched in the new locale in a high-end Manhattan office tower: Visitors can no longer bring their own pet pooches. And admission rates are higher: $15 for most adults in New York, compared to $6 in St. Louis County.

But the kennel club hopes the new museum — in a glassy street-level space at 101 Park Ave., a block from Grand Central Terminal — will boost attendance to 80,000 to 100,000 people this year.



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Florists to duke it out in Philly at Interflora World Cup

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PHILADELPHIA — This year’s theme at the Philadelphia Flower Show might be “Flower Power” but not all events at the annual floral festival will be about peace and harmony.

The show will also play host to the Interflora World Cup, where designers from 23 countries will fight it out over several rounds in a “Chopped”-style competition.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the designers will have to tackle surprise challenges and create over-the-top floral arrangements, everything from creating a hand-tied bouquet or setting a table for two.

California-based florist Katharina Stuart will represent the U.S. in the competition, which has been held every four to six years since 1972. This will be its first time back in the U.S. since 1985.

Preliminary rounds will take place on March 1-2, and five finalists will continue on to March 3.

Any show attendees can watch the florists duke it out.



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Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

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OTTAWA — You might think the last thing you’d stumble onto on a rural road in central Kentucky is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Chances are many of the people who pass by the intersection where Mammoth Cave Road meets Old Mammoth Cave Road don’t even notice that they did.

But there, on the right side of the road, about two hours south of Louisville at the edge of a national park, is a giant billboard advertising the Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak operation, one mile ahead on the left. And the photo on the billboard, of a smiling family of four in a canoe, is clearly the Canadian prime minister, his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their two oldest children, Xavier and Ella-Grace.

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie and Ella-Grace are waving.

A call to Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak went unreturned Wednesday, but a man who owns a cabin rental operation across the street from the billboard confirmed its existence. He said he hadn’t looked at it that closely before and was surprised to learn it featured Trudeau.

The billboard photo wasn’t there in June 2015, when Google captured an image of the spot for its Google Street View page. But it has been there since at least 2016, when an observant Facebook user spotted the sign and posted about it in French.

Another person mentioned the billboard on Twitter last June.

But the story seemed to take on more legs Wednesday after a Reddit user posted a photo of the billboard captioned, “Did you ever hear about our Trudeau billboard down here in Kentucky. We haven’t quite learned not to steal pictures from the Internet yet.”

It prompted Trudeau to tweet a response. “For the record: This was taken in Yukon in 2013. A spectacular part of this country to explore.”

Trudeau originally tweeted the photo himself in August 2013 when he announced he and his wife were expecting their third child.

“Thrilled to let you know we’re going to need another seat in our canoe: Sophie is pregnant! #threeisthenewtwo,” he posted, more than two years before he would become prime minister.

When it comes to advertisers nabbing internet photos of unwitting politicians, Trudeau was portrayed in a somewhat more flattering light than Conservative MP Michael Chong.

In 2017, a Canadian woman noticed a photo of Chong was being used in a poster campaign in Guatemala advertising sanitary bathrooms.



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When It’s the Right Time to Let Go

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Ah the power of a wonderful New Year! Across all walks of life individuals like you and I have already contemplated, and perhaps already acted on, new resolutions such as: resetting our approach to career, health, friendships, dreaming, planning, parenting, family vacations, renovations and a whole variety of other worthy life activities we value.

In the plethora of choices one can explore and commit to, have you ever considered the life changing decision and commitment of the powerful act of choosing to let go. Letting go? Letting go of what? Letting go of a grudge, an embarrassing chapter in your life, letting go of grief, letting go of a financial loss, letting go of a toxic relationship, letting go of a betrayal, letting go of a terrible mistake of the past, letting go of the habit of a TO DO LIST that is too long, unrealistic and guilt inducing, or letting go of what could have been ‘if only’.

Drop the Heavy Baggage

Any of the examples mentioned, and many similar others that might have already popped in your head, can contribute to heavy baggage that just holds you back. It can have this unconscious ball and chain feeling that is so part of your life you don’t even recognize its presence. Nevertheless, when facing a tough day or week, low and behold it is right there like an old blanket wrapping us up in a cocoon of self-pity and harsh self-criticism.

This year might just be the year to identify that old blanket, define the impact it has on you, how and when it comes knocking and decide: this is the year you send it packing with it’s baggage. Time to give it an eviction notice and announce it is no longer welcomed at this address.

Start small. Pay attention to the typical instances when it comes knocking. It has a pattern! Do not dismiss it or try to ignore it. Look at it straight on, define it, spell it out for what it is and the impact it keeps having on you.

related: 10 Signs Your Self-Esteem Is Under Attack (And How to Give It a Boost!)

Write It Out

I recommend you take the time to sit and write it out. Write the specifics of the event or the difficult season, your emotions, your pain, shame, guilt, embarrassment – whatever flows out of the accumulated little volcano – spill it out on paper. The white pages become a therapeutic tool that welcomes your story with no judgement. Then acknowledge your part, acknowledge the parts others played and then resolve to forgive yourself and anyone else that was involved. This could turn out to be a process of a few hours over a period of a few days. Take the time you need without over analysing or dragging it on too long.

Once you feel it has all been said, then the last remaining step is forgiveness. This part is significantly important. End this written therapeutic exercise by concluding: I choose to let go! I choose to forgive myself and forgive those who where part of this season in my life, then sign and date your written statement. This is now a legal contract with yourself that states: today on day and month, 2019 I choose to LET GO!

related: How To Effectively Practice Self-Love

Now find a significant way of destroying this written statement. Make it memorable! This act of destroying your statement will not only be a physical representation of letting go, but will also serve as a cathartic tool and reminder now preserved in your brain.  A tool, which you will use every time the unhealthy pattern lurks its ugly head. When that happens, you will have the reminder, a contract with yourself where you can state and speak to that pattern: On such a day in 2019, I chose to LET GO and I did!

Now ENOUGH, it’s no longer allowed at this address.

This cognitive behavior tool is similar to a traffic RED LIGHT. You don’t negotiate with a red light, you step on the brakes, at least I hope you do! With numerous repetitions, swinging at this pattern with your visual of when you destroyed the written statement, you will have the final say and succeed in LETTING GO!

Nicole Lafrance

Nicole Lafrance

I am a solution-focused person who believes in drawing from your strengths to help you move forward to attain a more fun and fulfilled life. I believe everyone has strengths and hidden treasures that can be brought to the light with the aim to design a better tomorrow.With over 20 years of experience, I offer confidential Professional Counselling and Life Skills Coaching.

Nicole Lafrance

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