Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mr Woof Interviews Parker Pup

Parker Pup,
courtesy of his Facebook Page.

Mr "George Negus" Woof recently interviewed Parker Pup.

MR WOOF: Today we're meeting an awesome animal, Parker Pup.  Parker's a model, actor, therapy dog and cancer awareness activist. Parker, you're a very busy dog. I got tired just going through that list of things you do. Let's start with your cancer work. How did you get interested in cancer?

PARKER: My dad was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer the year before I was born. It was a scary time for my family and my girl always wanted to help give back somehow. I jumped on board (I can't imagine life without my dad) and was excited to start therapy work. I get to visit cancer patients in the hospital and give them a little bit of love during a stressful time. I also help raise funds for American Cancer Society and Morris Animal Foundation. My goal is to hopefully see a day where we can learn enough about cancer that we can prevent and also cure it. I'm a golden retriever and 60% of goldens will get diagnosed with cancer. That's a scary statistic, and unfortunately my family has had 2 other goldens that have died because of cancer. I just want to help however I can.

MR WOOF: And what does a typical day of therapy dog work involve?

PARKER: Well, I always have to be bathed the day before. I'm not a big fan of getting baths, but I LOVE getting blow dried!! I get all pampered up the day before my visit. It depends on where I am visiting -- if I'm seeing my friends at Kaiser Radiation Oncology Clinic, I typically visit with patients and family members and friends. Sometimes I don't know who the patients are and sometimes it's pretty obvious. I love the smiles and scratches behind my ear, and people love telling me stories about their dogs back home or the dogs they have loved over the years. When I visit Doernbecher Children's Hospital, I love interacting with the children. Sometimes, but not very often, a child is a little bit afraid of a big dog like me, and I might do a few tricks to try to entertain them and make them feel more comfortable. I sometimes visit the surgery waiting room in Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). There I mostly interact with friends and family members of people who are in surgery and give them a little break. On some evenings I get to visit the Beaverton Library for the Read to the Dogs program. There I mostly just sit and listen to the children who read me stories. I get lots of ear scratchies and hugs from the kids who are excited to sit on the couch with a big dog. I'll tell you a secret -- sometimes I will lay my head in their lap while they read and take a small snooze. Don't tell the kids I'm not always listening as well as I should (I just don't get those Captain Underpants books -- give me Clifford any day)!!

MR WOOF: How do the humans you work with react to you?

PARKER: One of the most common responses is that they love to talk about their dogs. I love to hear stories about them. The most important thing is I help take their mind off their troubles. Sometimes people will tell me, "You just made my day" but to be honest, they always make mine. Sometimes people will say, "Hey, there's ParkerPup!" which is always fun to hear. It's not just patients and family members that give me attention. A lot of times staff members will come over and say hi, and I give them a little break, too.

MR WOOF: You must like humans a lot to want to work with sick ones?

PARKER: I love people! I love everybody!

MR WOOF: Do you have favourites? Some humans you do therapy work with who just make your tail wag when you see them?

PARKER: For the most part I don't see the same patients more than once. Usually, but not always, when I visit patients, they are patients I've not seen before.

MR WOOF: Cancer can be a sad area to work with.  Have you lost humans you cared about? How does a dog cope with that?

PARKER: I have lost doggy friends from cancer. I've also known people who have lost their battle. It makes me sad and I don't fully understand why things happen the way they do, but all I can do is live my life and try to make people smile. I've met people who have had a very poor prognosis, but I don't always know how stories progress after I leave the hospital. I can only hope that I've brightened their day, reduced some stress and hopefully done a little bit of good.

MR WOOF: Your cancer awareness work involves fund raising as well, doesn't it?  You've done a calendar, I think.  What else have you been involved in?

PARKER: My calendar was just for fun since people have been asking me for one for years. As far as fundraisers, I have done several cancer walks benefiting Morris Animal Foundation, American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I wear a vest with names of people and animals who have battled cancer and walk in their honor. I will sometimes send out a plea to help give back because you never know who might be affected tomorrow or the day after. It could be your mom, your grandpa, your child... it could be you or me! I have another fundraiser that I will be announcing soon, too. Something new that I've never done before, but I am excited.

MR WOOF:  I guess this gets us into your other career area, as an actor and model. Being a professional actor sounds like hard work.  Do you have to do lots of training?

PARKER: I have been in training my whole life... ever since I was a tiny puppy. I love to learn. I think it's important for a dog to have a job. Learning is my job. I would get pretty bored if I was just expected to sit around on a pillow all day long. I like to bond with my family and communicate with them. It gives me a sense of purpose.

MR WOOF: Tell me about some of the projects you've been involved in?

PARKER: Well, I've been in Vanity Fair Magazine, on the big screen in Times Square for Purina dog food. I've done many print ads and catalogs like Norm Thompson. Right now I'm on the TempurPedic website and in their catalogs. I shot a music video with my dog sister, Daisy, for a lovely artist in Vancouver B.C. Currently I'm getting ready to do my first live theater show in Cheaper By The Dozen. I'm pretty excited, but it'll be interesting to see how I do with that 4th wall and the audience... and will I be able to get it right in one take?? When I do photoshoots and commercials I'm pretty good at getting things done, but there's no redoing it when you're in front of an audience! :)

MR WOOF: What do you like most about your acting and modelling career?

PARKER: I love getting treats and attention from people on set. I don't know why, but when a doggy is on set someplace people tend to gravitate toward them. I am totally down with that!! Love those ear scratchies!

MR WOOF: Is there a downside?

PARKER: I've had a few BIG bookings that have fallen through last minute. Things happen, shoots get cancelled  It can be hard if you get your hopes up. And sometimes you have to do a lot of work getting ready for a photoshoot. Baths are never totally ideal, but like I said before, the silver lining is always in the blow dry!

MR WOOF: You're a very busy dog.  What do you do to relax?

PARKER: Competing in agility trials! Well, maybe that's not so relaxing, but it is fun. I guess if I am totally relaxed I like to sleep and play with my tennis balls. I also love to play with Daisy. Diego rarely likes to play, but he is starting to get up there.

MR WOOF: Favourite thing to chew?

PARKER: Tennis balls and stuffies.

MR WOOF: Favourite scratchies - tummy or ears?

PARKER: Ears, definitely.

MR WOOF: And lastly, when fans are looking for you on the internet, where can they find you?

PARKER: I'm most active on my facebook: facebook.com/parkerpup. My website is ParkerPup.com, and I have many, many videos on Youtube. Just search 'ParkerPup.'

MR WOOF:  Thanks for being part of mrbumpycat.com today, Parker. You really are a "good dog."

PARKER: Thank you! 

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