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American Kennel Club, Twentieth Century Fox and John Grogan Promote Responsible Dog Ownership With Marley & Me PSA Campaign

(Wednesday, November 12, 2008)

New York, NY – The American Kennel Club®, in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and John Grogan, announced today the launch of a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign tied to the upcoming film Marley & Me. The campaign can be viewed at www.akc.org/marley and features 60-, 30- and 15-second television spots and a print PSA designed to remind all dog lovers of the commitment it takes to own a dog.

Responsible dog ownership is something Grogan, the author of the best-selling book on which the film is based, knows better than anyone. Marley & Me recounts his life with his rambunctious Labrador Retriever, who quickly grew from an adorable puppy to a 97-pound steamroller. In the PSA Grogan states:

"Puppies…they're so cute. Until they're not. Then they become 100 pounds of thundering, hairy, yelping, jumping, drooling, go-exactly-where-you-don't-want-them-to-go… commitment. In a word: Marley.

I'm John Grogan. I was Marley's very patient and loving owner for over 13 years. I know there is nothing like the joys and rewards of pet ownership but… someone's got to be the responsible one… most likely you. "

The PSAs, part of the AKC's longstanding public education campaign, remind potential dog owners that dogs are a big responsibility and that the decision to buy a puppy should not be taken lightly.

"Unlike other films and aspects of popular culture that idealize dogs, we think Marley & Me depicts a more balanced view of dog ownership and we want to underscore that further through this campaign," said Daisy Okas, AKC's Assistant Vice President of Communications. "Dogs bring us love, affection, comfort, security and unrivaled devotion despite our flaws, but there is a lot that is required of us in return for the wonderful privilege of having a dog. We applaud Fox and John Grogan for providing the public with an entertaining story that drives this message home to all animal lovers."

"This heartwarming story about the trials, tribulations and lifelong commitment of owning a dog lends itself perfectly to a public service announcement campaign," said Rita Drucker, Senior Vice President, Feature Films, Twentieth Century Fox. "We are pleased to be working with the AKC, an organization synonymous with the care and well-being of dogs for the past 125 years, in delivering the practical message Marley & Me sends to all dog lovers."

Created pro-bono by Doner, the new PSAs direct viewers to www.akc.org to research the right breed for them and learn about dog ownership. The television campaign has been distributed by On The Scene Productions to hundreds of stations nationwide and the print PSAs are available for download at: www.akc.org/marley

In addition to the PSAs, a co-branded AKC/Marley & Me licensed line of plush pet toys is currently being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores. The AKC and Twentieth Century Fox have collaborated previously on films (such as 2007's Firehouse Dog) in order to promote responsible dog ownership messages.

To read more about the filming of the PSA, read John Grogan’s blog entry.

Photos by Chet Jezierski © AKC

Being on a set is nothing new for Woodson. He was one of the puppies used in the filming of Marley & Me and is now one of two yellow Labs owned by the Grogan Family
John and Woodson on the set of the PSA
The PSA set
John Grogan and his new yellow Labrador Retriever Woodson get ready to film the PSA
John and Woodson take a break from filming
John and Woodson take a break from filming
John Grogan and Woodson
A canine star of the film enjoys his AKC/Marley & Me branded mallard toy
Puppies who played Marley and his littermates in the film chew on each other... and their AKC/Marley & Me branded rabbit toy