Have you seen Humane Watch’s latest anti-HSUS commercial?
The Clumber Spaniel in the video, “Gus,” helps convey the message that instead of giving the bulk of the money it takes in to help homeless pets, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) instead spends it on huge salaries, its pension plan, and lobbying for legislation unfriendly to dogs and their owners. Always donate to your local shelter to help pets in your community. Read Humane Watch’s 2017 50-State Report on HSUS’ lack of support for America’s Shelters here.
That said, let’s meet the Clumber Spaniel in the ad!
His name is Jazzin’s First of Five Augustus CGC, or “Gus” to his pals. Gus is a show dog with 10 points towards his conformation championship and a Canine Good Citizenship title, but he’s also a performance dog with two legs of a Rally Novice title. He’s also working on getting a tracking title and a Junior Hunt title. Clearly, he and his owner/handler, Betsy Harringer, are busy!
Because of commercial and film work done before with Betsy’s Golden Retrievers, the pair have an animal actor agent who liked Gus’ looks, and thought he would do a good job portraying a homeless dog. Betsy fills in the rest of the story:
“The ad was shot in a park in Washington DC, and we had to get there at 6 am. Filming lasted about 6 hours. We were told ahead of time the behaviors [Gus] would need to be able to do: Carry a food bowl, watch people putting money in his bowl, and watch someone take the bowl away. They [the directors] also asked if we would mind making Gus dirty, perhaps using make up. We laughed because Gus can get very dirty on his own.
“The crew brought along potting soil instead of make up. Because it was a light and airy soil, it wouldn’t stay on him. I had to reapply it every 15 minutes – really hilarious if you knew how dirty he can get (I guess that’s why his coat stays white, the dirt just comes off).
“My husband teaches our dogs to bring their empty food bowls to us, so we knew we could do this gig. And Gus did great. I was a bit worried about how he would work off leash in a new, busy surrounding, but he did great. He can be very focused and determined when he has a job to do. The shot of Gus walking with the bowl in his mouth was particularly challenging. We had to figure out how to do it without him running to us. The crew also needed to determine the angle they wanted, so they walked backwards with the camera, alongside with the camera, and tried standing. It was everything we could do to keep Gus from running to us. We were all running backwards trying to keep him in the shot without causing him to run. Passers-by got a kick from our antics.
“Gus is quite a fast dog even though he looks like a tank. He worked very hard for quite a long time, but there were two instances where he had difficulty focusing: One was when a woman was walking her miniature Poodle around the fountain, Gus really couldn’t let go of that. It was best that we just took a break until that dog was out of the area. Another time where we decided to take a break was when a flock of pigeons landed on the park. Being a bird-dog, Gus couldn’t resist and really wanted to flush and retrieve them. It was very funny watching the production crew chasing off and shooing away these pigeons from a public park. Other than that, Gus was a dutiful and stalwart worker. The crew loved his work ethic.
“Gus loves to put his all out effort in whatever he is doing: wether in the show ring, obedience class, hunt field, or even the video production studio!”
We couldn’t agree more.
We didn’t think there could be a better anti-HSUS commercial than the one below, but we think Gus pulled it off!
Our thanks to Betsy Harringer for taking the time to chat with us about Gus, and providing his photo!