Growing up with Dogs
By Anthony Farnell
Let me take you back, way back to my first dog memories. I remember a summer day when I was six years old and my parents had just arrived home with a brand new Golden Retriever puppy. My sister was four, my brother two, and we were all ecstatic to meet the newest member of the family. Kinkade was his name and he was probably the nicest dog in the world. He always wanted to please and be by your side. We learnt through our parents how to take care of a dog. The walks, the feeding and training was divided between all of us but I must admit most of the responsibility still rested with our parents. When Kinkade eventually passed away, we all had the dog bug and my family was quick to replace him with another Golden Retriever.
Kirk was very similar to Kindade except I was older now and loved to take care of this dog. He accompanied me on my many walks around our cottage in Vermont. We’d swim together, I’d throw him sticks and rocks, and we became great friends. He was still the family dog but I remember him liking me best until I eventually went away to University. Over the next decade, school, career and living life were my main priorities but I often missed the companionship that went along with having a dog. Luckily, I eventually found a fantastic partner in life who liked four legged creatures as much as I did. After living with my soon to be wife for a year, I arrived home one afternoon with the biggest of surprises.
I snuck out earlier that day to the countryside outside Guelph to meet a breeder who specialized in golden doodles. The litter included six unbelievably cute puppies and from the first moment I laid eyes on them, I knew I was going home with a dog. I was told that two had been reserved but I was free to play and interact with the remaining eight-week olds. Lucky for me, my decision became easy when one goofy doodle stumbled over and looked me right in the eye. He wanted to play and I knew right then that this would be our new dog. It was the most adorable copper coloured miniature golden doodle puppy and I knew my fiancée (now wife) wouldn’t be able to resist him.
A Storm is Brewing!
Being a TV meteorologist, I’d heard of others in the field, specifically south of the border bringing their dogs into work and even taking them along when they did weather talks for students. This sounded like a great fit for my young pup so I decided to bring him into work one afternoon to test it out. He was an immediate hit in the Global newsroom as he raced around saying hello to everyone. Considering I was planning on having him hang around the weather centre on occasion, I thought he would need a cool weather related name. It was a tough sell with my fiancée but she reluctantly agreed. That next day we set up an online pole on the Global News website and within a few hours hundreds of people responded. With overwhelming viewer support, Storm got his name live on television that evening.
Storm Goes Viral
Storm’s fame was already growing from his appearance on TV but what happened next, nobody could have anticipated. A few weeks after my dog’s TV debut, he apparently couldn’t get enough of the limelight. I was preparing my weather maps as I do before every weather segment, when I realized that my four month of golden doodle was no longer hiding under my desk. I looked around but couldn’t find him anywhere. This is when I turned to the television set and saw his fluffy little head pop up from under the news desk, look at our News anchor Leslie Roberts and then quickly disappear back below. This two second cameo went viral with the clip being broadcast around the world. Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan were just a few of the shows that commented on Storm the Weather Dog. He also became a YouTube sensation and I was asked by bloggers and reports as far away as Russia, Australia and Japan to give them more information on my wonder dog.
In the Spotlight
A couple years have passed since the viral video pop up but Storm’s fame has only grown locally in the GTA. My wife and I can’t take Storm the Weather Dog to the park without someone asking if that’s the dog from TV. Sometimes, I have to remind these people that I’m also on TV and that I give accurate weather forecasts with a smile every evening but I may as well be talking gibberish. They are clearly focused on the 25lbs ball of fur at my feet. To fill the public’s obsession with Storm, I’ve created a Facebook page and Twitter account for my pooch where you can find pictures of his numerous school visits and daily adventures. He’s built quite the following over the past couple years and continues to get friend requests from fans around the world. Questions range from “where did you get him from?” to “does he shed?” and “when can I meet him in person?” Viewers are also very quick to complain when they don’t see Storm regularly on their television set. He has really become a part of the news team and a part of every family that watches at home. In fact, I’ve received dozens of pictures and videos of other dogs watching and barking at the TV whenever Storm makes one of his appearances on the newscast.
Like most celebrities, Storm has groupies and the occasional obsessed fan. One of the weirdest stories involves someone waiting an hour for us at a live location. When I finally showed up with my dog and she got to meet storm for the first time, she started crying and shaking from joy and excitement. She then gave me a laminated 50 page book she’d been working on. It included a story and almost all of Storm’s facebook page pictures along with others that I have no idea where they came from. I didn’t know how to react but ended up thanking her for the thoughtful gift. I’m still amazed at the impact Storm has on some people.
Why a Miniature Golden Doodle?
I grew up with golden retrievers and loved them for their easy going attitude, loyalty and smarts but they were also big shedders and larger sized dogs which would not suit our small condo. After a couple months of research I decided the golden doodle breed was a great fit. It allowed me to get the qualities I loved from golden retrievers along with the smaller size and hypoallergenic fur from the miniature poodle. In the three years since I first picked Storm up from the breeder, my wife and I have learnt so much about ourselves in caring for this living, breathing animal. The dog has picked us up when we’ve been fighting or in a funk, has forced us to get outside and enjoy nature in the winter, has made us more responsible and hopefully readied us for whatever lies ahead. Storm, the Weather Dog may be one of the biggest dog celebrities in town but I try not to let it get to his head. To me, he will always be that same cute, adventuresome, puppy that picked me at the breeder.