Basset Hounds Invade the 44th Annual Daytime Emmy Award Show

By Don Bullock, BHCSC Past President, Webmaster & Rescue Chairman

Fifty basset hounds were on stage on April 30, 2017 at the Daytime Emmy Awards Show held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The hounds came from Daphneyland plus a few from the Basset Hound Club of Southern California. This was the first time the academy allowed dogs on stage and was a history making event. The shows Producers Michael Levitt and Dimitra Molassi knew they needed a professional rescue to represent this first ever rescue venue, and reached out to Dawn Smith of Daphneyland. Michael Levitt a fan of basset hounds and Daphneyland plus he’s deeply involved in rescue efforts himself.

Our club was well represented by Maria Bivins, Linda Ott with two of Maria’s bassets, Ben and her twelve year old rescue girl, Charlette, plus Don and Pam Bullock with Nadia and Sassy. They were there by special invitations from Dawn Smith, the director of the rescue group out at Daphneyland, to represent the BHCSC. Dawn is not only a rescuer, but also a member of the club. She feels that education on breed standard is very important and always asks club members with well bred bassets to participate in media venues so that she can explain what a “well bred basset hound” is really like. 

Two of the basset hounds were selected by Dawn to appear on each side of he presenter and award winner. One was a very special male named Frito that had been scheduled to be euthanized by several shelters because they thought he was highly aggressive. To see him back stage in a room with fifty  hounds and their handlers was amazing. Frito was one of the most gentle dogs in the room. His handler and BHCSC club member, Dr. Cari Cannon, had been working with him for several weeks. Dr. Cannon has a doctorate in animal behavior. Dawn wanted to show how, through the proper training, that dogs can be rehabilitated. Frito handled the limelight extremely well. 

The second basset selected by Dawn was Sassy, GCh. Woebgon’s Dodge City Sarsaparilla. The rational for selecting Sassy was that Dawn wanted a well bred basset hound front and center to show what the breed is supposed to look like. Since Sassy has achieved her AKC Grand Championship she was the likely choice to be featured. Sassy was handled by her breeder/owner Pam Bullock, and loved all the attention she got.

Many of those who came to help handle the hounds from Daphneyland were from other breed rescue groups. It was great to see all of them getting to know their bassets and working with them back stage. Those who were there from the BHCSC were very impressed when Dawn introduced all of the rescue workers to our BHCSC club members and explained why these particular bassets were there. She made it clear to everyone that these bassets were special invited guests. Dawn explained that our club works closely with rescue and supports them. For those not familiar with other breeds and rescue groups this relationship between a club and rescue is very unique. Part of Dawn’s mission and reason for inviting our members was to show the relationship to others involved in rescue in hopes that this type of cooperation and mutual support will become more common. Dawn also explained to all the handlers the importance of having a well bred basset front and center on stage. 

It was a wonderful afternoon. As with most large live productions of this type there was a lot of time waiting but the production team provided a nice air conditioned room for the dogs and handlers to wait in. Everyone was amazed at all the effort put into just our part of the show’s production. Michael Levitt made everyone feel very welcome. He came and met everyone individually and personally thanked them for being a part of the event. The crew from the production company were outstanding. They all worked hard just to make sure that the basset’s part of the program worked out as planned and were very friendly to the handlers and the hounds as well. 

As we were leaving at the end of the day I was pulled aside by Dawn and told that future events were in the works. Perhaps they will allow for more BHCSC participation. This time, due to the requirements from the show, we were not allowed to announce our participation in the event until late Friday afternoon. As soon as that happened Dawn and I sent out requests for “wranglers” for a media event in Los Angeles on Facebook. I also asked for the BHCSC to send out an email to our membership which was sent  out by Kay Haggard on Saturday morning, May 29th. We have no idea what restrictions future productions would have but if we can open participation to more members we will with the exception that participants may have to be at least eighteen, as required this time, to sign liability wavers. Those kind of restrictions are out of our control.

In the end this was a wonderful event that went off without a hitch. The vision of the producers was well executed by us, and this turned out to be a unique well organized, highly publicized experience. Basset Hounds everywhere were well represented on stage at the 44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Show. Our club should be proud of the relationship we have with Daphneyland. Thank you to Dawn Smith and all who worked so had to make this event so special for our breed.

LINK: More photos from the event.

Blog Post Script:

The news of the basset hounds on the 44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards made Inside Edition, the Washington Post and several after show soap digests etc. It's all over the European Internet.  As of May 7th Dawn has done over 35 interviews across the US as well as Canada and one in Mexico with additional interview requests daily.  Daphneyland has had over 3200 inquiries. It's going to be blogged about (including this blog entry), and is gaining popularity.  Fellow industry trainers have been calling Dawn with congrats all week.

Personal Comment:

This was a fantastic opportunity for Daphneyland and, as pointed out above, is already bringing more attention and support for their work. It’s also great publicity for our breed. People who know nothing about basset hounds got to see them on stage at a Holllywood awards show. This was a first EVER segment where 50 hounds walked through a LIVE CELEBRITY AUDIENCE during a LIVE BROADCAST and staging shoulder to shoulder.  Pretty unbelievable.  How amazing is that? 

I would like to personally thank Dawn Smith for including club members and their dogs on stage. This, by the way, isn’t the first time this has happened. In 20014 some of our members participated on the televised program Cause for Paws with bassets from Daphneyland. 

As a member of our club Dawn Smith understands what bassets bred to the AKC Standard for Basset Hounds are like and supports the club’s efforts to breed bassets based on this standard. As a member/breeder I greatly appreciate her support. Because of Dawn’s support of what we do we have a very unique relationship between our club and Daphneyland. She would like to see this kind of relationship flurish with other rescue groups in bassets and other breeds. I’m hoping that we were able to help her with that goal by participating in this event.

I’d also like to personally thank Mike Levitt, Dimitra Molassi and their entire crew. They were all amazing and friendly and professional. For many years, before Pam and I got into showing basset hounds, I was involved in numerous choral productions and can say that the way this production was run  was “first rate” and all the members of the production staff were some of the nicest and friendliest people I’ve met doing this type of work. One crew member, wearing a beautiful black outfit, actually got down on the floor with Sassy while we were waiting to walk down the isle for the show. When I popinted out to her that sassy was shedding and her black outfit would be covered in dog hair for the rest of the evening. She just smiled and kept petting Sassy with her hair flying all over. It was a pleasure to be a small part of this production. 

Don Bullock