Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Re- published per Request

Furry blogger vies for national title to raise money for her breed

Posted to: Chesapeake Entertainment Pets Spotlight

Silvieon4, a 3-year-old bichon frisé of Stewart and Silvie Goldstein in Chesapeake, is in the running for the All American Pet Brands-sponsored national online Cutest Dog Competition. (Courtesy photo)


A cute Chesapeake dog wants you to vote her the cutest dog in the country so she can help other cute local dogs.

Silvieon4, the 3-year-old bichon frisé of Stewart and Silvie Goldstein of Chesapeake, is in the running for the All American Pet Brands-sponsored national online Cutest Dog Competition, which runs through Thanksgiving.

Anyone can vote for the little tail-wagging princess by visiting her daily blog at www.silvieon4.com. That will link to a contest Web site, and a slew of awwwww-inducing photos.

If Silvieon4 wins one of the weekly competitions, she fetches $500. If she makes it to the

semifinals, she'll dig up $5,000, and if she takes the national title of Cutest Dog, she will reap a cool $1 million.

But all of the photogenic white-curled pooch's potential winnings will benefit Tidewater Bichon Frisé Rescue, a nonprofit group based in Suffolk and founded by directors Robin and Jack Gray.

As stated on its Web site, the group's mission is "the rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of Bichons and to control the animal population by spaying and neutering all Bichons before they are placed in new homes."

"There are all kinds of neglect, abuse and abandonment going on with this breed," said Silvie Goldstein, whose two other dogs, JD and Wendy, are also bichons. "The Grays take them in, rename them, have them vetted, and then take them through a resocialization process. When someone wants to adopt, they make sure the family and the dog are compatible, make sure the environment is best for the dog's health and well-being."

Even though she thinks her newest family member is the most adorable canine on earth, Goldstein entered Silvieon4 to help other similar dogs in the area by, hopefully, bringing cash prizes to the rescue group.

"I wouldn't have to bake again," said Goldstein, who helps raise money for the group by selling her homemade cheesecakes and gourmet breads. "You see, we're totally dependent on donations and fundraisers."

She said her bea dy-eyed little white mop came to her family, thanks to TBFR's efforts.

"She was placed on Craigs-list by its owner as 'ready for breeding'," said Goldstein, a TBFR volunteer. "She was on her way to a puppy mill when the Grays interceded and rescued her. They didn't want her to breed for greed."

Goldstein said her newest family member was named after her.

"The Grays named her, actually," she explained. "She's small and mouthy, so she reminded them of me. They named her Silvieon4, as in 'on four legs,' I'm Silvieon2."

The Grays and Goldstein maintain that although bichons are cute, sweet-tempered, and seem almost like animated cuddly toys, they aren't novelties. They require a high degree of care and attention. Many adopt bichons casually because of their Beanie Baby looks and good natures, but when health or relationship issues arise, the dogs are quickly cast off like, well, forgotten toys.

"They're beautiful, cute and smart, but they are very high maintenance and expensive to maintain," Goldstein said. "They're small, and many have allergies and sensitive digestive systems. They really are 'fur kids,' they're completely people-dependent; they're dog velcro, they stick to you no matter what and cannot be left alone for long periods of time."

Goldstein thinks Silvieon4 stands a good chance of winning. She never seems to take a bad photo.

"I maintain that she's 93 percent dog and 7 percent ham; she loves the camera," Goldstein said.

Locally, it seems to be paying off. Recently, when she was in The Home Depot, with the pooch in the cart with her, she heard someone call out "Silvie!"

"Naturally, I thought it was someone I knew, but the person completely ignored me and went up to her and exclaimed, 'Oh Silvie, I read your blog!' I didn't mind; that's a sure vote."

For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, write to Tidewater Bichon Frisé Rescue, P.O. 8084, Suffolk, VA 23438; call 986-2275; or visit www.virginiabichonrescue.org.

Eric Feber, 222-5203,


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