If all you know about NASCAR is that it involves fast cars racing on a closed circuit, you don’t really know anything. NASCAR is a tight knit community of drivers, teams, families, and intensely loyal fans. Like many communities, there are plenty of dogs, and not all of them are model citizens. Cesar Millan has come to Daytona International Speedway ahead of a big race to meet with NASCAR drivers and a fan whose life is all about motorsports. Cesar aims to help these pet owners balance their dogs by engaging their passion for NASCAR.
Brian Sacks has always been immersed in NASCAR. His father, Greg, is a champion driver, and along with his brother Paul, Brian owns a vodka company that sponsors several drivers. Because his life intersects with the sport in so many ways, it could be said that Brian lives NASCAR. Motorsports are all about discipline and patience, waiting for the exact moment you can make your move and surpass your opponent, and many parts of Brian’s life exemplify these characteristics except when it comes to his dog, Gizmo. Gizmo is a small Pekingese, but he is unencumbered by his physical size and can dominate anyone who comes into his home. This is most evident when Gizmo claims objects that have fallen on the floor. The type of object is inconsequential, be it a piece of paper or a toy if it’s on the ground, it’s Gizmo’s, and he will snap at anyone who is bold enough to try and pick it up. Outside of the house, Gizmo is a terror. If another dog comes into view while Brian is walking Gizmo, the little dog will bark ferociously and lunge. Gizmo is Brian’s baby and he doesn’t want to be mean, but with his only recourse to get Gizmo to obey being copious amounts of treats, Brian’s cash flow is taking a major hit.
Many of NASCAR’s superstars have used their fame and recognition to philanthropic ends. One such driver is Greg Biffle, driver of car #16 and a perennial champion on the NASCAR circuit. Together with his wife Nicole, Greg founded the Greg Biffle Foundation which aims to “create awareness and serve as advocates to improve the well-being of animals.” The foundation accomplishes this goal through monetary grants to shelters and organizations across the country. Part of the foundation’s focus is the overpopulation of abandoned animals in shelters, and they champion a message of spaying and neutering. One shelter that has been given a grant is the Halifax Humane Society located in Daytona Beach, Florida. In many ways, the Halifax Humane Society is typical of most animal shelters in the United States. It houses up to 350 animals and is often at capacity. Because Cesar will be in Daytona Beach, Greg and Nicole have invited him to teach some pointers on evaluating a dog to the staff members at the Halifax Humane Society. It is the Biffle’s hope that equipped with Cesar’s methods, the staff will be able to help potential adoptees make a good impression.
Kevin Harvick is a yet another NASCAR champion with a passion for animals. Driver of car #29, Kevin and his wife DeLana have owned larger breed dogs their entire lives, including two specially trained German shepherds. Traveling the country for NASCAR means many weeks spent living in a motor home. The Harvicks wanted to bring their dogs with them, but they felt it was too difficult and unfair to the dogs to have them in such cramped living conditions. DeLana had met another driver’s Chihuahua and liked the breed’s temperament, so she decided to find a breeder and eventually adopted Lo. From the outset, Lo asserted her dominance on every member of the Harvick’s pack. She barks at anyone who passes by the motor home’s windows and if they come inside it’s even worse. If someone reaches to pick up Lo, she snaps and snarls at them. The Harvicks have needed help with Lo for years, but they are even more desperate now because they are expecting their first child later in the year. It’s up to Cesar to assess the needs of these problem dogs and help the back on the road to happiness and good behavior.
Tune in to Dog Whisperer Saturday, September 1st, at 8P et/pt.