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    Alpo Searching for 'Real Dogs' to 'Pawthor' How-To Handbook

    To celebrate a more common sense approach to pooch pampering and share its mission to let "dogs be dogs," Alpo is launching a national contest for dog owners to share their stories about their favorite "real dog" behaviors, such as rolling in the mud, drooling for dinner or chasing a ball. Up to 20 lucky winning "pawthors" will have their stories published in a first-of-its-kind "how to" manual to help dogs be dogs for the "Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is" challenge.

    To celebrate a more common sense approach to pooch pampering and share its mission to let "dogs be dogs," Alpo is launching a national contest for dog owners to share their stories about their favorite "real dog" behaviors, such as rolling in the mud, drooling for dinner or chasing a ball. Up to 20 lucky winning "pawthors" will have their stories published in a first-of-its-kind "how to" manual to help dogs be dogs for the "Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is" challenge.

    "It's time to let dogs be dogs again," said Brian Kilcommons, renowned dog expert and author. "Our four-legged friends really don't care who designed their collar or what's happening at the doggie spa. They are happiest when they can express their true inner-dogness -- instinctual behaviors including sniffing, digging, eating, playing and sleeping that are in their DNA and define what it means to enjoy a dog's life."

    According to a recent national survey of American dog owners conducted by Alpo, which is manufactured by St. Louis-based Nestle Purina PetCare Co., the majority say they are pampering their pooches with more simple pleasures, including belly rubs, walks and games of fetch.

    Just two percent of dog owners say they have ever pampered their pooches by taking them to a doggie spa and only one percent says they have ever pampered their dog with a professional massage. When it comes to doing special things for their four-legged friends, 79 percent of dog owners say they feed their dogs treats, 73 percent say they give them belly rubs and 69 percent take them for walks. And, when asked when their dog is happiest, 62 percent of owners say it is greeting them when they come home.

    In addition to greeting them when they come home, the dog owners surveyed say that their dog is happiest when being taken for a walk or a run (52 percent), receiving treats (48 percent), napping on the couch (32 percent) and chewing a bone (30 percent). And, 78 percent of dog owners say the current economy has not affected their dog's lifestyle.

    "We're inviting dogs across America to celebrate their real ‘dogness’ by sharing their stories and inspiring others about what it means to be 100 percent, real, lovable dog," said Kilcommons. "The winning 'pawthors' stories will be published in a common sense guide that should be required reading for dogs and their owners for generations to come."

    The Alpo Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is contest kicked off on this week and runs through Mon., Sept. 28. Dog owners are invited to submit a story about their favorite real dog behavior; stories must be 300 words or less and the entry must also include a color photo of the dog. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest. The entries will be judged by Kilcommons and an independent judging panel based on the following criteria: best description of a "real dog" behavior (50 percent); and originality and creativity of entry (50 percent). Up to 20 winners will be selected and their stories will be featured in the first-of-its-kind "how to" manual for real dogs that will be published in 2010.

    For more information about the contest and how to enter, visit www.ALPOTellItLikeItIs.com.

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