The first in our series
Inspired and written by Megan Noes
With close to a million followers on Facebook and over 40k on Instagram, Parker has a lot of fans out there, and for good reason! Aside from being positively swoon-worthy, Parker is a professional model and animal actor, a registered therapy dog, AKC agility competitor, cancer awareness advocate, non-profit volunteer, and a crisis responder.
SPOT reached out to Parker at his home in Beaverton, Oregon, to hear more about his extraordinary life of stardom and kind deeds:
SPOT: You know over 100 commands! Do you enjoy learning them? And about how long does it take until you know a new one?
Parker Pup: I absolutely love learning new things! Training for me has always been fun, second only to eating! Of course, training comes along with a lot of treats. I love interacting with my humans. I have some great foundation skills so learning new things can typically be done very quickly.
What was your favorite training class to take and why?
I loved learning tricks (and still do), but ultimately my favorite was agility! It was such a good place to learn how to bond with my dad. We learned how to communicate with each other. He learned to read my body language and I learned to read his. I had many years of fun with agility. When my brothers started learning agility, I was always eager to show them what they were supposed to do!
Do you sleep on the human bed or a doggie bed?
I am always welcome on the bed, but I much prefer the floor or my Zen Den pet bed! Getting up on a human bed is too difficult for me now unless I have help from my dad.
What are the nicknames your pawrents call you (& any special reason)?
I am frequently called Mr. P at home. Also Bubba, Bud, Parker-boy, P.B. and Peanut Butter. Humans are silly and don’t always make sense (but I love them anyway!)
What's the best thing about having doggie brothers? Do they ever annoy you as little brothers are wont to do?
I have 2 brothers – Reser is 6 and Gill just turned 3. They are good company and I enjoy watching them play, but sometimes they go a little crazy and play pretty hard. That’s when I’ve got to get out of the way so they don’t knock me over! That’s probably the only thing that really annoys me about them. I used to be able to stand my ground, or get right in there and play with them!! I guess that’s just part of getting older!
What are some of your favorite spots in the Pacific Northwest?
One of my favorite places is just to go to the coast. I love to run, smell the salty sea air, and roll around in the sand. It doesn’t get much better than that! I also recently did a visit to the Columbia Gorge and got to explore our beautiful waterfalls. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area!
Is there a favorite vacation you've gone on with your family?
I love anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, especially Sunriver! But I think my very favorite trips would have to be going down to California to do important work, like walking for Morris Animal Foundation, going to black tie galas, or meeting with fans. I love interacting with people and helping make their hearts feel good.
What has been your most memorable experience as a doggie influencer? Meeting Betty White?! Being in Legally Blonde the Musical or Annie?
Meeting Betty White was pretty amazing! She is so wonderful and just like you’d expect her to be. But doing live theater is pretty awesome! It’s challenging in a different way than shooting commercials because you only get one take, and your normal trainers/handlers aren’t on stage with you (they’re in the wings.) In my most recent theatrical production, I had to overcome some issues on stage that were unexpected. It was challenging, but fun!
What is it like being a therapy dog? Where's your favorite place to do therapy visits and why?
So much fun! I’ve slowed down at doing therapy work, but I still get out from time to time. I always love going to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Kaiser Westside Medical Center. Seeing the kids smile and helping them get through procedures makes me feel so good. And I love when I get on the bed and snuggle!
Why is it important to you to represent the Morris Animal Foundation?
Morris Animal Foundation does very important work for all types of animals. Did you know that 60% of Golden Retrievers will get cancer? That’s really high. Right now they are doing a study where they follow 3,000+ Golden Retrievers over the course of their life to see what environmental and genetic factors might increase the likelihood of different health issues, including cancer.
My little brother, Reser, is one of the 3,000 dogs in the study. I’m pretty proud of him. Each year he goes in and has an exam where they collect blood, urine, toenail and hair clippings, and my family answers a bunch of questions about the kind of life he leads. All that data will help us learn more and maybe one day figure out what’s causing so many dogs to get a cancer diagnosis.
I lost my big sister, Daisy, to cancer. And I’ve learned about so many animals (and humans) who have fought against this horrible disease. It’s important that we generate awareness so that we can find a cure.
You look terrific for any age, but now that you're 12, do your mom or dad have any tips for readers about aging dogs?
My family knows they are very lucky. Not all dogs even make it to 12. But I think they would say to keep active, both physically and mentally, and to check your dog monthly for any lumps, bumps or abnormalities. If you find anything, get it checked out by your veterinarian. My parents give me vegetables like spinach, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. I’m definitely NOT complaining – I love food! I also take joint and skin supplements that I feel do an amazing job!
Since the holiday season is coming, what is one of your favorite pet gifts to give or receive?
I love Chuck-It Balls and stuffies. My favorite stuffy is the golden doggy from IKEA. I carry mine around the house. He is named WonderPuppy (after my alter ego ‘Wonder’ on KGW for the Great Toy Drive). I love to give those stuffies to kids to snuggle with and to remember me by.
Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions?
My brothers and I always love to visit our good friend, Santa Cle Claus at Sleighbells in Sherwood, OR. We get our picture taken with him every year. How many dogs can say they personally know SANTA?! I know him!
Is there anything else you'd like to share with Spot readers?
Now that I’m 12, my brothers are starting to take over some of my jobs as I slow down. My little brother, Gill, is doing a lot of therapy work and understudied for me in my most recent production of ANNIE. He’s still learning, but he’s still a baby so I think he’ll get there. Reser is also showing potential to do some commercial work. He also enjoys performing tricks and doing agility.
I’ve got myself a really great pack. I’m so lucky!