The Boston Globe: It's a Ruff Life
By Linda Matchen, November 13, 2008
Dog breeder Denise Ronayne isn't one to put her Yorkshire terriers in the spotlight. Nonetheless, her pups are about to become TV stars, featured on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101."
"I know this is corny, but my dogs are very pretty," says Ronayne, who lives in Sutton and runs Country Home Yorkies. Sounds like the pooches are used to star treatment: Ronayne provides them with velvet bedding and faux furs, gives them all a "spa day" complete with hot oil treatments, and she cooks for her dogs every day.
Ronayne said she wouldn't mind if the Obamas watched the show, which airs Saturday at 8 p.m. "What better dog for [their] girls?" she says. "I certainly will pursue it."
Television and Publications
Boston Magazine: Pick of the Litter
Trendy hybrids have met their match in this Bay State–bred doggy du jour. BY RACHEL BAKER
Forget puggles and Labradoodles: These top-of-the-bloodline Yorkies—their family tree features only the most cherub-faced and short-muzzled of their kind—can outshine such science-experiment breeds faster than you can say "shi-poo".
Raised like royalty, the pups dine on a special menu of chicken, hamburger, and lamb chops, and wash it down with an imported juice blend.
They're socialized and trained before being sold, making them less likely to bark at the mailman or yip at the Neiman's salesclerk. Patriots players, socialites, and Back Bay elites are snatching these puppies up.
Denise of Country Home Yorkies is considered one of the top breeders of Yorkshire Terriers in Massachusetts and has been recognized nationally on National Television Broadcasts, News Broadcasts, Magazine publications and newspapers.
Vitality Magazine - Style Issue
Luxurious Lapdogs - The Pampered Pups of Country Home Yorkies
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As she got older, she found out her allergic reactions were minimal with certain dogs. She started with Cocker Spaniels, but eventually fell in love with the Yorkshire Terrier. After spending much of her life apart from man's best friend, she has now turned this affection for dogs into raising and coaching her Yorkies to become perfect matches for her clients.
"A dog is a product of their own environment and I believe there are too many people that send away for a pet and do not know what they are getting," she said. "I will spend hours with people talking to them and fitting the right type of dog to their lifestyle.
"I raise dogs the old-fashioned way — at home and by hand," she added.
This old school method includes cooking, cleaning and caring for her dogs all day. Every canine has his/her own bed, set of toys and crate, and is monitored regularly by her or volunteers that stop in to lend a hand.
Once the puppies are old enough to be adopted, Ms. Ronayne said, she spends hours interviewing prospective dog owners, making sure the dog and owner are the right fit.
“I want to know how the dog is going to affect your life,” she said. try to match the personality of the dog to the home.”
She has a long list of clientele that includes NFL players and coaches, doctors, CEOs and airline pilots, who have each chosen to pay nearly $2,000 for one of her signature pets.
Without the media exposure gained by bringing dogs to shows, Ms. Ronayne said, her business has grown mostly by word of mouth and referrals.
“The dogs have led people to my door,” she said.
That may change this weekend, when her Yorkshire terriers will be featured on “Dogs 101,” a television show on Animal Planet that features different breeds of dogs every week. The show featuring dogs from Country Home Yorkies will air at 8 p.m. Saturdayand again at 7 p.m. Sunday..
A producer for Animal Planet confirmed that Country Home Yorkies will be featured prominently on the show.
Television crews came into Ms. Ronayne’s home three times to tape footage for the show, Ms. Ronayne said, and the dogs played and nuzzled on a bear rug in her living room. Three Sutton youngsters — Ashley Lavoie, Travis Lavoie, and Grace Crocker — were all filmed playing with the dogs, she said.
“It was delightful, certainly, to be noticed,” she said. “This is really a small family business. It’s something I love doing.”
“Dogs 101” introduces Animal Planet viewers to different breeds of dogs every week. Along with Yorkshire terriers, this weekend’s episode will feature bloodhounds, Great Danes, Shih Tzus and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
The Yorkshire terriers that Ms. Ronayne breeds are a little stubbier than show dog Yorkies, with shorter muzzles and legs. They’re taught not to bark incessantly.
“No one wants a yippy dog. They bark when there’s a stranger at the door; that’s natural,” she said. “Dogs are a product of their environment, just as we are as people. Here, they’re around family; that’s one reason why my dogs are so social.”
Her dogs tend to be favored by people who live in cities and who like to travel with their dogs. They can easily fit under your arm, or in your purse, almost like an accessory.
Others use the Yorkshire terriers as therapy dogs. One woman brings her dog to her ailing mother’s nursing home, where the dog’s daily visit is anticipated by staff and other patients. Ms. Ronayne also once donated a puppy to an 8-year-old girl from Uxbridge with cancer. When the child died, the funeral was filled with photos of the girl and her dog.
“That might have been the best thing I’ve ever done,” Ms. Ronayne said.
The Web site of “Dogs 101,” at http://animal.discovery.com-/tv/dogs-101, has a poll, “Vote for First Dog,” that asks voters to choose which breed of dog President-elect Barack Obama’s family should adopt.
Ms. Ronayne said her Yorkshire terriers fit at least some of the Obamas’ requirements: They are hypoallergenic because they have hair, rather than fur, and no dander; and they are very social dogs, great with children.
These Yorkies are purebred, going back generations. The show’s Web site also doesn’t offer a Yorkie to vote for.
That has not deterred the breeder. Ms. Ronayne said she has begun making inquiries about how to get a packet of information about her dogs to the first family-to-be.
Lisa Briggs, a licensed social worker with intuitivebody.com, has acquired about five "Yorkies" from the Sutton breeder as a way for her clients to feel more at home during their counseling sessions with Briggs.
"Many of my clients are teenage girls who come over and the dogs love to see them," she said. "The girls get a lot of free love and it makes them feel like rock stars. My clients are looking for a little love and the dogs make them feel warm."
Ronayne's passion for puppies was born out of a longtime problem she has had with certain dogs.
"I was allergic all my life," she said. "As a five-year-old girl, I took a field trip and remember not being allowed off the bus, because there were puppies where we went."
NECN: Mr. Obama, How About These Pups?
(Danica Pecirep, NECN) :
(Danica Pecirep, NECN) - They are not just any Yorkies -- they are some of the world's best -- and they are bred right in Central Massachusetts.
Denise Ronayne owns Country Home Yorkies in Sutton. She has been raising and selling the breed for the last twenty years.
"I just thought I wanted a breed thats not just a family dog, not just a beautiful dog, but a dog that can really give back," Ronayne said.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Sutton Yorkies star on ‘Dogs 101’
Sutton Yorkies star on ‘Dogs 101’ Animal Planet show also has local youngsters By Aaron Nicodemus TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
SUTTON— Denise Ronayne has been breeding dogs for 20 years, a family business called Country Home Yorkies that she runs out of her own home. She raises and trains Yorkshire terriers and miniature dachshunds, not as show dogs, but as family pets.
“I would prefer them to be in somebody’s lap for the rest of their lives,” she said.
The dogs have the run of the place, with dog beds and dog “playpens” in every room. Two very young litters of puppies — the eyes have not yet opened — rest with their mothers in playpens i the computer room. They are painfully cute, soft as velvet, each one able to fit in the palm of your hand.
WE'VE BEEN NOTICED!
What Ronayne does know, is that the television program was filmed at several locations in the country, including in her home. Shortly after, Animal Planet called again, requesting a second round of filming. One segment of the show will feature her dogs, which carry a unique trait.
"My Yorkshires have a short, square muzzle, as opposed to a longer nose," she said. "This allows my dogs to look like puppies even when they are older, instead of getting a sort of rodent-like muzzle."
Ronayne has received inquiries from potential clients up and down the East Coast, and as far away as Paris. Her client list includes New England Patriots tight end Ben Watson, Boston restaurateur Nick Varano, CEOs, doctors, and more.
As seen on National Geographic's ANIMAL PLANET
We are pleased to have been chosen by Animal Planet as the Yorkshire Terrier breeder to be aired on their show Dogs 101.
It was an honor to have been contacted by Animal Planet to have the film crew from National Geographics here at our home for 2 days of filming. We are honored that they considered Country Home Yorkies their choice for an entire segment for their up-coming show Dogs 101. We would like to thank our wonderful clients for joining us in the special filming of this event.
Ronayne's puppies have gone on to become companions to terminally ill children, the elderly, and have often been used in therapy.
Celebrities and everyday people from across the country love them too.
"I think for me the dogs themselves have lead people to my door," Ronanye said.
National Geographic's Animal Planet called about a month ago and said they would like to film inside Ronayne's home for a day.
With her dogs in the national spotlight this weekend, Ronayne hopes one of them attracts the attention of President-Elect Obama, whose children are looking for a dog when they move into the White House.
"I think for Mass. to be the first to give the First Family the gift of a dog would be, at least for me, an honor and a privilege to have these dogs in the White House," Ronayne said.
The dogs stay at home and are never put in shows. Ronayne believes her Yorkies' lack of limelight is being trumped by word of mouth, which has spread fast in places
such as Boston and New York City. "She is a wonderful lady who takes such excellent care of her dogs," said Sam Zeltserman, an attorney in Brookline, who bought her Yorkie "Nantucket Lady Daisy May" from Ronayne. "I have Parkinson's and Daisy has decided to be my caretaker," said Sam's wife, Ellen. "I raised her as a service dog and she has the most even personality." Ronayne receives
annual, unannounced state and town inspections, which include checks that she keeps only the number of dogs allowed by law.
"The dogs absolutely have the run of my house," she said. "I like to be at home with my dogs and I think they enjoy it, too. They are definitely treated like royalty."
Gift of a lifetime
"Uninhibited joy" is one of the many reasons Ronayne gives for owning one of her Yorkshire terriers. Her best example was the pairing of one of her dogs with a little girl from Uxbridge.
An 8-year-old Uxbridge girl with an inoperable tumor, undergoing chemotherapy, said one of her last wishes was to get one of Ronayne's Yorkies. The girl and her family met with Ronayne, and began to talk about matching the family with a dog.
That is when a young Yorkshire terrier jumped into the little girl's lap.
"She just melted," said Ronayne. "I decided then and there that this girl is going home today with a puppy. The joy I got from giving her that dog was the best thing ever."
Ronayne gave her the puppy for free. According to letters, cards, and other messages Ronayne received, the girl's demeanor brightened until the day she died. When Ronayne attended the funeral, she was struck by seeing all the photos of the little girl had been taken with her beloved Yorkie.
Even the casket was filled with Yorkshire terrier toys.
"Afterwards, it was great to think that the family still has this dog," Ronayne said. "It is like a small piece of her is still with them."
Millbury - Sutton Chronicle
Denise Ronayne works out of her quiet Sutton home on a street tucked away from the bustle of the town.
Lately, however, her business has been making so much noise that the entire country will soon see and hear about it.
Ronayne breeds Yorkshire terriers, and her dogs will grab the national spotlight this weekend on National Geographic's Animal Planet Channel in a show called "Dogs 101." The show will air at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 and at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16.
"[Animal Planet] called me out of the clear blue," she said. "I am not sure in what capacity they are going to use the footage, but I am excited to see."