Animal Planet camera crews filmed puppies for seven weeks at a Lenhartsville home this summer.
Collene Hamm, owner of Collene’s Crafts and Flowers in Kutztown, has been raising dogs, specifically Keeshonds, for 29 years.
A litter of her Keeshond puppies will be featured in an episode of the Animal Planet series, “Too Cute.” The show documents the lives of puppies and kittens from birth up until adoption.
Keeshonds, often referred to as “Smiling Dutchmen” because of their naturally happy disposition and Dutch heritage, originated in Holland where they guarded barges.
After her first Keeshond passed away she knew she wanted another, but it wasn’t an easy search. It took her two years to find a second one.
“I thought, ‘If it’s this hard to find them, why not breed them?’” she said. “I wanted to make it easier for people to find them, to enjoy them. Everything just started from there.”
Keeshonds are different from other dogs and people take notice, she said.
“Every time you take the dog somewhere, people stop you.”
A fan of Spitz-type dogs, she also has experience raising Samoyeds, Shelties and Pomeranians, but nothing compares to a Keeshond.
“Over the years I realized how different they were and how the breed was so much different than the other ones I had,” Hamm said. “They were more loving, they wanted to know everything you were doing and they took to the whole family.”
Keeshonds truly are family dogs, Hamm said. Other dogs may be attached to one family member, but that isn’t the case with Keeshonds. “These guys are family dogs. They just want to be with everyone.”
Animal Planet found Hamm through her website, www.keeshondheaven.com, and they asked if she’d be interested in featuring a litter of Keeshond puppies on the network’s show “Too Cute.”
Every episode features different breeds and producers were looking to work with Keeshonds, she said.
“I have seen it on the Animal Planet a couple of times and then they sent me a disc to watch so I had an idea what they were going to do,” Hamm said. “I did it to get exposure for the breed.”
The episode will feature Maya, a five-year-old Keeshond who had a litter of nine puppies (a normal litter ranges from five to seven puppies).
A crew of four visited Maya and her puppies once a week for seven weeks.
“They were really nice,” Hamm said. “They’re very conscious of the puppies.”
36 hours of film were recorded, which will be significantly cut down in order to fit into the one-hour episode.
For the first two weeks, crews filmed the puppies inside. During the sixth, seventh and eighth weeks the puppies were filmed playing in the creek behind Hamm’s house.
The crew also incorporated Hamm’s ducks into the shoot.
“My husband would chase the ducks so they’d come up behind the puppies,” Hamm said.
After the puppies learned how to run, they were the ones chasing the ducks.
“It was so cute!”
Filming wrapped on adoption day when the puppies went home with their new families.
“The main thing that I get out of it is the joy when you see peoples’ faces when you hand them their puppy,” Hamm said. “They just make you happy.”
The Keeshonds’ episode of “Too Cute” is tentatively scheduled to air during the winter or early 2013.