Chef Michael's(R) Proclaims Dogs as the New Valentines

Winner of a National Search for the Most Unforgettable Doggie Valentine Will Travel to NYC for a Special Celebration

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - January 22, 2010) - Love is in the air this February, and Cupid has his eye on dogs and their human companions. More than 60 percent of dog owners plan to include their dogs in their Valentine's Day celebrations this year. Dogs are the focus of a new tradition that has their owners proclaiming their canine companions their "Doggie Valentines."

For Valentine's Day 2010, Purina® Chef Michael's® canine creations challenged America to tell the world what makes their "Doggie Valentine" so special by entering them in the "My Doggie Valentine" contest. The grand prize winner and their pup receive a trip to New York City to attend the "Be My Valentine Doggie Dinner Party" on Feb. 10, 2010. The festivities will include live entertainment, adoptable dogs, celebrity guests and thoughtfully prepared meals of Chef Michael's canine creations. To make sure that all dogs feel loved this Valentine's Day, Chef Michael's donated $10 (up to $7,500) to for every valid contest entry.

According to a Purina survey, 66 percent of dog owners plan to show their dog how much they love him or her on Valentine's Day by showering the dog with hugs and kisses, while 56 percent prefer to show their love through a special meal topped off with their dog's favorite treat. This isn't especially surprising when you consider that, of the dog owners surveyed, 26 percent say "I love you" once every day to their dogs -- the same percentage that says "I love you" once every day to a spouse or significant other.

If you are looking for additional ways to show your dog how much you love him this Valentine's Day, lifestyle expert and author of "Dog Parties," Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, offers these tips for giving your dog exactly what he desires:

--  L - Lounge around on the couch together watching your favorite
    movies and cuddling
--  O - Order in food for yourself and serve your dog a thoughtfully-
    prepared meal of Chef Michael's canine creations
--  V - Valentine's Day present of a new toy or bed
--  E - Extra special pampering, so your dog LOOKS as good as he feels
Bailey the dog