Nellie the "Wonderdog" pre-makeover

Ocean Grove, the most dog-friendly town in the area – Asbury Park City Council can you hear me – has welcomed its newest four-legged resident and you can watch the official “big reveal” go down on television Saturday (March 14), at 8 pm.

From thousands of applicants, Animal Planet’s “Underdog to Wonderdog,” on basic cable, played canine matchmaker for longtime Ocean Grove resident Kelli Chaffers helping her adopt Nellie – a beautiful, mature collie-mix.

“It’s been an incredible experience taping the show for the past few weeks,” said Kelli also parent to a son Kelsey and two cats, Miss Diva and Handsome. “I told the producers I wanted a dog that lounges, not runs and Nellie is the exact speed I want.”

I spoke with the show’s hottie-host Ryan Smith about the production.

TBP: Why did you choose Kelli for your show?

Ryan: A couple of reasons. First of all, Kelli has a vivacious and exciting personality. We love working with people and families that have a zest for life, and that’s Kelli in a nutshell. In addition, Kelli’s son is leaving home for the first time. While a beautiful dog cannot replace Kelsey, it can help ease Kelli’s family life adjustment.

Part of our job is to take relatively unadoptable dogs and match them with owners that can help them; the dog in this episode is shy, reserved and shut down as a result of its past, and it needs an amazing person like Kelli to make it’s life wonderful.

TBP: Kelli was made for TV. Part of your show is also doing a makeover on the dog and small home improvements. What did your team do to Kelli’s home?

Ryan: I can tell you this: our canine carpenter David’s objective is to build something that brings a somewhat shy dog out of her shell and put her in an environment where she can learn to become just as gregarious as Kelli.

TBP: Anything about the show that was challenging or different?

Hey, I have to save something for when you watch the show. I can reveal that the personality issues with this dog were unlike any issues that we have encountered before.

This is a great episode for people considering adopting a shelter dog without great knowledge of that dog’s past. Viewers will learn a lot about how to uncover a dog’s history in order to make it the best possible companion for its owner.

Our dog for this episode is one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever been around, and she goes on an amazing journey throughout the show. I really can’t wait for you to see it.

TBP: What did you think about our Historic Ocean Grove?

Ryan: Our team was blown away when we visited Ocean Grove – in awe of the striking architecture. We all fell in love with the serene beach community and its residents. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect place to shoot our show.

TBP: Your show takes a super-important issue – rescuing and nurturing mature dogs – and makes it engaging, fun and inspiring. Thanks Ryan.

Briefly: Save the date for “Gaylarious” a comedy show presented by Jill Potter and Aaron Coleman’s production companies, Saturday, April 4 at the WonderBar.

“Hosted by Christie Girlington, the show is a team of four cutting-edge gay and lesbian next-generation queer comics,” said Jill.

Tickets at