Our pets have made a significant impact on our lives and we know that just like the famous German Shepherd star, Rin Tin Tin, they should all have their own paw print on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
I have heard remarkable stories from many of you over the years… of your dogs helping when you were ill, alerting you of an unsafe situation, being featured in a movie or commercial, participating in pet therapy at local hospitals and nursing homes or simply having wiggled their way into your heart.
I thought for this month it would be nice to highlight a few pets that have made history. Some impressed us early on as our favorite childhood TV. icons. Others we have heard about on the news or read about in the paper. You may have not heard about a few of them…but they are all extraordinary.
Beginning with a dog we all know and love….Lassie. Lassie was originally a short story created for the Saturday Evening Post in 1938. The first major motion picture was produced in 1943 and Lassie hit the small screen in 1954. Who can forget the heart warming story of Lassie and her owner Timmy? Lassie, the Collie star, was a prime example of Sunday night wholesome family entertainment. A few interesting facts: There have been nine dogs that have played Lassie over the years….and they have all been male! Male dogs were used because of their thicker coats. During shedding season, male dogs retain a thicker coat than females therefore looking better on camera!!
Moving on to a very famous animated dog….Snoopy. Snoopy has certainly evolved over the years from his first appearance in the famous comic strip Peanuts in 1950. Did you know that he was a silent character for the first two years and uttered his first word via a thought balloon in 1952? He also started out on all fours and in 1956 began walking upright like a human. This soon became commonplace. Snoopy moved out of his doghouse to the top of his doghouse in 1958. From then on he rarely ventured back inside.
He is arguably the most identified character of the comic strip Peanuts and the following animated films. I read Snoopy’s wikipedia site to learn more about his history and I have to admit it brought back very fond memories and a ton of laughs. It is definitely worth a read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snoopy.
You may have heard the story about an Australian canine, Leo. This terrier mix saved a litter of kittens from being lost in a house fire just last month. A fire broke out in the home and Leo refused to leave the building. Firefighters found him guarding the kittens until help arrived and they were taken safely away from the building. Both the kittens and Leo lived and are back in their home. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27381659/
How about the Miracle dog, Isabella, that adopted three tiger cubs that were rejected by their mother earlier this year? This happened at the Safari Zoological Park in Kansas. According to an interview conducted by CBS News, Isabella, the Golden Retriever, doesn’t know the difference between her puppies and the cubs. She licks, cleans and feeds them as it they are her own. Amazing! http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/30/ap/strange/main4309195.shtml
One of the best stories of this year had to have been the story of Willie, a Quaker Parrot, who saved a toddler from choking. The child’s babysitter was in the other room when the toddler began choking on a pop tart. Willie began screaming and flapping his wings…saying Momma Baby Momma Baby over and over again. The babysitter thought that the cat must be after Willie, but upon entering the room realized it was the baby. She performed the Heimlich maneuver and the situation turned out fine. Willie had his 15 minutes of national fame! http://www.necn.com/Boston/Nation/Unlikely-hero-saves-toddlers-life-/1226511087.html
Interested to know who many consider the “Most Famous” dogs in recent history? If you are…read on! The list of the 10 Most Famous Dogs of the 20th Century include:
Fala– the beloved Scottish Terrier belonging to FDR
Togo– the famous sled dog who is responsible for Siberian Huskies being established as an official dog breed in the U.S.
Snoopy– famous comic strip character, “Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There’s so little hope for advancement.”
Rin Tin Tin– the German Shepherd star of the big screen
Lassie– Of all of the fictional dogs in history, Lassie has probably had the longest run
Scooby Doo– everyone’s favorite Great Dane
Balto– the Alaskan Malamute sled dog that was part of the 1925 serum run from Nome to Anchorage
Eddie– the hit of the sitcom Frasier
Old Yeller- one of Walt Disney’s best loved films
Gidget– “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!”
Even if your pet hasn’t performed an amazing feat to make the papers or even to get him off of the couch…he is terrific anyway and deserving of a lot of love this holiday season and in the new year ahead!