Furry Tails: Famous Pets

By: Heather Lang
(Photo Credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Peanuts)

(Photo Credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Peanuts)

I’m switching things up a little for this installment of Furry Tails! Instead of personal pet stories, I’m going to combine two of my favorite things – my love of animals with my love of Hollywood.

Put the two together and you get – famous pets, of course! I’ve decided to do a list of my very favorite pets on the big screen, small screen and even some from the pages of books.

So, first off, there’s the classics that I must mention – Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Petey from “The Little Rascals,” Old Yeller, White Fang. But I’m too young to feel deeply connected to any of them. Instead, I’m pulling from my childhood and more current times.

These are the pets that made me fall in love with animals! I’ve already told you I wasn’t allowed to have a pet while living in an apartment most of my childhood; well, because of that, I feel like many of the pets on my list were – in some ways – mine very own. And even after Rosie and Camellia came into my life, I still feel a special bond with these characters, and in some cases, real-life animals!

Here are my top 10:

1. Snoopy (Charlie Brown)
At the top of my list is the second best Beagle that I can think of – that’s next to my Rosie, of course! Snoopy is, arguably, the world’s most famous Beagle. What can I possibly say to do justice to this iconic character? Sometimes I still catch myself looking at the iconic “Peanuts” comic strip in the newspaper. As a kid, I would watch “Snoopy, Come Home,” “Snoopy’s Reunion” and more. And every holiday I make it a point to sit down and watch him. Snoopy and The Red Baron at Halloween, Snoopy and Woodstock preparing a feast on Thanksgiving, Snoopy kissing Lucy at Christmastime! “Ugh, I have dog germs! Get hot water, get some disinfectant, get some iodine!” Now, I ask you, who doesn’t love that scene?!?!

2. Hedwig (Harry Potter)
Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you I’m a “Harry Potter” fanatic! So, Harry’s beloved and faithful Hedwig, the Snowy Owl, is absolutely near the top of my list. In the books, owls are mostly used as mail carriers, but Hedwig was so much more than that. She was as true a friend to Harry as Ron and Hermione. From the very beginning when Hagrid gave Hedwig to Harry as his 11th birthday present, the affection between owner and owl was always apparent. And her demise in the final book was shocking for me and just as heartbreaking as any of the other beloved characters – Dumbledore, Sirius, Lupin, Fred – who also met an untimely and tragic end.

(Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

3. Marley (The Grogans)
One of the real-life famous pets on my list. Reading “Marley & Me” touched my heart, and by the end of both the book and movie, I was a big puddle of tears! Playful, protective, loyal, lovable and true. For me, Marley shows that pets aren’t just pets, they are family members. And even though they can do things to irritate you sometimes, you love them anyway. No matter what. And maybe you love them harder for it. One of my favorite lines in the book – it’s also in the movie trailer – is: “A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.”

4. Comet (The Tanners)
I grew up with D.J., Stephanie and Michelle, and one of my favorite “Full House” episodes of all time is when Minnie, a Golden Retriever from Ohio, shows up in the Tanners’ backyard and steals Joey’s sandwich! By the end of the episode, Minnie has a litter of puppies and Comet comes into the lives of the Tanners and becomes a staple of the show. Stephanie forgives Comet for chewing up Mr. Bear, Comet’s birthday party, Comet eats silly dough, Michelle’s heartfelt plea for Comet to return home after he takes off chasing a giant hot dog! Have mercy! What would the Tanners have been without Comet? Thank goodness we’ll never have to find out!

5. Shadow, Chance & Sassy (Peter, Hope & Jamie Burnford)
“Homeward Bound” is one of my very favorite childhood movies! Loyalty and love. From an angry cougar to floating away in a fast-moving river to a muzzle full of quills. That American Bulldog, Golden Retriever and Himalayan cat go through so much. But ultimately – for Chance mostly – it’s about learning what having a home and family is all about. My favorite part – when Chance coaches the older Shadow up and out of that steep shaft by the railroad tracks. And then when, one by one, they came bounding over that hill into their backyard – who didn’t cheer? But I’ll end this blurb as the movie ends, with Chance smelling Thanksgiving dinner: “Turkey! Turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey…!”

6. Beethoven (The Newtons)
The bigger they are, the more furball there is to love! Beethoven may have been big and sloppy, but that St. Bernard had a heart of gold. Like “Homeward Bound,” I watched “Beethoven” and “Beethoven’s 2nd” a lot when I was a kid. I remember Dr. Varnick and his animal testing cruelty operation scaring the living daylights out of me, and then rooting against evil Regina when she wanted to drown Beethoven and Missy’s puppies. But what I remember most of all is Beethoven protecting his family, saving George and Alice from a bad business deal, helping Ryce come out of her shell, scaring off the mean kids bullying Ted, and most of all, saving little Emily when she fell into the pool. It just goes to show you, not only do people save animals sometimes, but sometimes our pets save us!

(Photo Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

7. Bruiser Woods (Elle Woods)
No legal eagle has taken better care of their furry friend! Bruiser was so important the “Legally Blonde” sequel revolved around him and saving his mother from a make-up laboratory that performed animal testing. Other than Paulette and Emmett, that adorable little Chihuahua was Elle’s most trustworthy friend when she followed Warner across the country to Harvard. Always there for a warm cuddle when times got tough in the Ivy League. My favorite scene in either of the movies is when Elle and Bruiser save Rufus the Bulldog from the clutches of Paulette’s evil ex at the trailer park in the original.

8. Garfield & Odie (Jon Arbuckle)
Someone get that cat some lasagna already! Like Snoopy, most of my memories of Garfield are from childhood. The comic strip, the TV specials. I remember always feeling a bit bad for the tortured Odie. But I’ve come to realize that not only do Garfield and I share a love of Italian food, but we also both sometimes have that “glass half empty” outlook on life. And you’ve got to love Jon for sticking by his cantankerous kitty and dim-witted dog.

9. Clifford (Emily Elizabeth)
I can read today thanks to “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Now, I don’t remember too much because I was so little, but I couldn’t leave him off my list. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth’s adventures were my first foray into books. While Clifford’s large size got him into trouble sometimes, it also matched his big heart and his love for his sweet little owner. It’s probably one of the reasons why I wanted a dog so badly when I was little!

10. Happy (The Camdens)
Finally, the television show “7th Heaven” was a big part of my adolescence. It was must-see Monday TV for me when I was a teen, and through the years, as many of the characters would come and go, one constant was that sweet, little, white, shaggy dog, Happy! Like any child who wishes and longs for a pet, Happy was a dream come true for Simon Camden early on in the show’s run. But she became much more, a loyal companion for all the characters and a mainstay of the show.

And I can’t forget these lovable famous pets:

  • Jack/Bandit (The Ingalls – “Little House on the Prairie”)
  • Dino (“The Flintstones”)
  • Hooch (Det. Scott Turner – “Turner & Hooch”)
  • Vincent (Michael & Walt – “Lost”)
  • Eddie (Martin Crane – “Frasier”)
  • Hachi or Hachiko (Dr. Ueno)
  • Murray (The Buchmans – “Mad About You”)
  • Hercules (Mr. Mertle – “The Sandlot”)
  • Scooby Doo (Shaggy)
  • Shiloh (Marty Preston)
  • Milo & Otis
  • Astro (“The Jetsons”)
  • Santa’s Little Helper & Snowball (“The Simpsons”)
  • Tiger (The Bradys – “The Brady Bunch”)
  • Brain (Penny – “Inspector Gadget”)
  • Air Bud (Josh Framm)
  • Brian Griffin (The Griffins – “Family Guy”)

This list could go on and on, so which pets did I miss? Comment below on your favorite famous pet!

Send us photos of your Pittsburgh Pet here:

Stay tuned animal lovers for more Furry Tails! You can follow me on Twitter at @HeatherLang24

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