Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Famous TV and Movie Pets Adopted From Shelters

By Linda Cole

Shelters are a great place to find wonderful animals, and you need look no further than the dogs and cats you've seen in TV sitcoms, commercials and movies. Many famous dogs and cats were found in local shelters where millions of animals are just waiting for the right person to come along. These famous pets show how special all animals are no matter where they come from, and prove that with patience and commitment all pets are trainable. Here are some of the most famous TV and movie pets adopted from shelters.

Higgins played “Dog” on the popular TV show Petticoat Junction that aired from 1963 to 1970. He became a famous pet and a household name after starring in the 1974 movie Benji. A well known animal trainer, Frank Inn, adopted Higgins as a puppy from the Burbank, California animal shelter. Frank said Higgins was a dog filled with talent, and the dog proved it by learning new tricks on a regular basis. His specialties were yawning and sneezing on command as well as climbing ladders and opening mailboxes. He was a dog with facial expressions that could say it all.

Spike of Old Yeller fame, was adopted from a shelter in Van Nuys, California by the famed dog trainer, Frank Weatherwax. Working with the young Black Mouth Cur, Frank trained him to be a well adjusted family pet who was eager to please. When Frank heard they were looking for a dog for the movie Old Yeller, he took Spike to audition for the part. The casting executives at Disney thought Spike was too easy going. They wanted a meaner and tougher looking dog. After a few weeks of intense training, Weatherwax got a new audition for his dog, and Spike entered the history books as one of the most memorable canines of all time. I bet you cried at the end of the movie – I know I did.

Nora became a YouTube sensation with her amazing rendition of Bach. The talented piano playing cat was adopted from a shelter in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Nora is a self taught kitty musician who really seems to enjoy her practice sessions. Nora is indeed an amazing feline and her unique ability to tickle the ivories earns her a spot on famous pets adopted from shelters. Nora is definitely the cat's meow when it comes to pets with musical talent.

Clyde played Marley in the film Marley and Me. He is one of 22 dogs used in the movie. Five dogs were adopted from shelters and Clyde was rescued from a breeder. He is the dog with the most screen time and was perfectly cast to play the endearing pup we fell in love with.

Morris the 9-Lives cat is one of the most recognizable famous pets of all time. In 1968, animal trainer Bob Martwick was going through a Humane Society pet shelter in Hinsdale, Illinois. Lucky, aka Morris, was adopted from the shelter just hours before he was to be put down. He became known as the finicky cat and starred in commercials from 1969 until his death in 1975. Any cat now used to play Morris is required to be rescued from an animal shelter or cat rescue.

Mauri played Murray in the TV sitcom Mad About You starring Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser. He was adopted from a California shelter by animal trainer, Boone Narr. Betty Linn, Mauri's current trainer, says he's much smarter than his character on the show, who had a problem with getting lost and walking into walls. This famous pet definitely has a sense of humor and his favorite tricks are pretending to relieve himself (which gets people's attention), shaking his head, rolling over, sneezing and crawling.

Moose was a Jack Russell Terrier we know better as Eddie from the hit TV sitcom Frazier. Moose wasn't a pet adopted from a shelter, but he's a famous pet who gave his first owners so much trouble that they gave him away to a Florida company who trains animals for roles in TV and movies. After six months of training, Moose was on his way to a trainer in Los Angeles, and from there TV history was made when he landed the role of Eddie and stole our hearts.

These are just some of the famous pets who were adopted from shelters, each one a unique and talented animal who left us smiling.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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