Monthly Archives: November 2009

Santa Buddies

Just in time for the holiday season in 2009 Disney put out their latest in the “Buddies” movies – “Santa Buddies”. The movie stars a group of puppies (“the Buddies”) who decide to take a vacation to the North Pole. One of the puppies is on the “naughty” list and the son of Santa Paws, Puppy Paws decides to show him how to be a good puppy while the entire gang tries to teach everyone the true meaning of Christmas.

Puppy Paws and Santa Paws are reported as being a Great Pyrenees while the Buddies are retrievers. Great Pyrenees are very large (over 100 pounds) herding dogs from the Basque region of Spain and France. Retrievers are very popular pets and often very friendly, especially as puppies. Continue reading

Benji

From 1974 to 2000 there was a series of movies starring a small yet lovable mixed breed dog named Benji. While each movie was unique, they all had a similar theme – the dog was always at the right place at the right time (to save people, set things right, and so on).

The first Benji was discovered in an animal shelter in Burbank, CA by trainer Frank Inn, named Higgins. He was allegedly a miniature poodle, miniature schnauzer, and cocker spaniel mix. When the movie was cast Higgins had already established himself as a dog actor. In the mid-1960s Higgins had roles in Petticoat Junction and Green Mile TV series. In 1971 he starred in the film, “Mooch Goes to Hollywood”. Frank Inn was convinced to bring Higgins out of retirement for the 1974 film, Benji when Higgins was 15 years old but that didn’t stop old Higins from doing all of his own stunts. Higgins died on November 11, 1975 and his ashes are buried with his owner, Frank Inn.

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Old Yeller

Old Yeller was a children’s book adapted for the screen by Disney in 1957. The story is about a poor post-civil war family who is very poor. While tending to the livestock one day, the older son (Travis – played by Tommy Kirk) notices a stray dog. He tries to shoo the dog away but the younger son (Arliss – played by Kevin Corcoran) becomes quite attached to the dog. Their mother (Katie – played by Dorothy McGuire) reasons that they could use a good dog around the house. The dog was named “Old Yeller” (yellow) due to his yellowish color. He was played by a mixed breed (yellow lab / mastiff mix) adopted out of the Van Nuys Animal Shelter in Van Nuys, California by trainers Frank and Rudd Weatherwax named “Spike” (he wasn’t credited for the role). Spike also had an uncredited role in the 1957 fantasy-horror film, “The She-Creature”. In the book Old Yeller was a Black Mouth Cur.

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Dug and his pack from Up

Normally I do not intend to do animated films but Pixar’s “Up” really hits home with their dogs.

First, we meed Dug, a retriever (voiced by Bob Peterson). What’s unique about Dug is that he has a collar that converts his thoughts to words we (humans) can understand. Dug is a very typical retriever – in love with everyone he meets and wants to be their best friend. of course, Dug is also not the brightest dog you’ve ever met nor the most attractive but what he lacks in intelligence and looks he over-compensates in sweetness and personality. SQUIRREL! Continue reading