Woof! Woof! Its Rufus Woofman, your world famous dog correspondent. OK, maybe I’m not exactly world famous, but the dogs I will talk about today are nationally cherished figures. Dogs have been a key part of cinema since its inception, and they have certainly made their impact on the TV screen as well. From Toto in the Wizard of Oz, to Marley in Marley in Me, to Brian in Family Guy, dogs have captured the hearts and minds of their mostly human audiences. Without further ado, I present you: My Top 5 Dogs in Movies and TV.
*note- this blog contains a few spoilers
Dug is one of my personal favorites on this list. Dug plays an enthusiastic golden retriever in the movie Up, an uplifting Pixar film about an old man whose balloons transplant him to a faraway land full of adventure. Dug has a special collar that translates his thoughts into English. As a similar breed of dog, I can definitely relate to Dug, making him one of my favorite characters. I too get distracted and experience the sudden urge to go chase squirrels at inconvenient times. I too experience challenges with people who are surprised that I can speak English. Dug may not have the intelligence I possess, but he is a friendly, loyal, and very likeable dog that will make both humans and dogs want Dug to be their friend.
Movie: 9 Lassie Movies (1943-2006)
TV Series: Lassie(1954-1973)
This is a tough one simply because there have been so many different Lassies it’s hard to keep track of who Lassie really is. In the original novel, Lassie is a female border collie who rescued the lives of two young boys trapped in the snow. However, the real-life Lassie who inspired so many movies and a nearly 20-year TV series was a collie who saved the life a British soldier in World War I. The soldier was presumed to be dead, but Lassie licked him until he responded, and he was taken to the hospital and survived. A long-running TV series brought Lassie to prominence in America, where she eventually became one of the very few canines to earn a spot on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. While I personally prefer dogs who can speak human languages, there is no doubting Lassie’s fame and success, all of which was inspired from a great deed of heroism.
Movie: Anchorman, The Legend of Ron Burgundy(2004)
Rarely are dogs depicted as being the brains of the family in cinema, as they often relegated to the role of a sidekick. However, Baxter, a co-star of Anchorman with Will Ferrell, was clearly the voice of reason in the movie. Baxter keeps San Diego news anchor Ron Burgundy in check, gets his own food, and goes to the bathroom without prompting, He hangs out with Ron not because he needs him, but because he wants to keep him company. When Baxter gets punted off a bridge into the river by Jack Black, Ron Burgundy loses control, suffering a mental breakdown in which he feels “trapped in a glass cage of emotion.” It is fitting that Baxter ends up being the character to save the day at the end of the movie. Baxter’s journey down the river forces his character to grow, as he learns how to speak bear, a skill which comes in handy for when he must negotiate on behalf of Ron to prevent the bears from eating him and his co-anchor, Veronica Corningstone. In an otherwise silly movie, Baxter serves as the voice of reason for the humans in his life who are always messing things up. He learns how to live independently, and he stays loyal to his human friend despite his flaws. If you ask me, Baxter is a true role model.