This is quite a silly subject for my first post, but as an avid crazy dog lady without the time to come up with a different idea, it’s conveniently fitting. If you haven’t had the fortune of forming a special bond with a pet, or even wanted to have a furry friend, you might hate this article and we would probably not get along in real life either.
I felt as though I should devote a piece to my favorite creature and how they have come to influence a bevy of great films and filmmakers, and managed to make those films even greater with their presence. Some of the dogs in these films haven’t gotten major screen time, yet they still managed to affect the story with their awesomeness. In one case, it’s not even a dog per se, but I’d say it plays the same basic role of one (especially because it reminds me of mine).
We’ve all seen the classic family pet films like Homeward Bound, Old Yeller, Lassie, and so on… I won’t dispute their greatness and ability to make me bawl, but I wanted to discuss the ones freshest on my feels barometer.
An example on how much a beloved pup can affect your life and come through in your art comes from a sickly dog named Pepe. Tim Burton’s childhood pet has long been dead but he continues to survive through the director’s reincarnations of him in his films like “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Corpse Bride,” and “Frankenweenie.” This now immortal dog is proof that pets make great muses. If my fur ball manages to inspire me in a way that would mean more money or accolades, she will for sure earn herself some treats.
Speaking of my out of control dog Cobra, the next film that I think displays the importance and inspiration of pets is “Lilo & Stitch.” Prior to Stitch and Lilo’s meet cute, Lilo is an outcast and lonely orphan struggling to readjust after the death of her parents. Once the maniacal but deep-down loving creature crashes into her life, Lilo’s life is improved for the better despite of Stitch running rampant and almost getting her killed for most of the film. I’m sure the writers and creators of this story must have owned a mischievous pet at some point in their lives.
Will Smith’s German shepherd partner, Sam, in “I am Legend” was easily one of my favorite pup accomplices in films. She contributed not only to his survival, but also to one of the saddest movie scenes I’ve ever seen. This film displays the power of a wonderful and reluctant partnership that can get you through the toughest of times.
Lastly is “Marley and Me”. This movie truly captures what dogs can add to your life, unconditional love that supersedes the chaos. The writer’s real life pooch provided him with the inspiration for his most successful work that millions of dog owners can infinitely relate to.
Honorable TV Mentions – Wishbone taught me every Lit thing I know. Wilfred (U.S. Version because I’m not hip enough to have seen the original) has made me laugh a ton with its personification of a ranting perverse pup. Peanuts TV specials were my childhood jam, and Snoopy’s character remains a favorite of mine but he’s definitely tied with the temperamental Woodstock.