Summer Movie Madness: Learning from pets in film

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I’ve always been a bit of a movie-buff. Back in the day (which I find slightly ridiculous to say since I’m in my early 20s) before Netflix, Red Box and $10 movie tickets everyone knew where to find me on a Saturday afternoon, the movie theater. Summer Movie Season has always been one of my favorite parts of the year. Sitting in a big, dark theater with a bucket of buttery popcorn watching the latest animated feature always felt like a great adventure.

Looking back at the films I loved as a child I realized one thing: most of what I know about pets comes from those movies. Who didn’t think all black cats were mean after seeing “Cinderella”? Who didn’t want a mutt after seeing “Lady and the Tramp”?

With the release of the finale of the highest grossing film franchise of all time today, I felt like it’s the perfect day to highlight some classic film pets that taught us about love, family and right from wrong.

As a member of Gen-Y you’ll have to excuse me if I’ve forgotten some important pets. Plus, if I mentioned all of them this blog would probably take you an hour to read! If you don’t see your favorite movie pet here leave us a comment telling us about your favorites!

 

Lassie- “Lassie Come Home” (1943)

Lassie, the world’s most famous dog, has been a house hold name since the 1940s. First appearing on the big screen in the feature “Lassie Come Home” this rough collie has appeared in 11 feature films and had her own television show for almost 20 years! Before running off to save Timmy from falling down yet another well (I should note that Timmy never actually did fall down a well), Lassie taught us the importance of unconditional love.

 

Lucifer-”Cinderella” (1943)

I can’t help but think that this cunning cat has something to do with the way we stereotype cats, especially in films! Lucifer lived to annoy Cinderella and her tiny friends. From waiting for the perfect moment to trot up the stairs with dirty paws right as she finished cleaning to finding ways to pester Gus, Jaq and their mousey friends, Lucifer definitely was not a lazy, fat cat!

 

Lady and Tramp-”Lady and the Tramp” (1955)

Teaching us that true love can be found anyways “Lady and the Tramp” is the classic story of the wealthy girl that falls for the playboy from the wrong side of the tracks. After running away from her owner’s Aunt Sarah, Lady enjoys a “collar”-free day with Tramp, but is later warned about Tramp’s playboy ways. A tumultuous fight ensues in the rain between the two, followed by a run in with an evil rat. After proving his love for his Lady, Tramp and the audience get to enjoy a classic happily ever after.

 

Old Yeller- “Old Yeller” (1957)

We like to think that there aren’t a whole lot of things that could make a grown many cry. However, if there is one thing that can do it, it’s Old Yeller. The story of a boy forced to become a man and the bond he shares with his heroic pup can make the manliest man shed a tear. Old Yeller taught us one of the hardest lessons of all: our time with our pets is limited. After saving the Coates family from a number of dangerous situations, Old Yeller is attack by a pack of rabid wolves. When rabies infected Yeller almost attacks his younger brother, Travis (Yeller’s boy owner) has to face the fact that he has end his best friend’s life.

 

Pongo- “101 Dalmatians” (1961)

Transforming from a comical match maker to a determined hero overnight, Pongo taught us youngsters the importance of family. Stopping at nothing to save his pups –as well as 84 other puppies– from the evil Cruella de Vil, Pongo and his family taught us that you don’t have to be big and powerful to stand up for what’s right.

Benji- “Benji” (1974)

One of Oprah’s favorite big screen stars, Benji isn’t your ordinary canine hero. Instead of a great and powerful purebred, Benji was a scrappy mutt. Loved and fed by many people within his town Benji fell in love with two children. When the children are kidnapped, Benji does all he can to save his pals. Teaching us to never judge a book by its cover, in later Benji films this stray had to escape from hit men and solve murder mysteries, when did Lassie ever have to do that?

 

Charlie- “All Dogs Go to Heaven” (1989)

Charlie B. Barkin didn’t do a single good deed before his death. Making his way into heaven because all dogs go to heaven, Charlie cheats death and learns that once his time runs out he won’t be returning. Teaching us about redemption and second chances, we got to watch as Charlie manages to put aside his need for revenge to save the day and a little girl.

Chance, Sassie and Shadow- “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” (1993)

A story of determination, perseverance and family Homeward Bound made many of us run home and give our pet a big hug. In the face of a long and dangerous journey to find their owners, whom the pets believe have abandoned them, Change, Sassie and Shadow do anything they can to make it back to their owners. While we all wish that our pets would be this determined if they were ever lost, it also made us realize how important our pets really are.

 

Marley- “Marley and Me” (2008)

The newest addition to our list is everyone’s favorite “un-trainable” yellow lab Marley. We all knew how the story was going to end and yet we still let ourselves fall in love with this neurotic dog. Always hungry and always hyper many would call Marley a nightmare dog. However, his extreme love and devotion to his family made Marley perfect. I think “Marley and Me” is a great example for most families with problem pets. Behavior problems lead many to abandon or give up their pet. However, Marley helped teach us that even though you may be at you

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