It’s a terrier’s world, we just live in it

Posts Tagged ‘Eddie

Snowy, superstar

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He was named for Tintin’s fox terrier by an eight year old girl who was just starting to read Herge’s adventures. Her eyes lit up when she saw him for the first time, as if he’d jumped out of the pages of her comic book. He’d been rescued in Hollywood running across a busy main road, dodging traffic. He then found a true and happy lifelong home with a dancer and an artist.

He was quite a dancer and artist himself. The first time he met the dancer he stood on his hind legs and performed a perfect pirouette. He performed with the Tiger Lillies, upstaging them with an inspired improvised comic gesture that brought the house down. They say he was more professional than them. He was well-travelled and when he wasn’t going off into the world for adventures the world came to him: bones from steak frittes in Paris were brought back to Los Angeles for him.

He was smart. When he was first rescued he lived in a house with three big dogs, and a labrador who was a day-dog there. He thought rings round all of them. When his bed was taken apart after he moved to his new home it was found to be full of big dog biscuits he’d taken from the big dogs.

Snowy’s life was cut short yesterday by a devestating form of cancer. He was nine years old.

Snowy was a cocktail, some poodle, some terrier, all the smart and sweet characteristics of whatever breeds he was made up of. His phenomenal ability to learn new tricks, and to enjoy performing them for a crowd, reminded me of Higgins, a terrier mix known to the movie world as Benji, who also appeared in Petticoat Junction, Greenacres and the Beverly Hillbillies. He was “marked like a Border Terrier and Frank Inn, his trainer, believed him to be a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer,” says his Wikipedia entry.

“Higgins had an extraordinary ability to convey a broad range of emotions through his facial expressions. Frank Inn, who trained thousands of animals of all species during his lifetime, told reporters that Higgins was the smartest dog he had ever worked with, and noted that during his prime years in television, he learned one new trick or routine per week, and that he retained these routines from year to year, making it possible for him to take on increasingly varied and complex roles. Higgins’s special tricks included climbing ladders, opening a mailbox and removing a letter, yawning, and sneezing on cue.”


Some of the best terrier stars started out as abandoned dogs. Higgins was rescued from the Burbank animal shelter. Moose, the Jack Russell who portrayed Eddie on on Frasier, was a wild puppy, and given away by his original owners.

Moose was born on Christmas Eve, 1990 in Florida, United States, the youngest littermate. He was the largest puppy in the litter. Like Pal, the original Lassie, the obstreperous puppy was too much for his original owner. According to an article by Lori Golden:

” In fact, chasing cats was one of the activities that led to this troubled terrier becoming one of TV’s most precious pooches. Originally owned by a Florida family, Moose was too hard to handle. He couldn’t be house trained; he chewed everything; he dug and barked a lot; and he was constantly escaping and climbing trees. Eventually given to the Florida manager of Birds and Animals Unlimited, a company that trains animals for TV and motion pictures, Moose was put on a plane at 2½ years old and sent to Mathilde DeCagny, an LA trainer working for the show-biz animal company. ”

DeCagny has been quoted as saying that Moose was very highly trainable and won the role on Frasier after only six months of training. Moose had the ability to fix Kelsey Grammer with a long hard stare; this became a running sight gag on the show.





Written by aterrier

May 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm