Pluto

Pluto the Dog.
via Fair Use for commentary purposes.
As you probably know, Pluto the dog is a lanky, mustard yellow hound mix who belongs to a mouse called Mickey.

He has been coined as a mutt, but seems to be fashioned after a pointer and a bloodhound. He has a very good tracking ability and sense of smell. Walt Disney Productions first introduced Pluto in 1930, and at the time, he was Minnie Mouse's pet dog. He has been called Pluto the Pup as well as Rover, and is considered to be a part of the group that has been coined the “Sensational Six”, which are featured in all kinds of shows and films, such as the popular "Mickey's Clubhouse" series. The Sensational Six includes Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Daisy, and Pluto.

When Pluto was first introduced into the cartoons, he was a dog with no name who was sent out to track down the escaped convict, Mickey Mouse. The cartoon was called "The Chain Gang", and the dog who would later become Pluto was drawn by Norm Ferguson. The same dog later appeared in a cartoon called "The Picnic" and was Minnie's dog, who was then named Rover. He was liked enough that the dog switched hands again and became Mickey's pet, and was dubbed Pluto in 1931.

Why Does My Dog Pee Everywhere?

Fire hydrants are ranked highly among the long
suffering victims of recklessly urinating dogs!
Throughout the ages, people who talk about dogs have often pondered and speculated about the peculiar canine act known as "marking." Dogs will sniff very excitedly over every possible nook and cranny they think they can stick their nose in. Sometimes they will skim over certain areas and pay little attention to them, and other times they will stick their nose as far down into the grass as possible and sniff like their lives depend on it.

Often, dogs - both male and female - will smell an area and then pee right then and there, or close by. As the dog's owner, you can perceive that in most cases, when a dog is peeing on a tree or hydrant in your area, it is likely one that has been peed on by one, or many, other dogs.

Much of the talk has been about dogs using their urine as a way to show dominance, ownership, or communicate in some way. This idea can be taken in a couple of directions. Male dogs seem to pee every which way they can, sometimes lifting their leg and sometimes not. Female dogs rarely, and some never, lift their leg to urinate. Not much research has been done on this aspect of things, meaning we don't really know why boys lift their legs and girls don't. Maybe it's just the difference in the plumbing?

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

To some dogs, this looks delicious!
It is an age-old question of dog owners everywhere. Why does my pooch munch on my lawn? I mean, should we offer a side salad with kibble?

Of course, not all dogs eat grass, but the ones who do seem very set upon doing it! Some will chew some grass only to end up throwing it up later, but go back for more the next time. So why do they even have the urge? Well, there is no clear and undisputed science on this, but there are some interesting speculations.

Many dog owners are under the impression that their dog eats grass because he has an upset stomach. I mean, when I was growing up, I heard that as an explanation. Did you? But if this is true, why do many dogs throw up the grass afterward? Well, one thought is, "they meant to do that." Much like when you feel really sick and wish you would toss your proverbial cookies, just to get that bad feeling out of your belly. The problem with this thought is that it seems unlikely that your dog would think about eating grass as a solution to a problem, if he had no basis for his reasoning. Who taught the dog that grass makes him throw up? Is it instinctive? It seems an unlikely prospect, though not entirely impossible. Besides that, due to the fact that a large number of grass eating dogs don't throw it up, this suggestion is low on the probability scale.

Dog History: The Sainted Dog

greyhound illustration public domain
In the French tale, the dog is a greyhound.
There is a legend, whether truth or fiction (likely fiction born out of some former truth, as most legends are), of a dog risen to sainthood, after protecting a child and receiving a swift execution as his reward.

There are two stories, one Welsh and one French, both with similar motifs, and one was almost certainly copied from the other. We'll focus on the French one first, and touch on the Welsh one later.

In this tale, a French noble from the 13th century raised a greyhound named Guinefort like it was his child, and had a great trust for the dog due to this relationship with him. Some stories say the man was a prince, while others say he was a nobleman or knight, but that is neither here nor there. What is important to know is that this lofty French fellow later had a baby with his wife, and began raising the child with his beloved dog. He trusted the dog so much that he decided that he could leave his baby alone with the dog while he went out hunting (OK, so he's not in the running for Father of the Year or anything here!). It is unknown where the baby's mother was when this noble hunter decided to go off hunting and not scrounge up a few bucks (17th century French bucks, of course) for a sitter.

Benji

benji pr photo
A Benji publicity photo.
Benji is one of the most famous movie dogs in the world.

There have been several Benji movies made since 1974. The dog is played by a mixed breed or mutt in each movie, which is great publicity for "mutts", and there have been at least 4 different mutts to play Benji. He is a small lovable dog who is quite clever, always solving problems and helping people. The first Benji character was a stray dog who living in a small town in Texas, and had many human friends that keep him fed and cared for. This version of Benji doesn't want to settle down with any one owner, he likes to play the field! Each Benji movie has a slightly different, but similar, plot.

There were six movies featuring Benji the dog, one of which was a Christmas movie. There was also a science fiction type TV show created by Joe Camp with Benji as a character. This aired in 1983 and had 13 episodes. It was popular enough to have reruns air throughout the 1980's and it was released on DVD in 2004. The series was called Benji, Zax and the Alien Prince (we couldn't make this stuff up)! There was also a documentary called the Phenomenon of Benji which aired as an ABC special and featured the search for a dog to star in the new movie, from animal shelters across the US.