A Who's Who of Cool and Clever Canines
When I wrote the first version of this book, I hadn’t lived with a dog since childhood. I’m vaguely aware of being attacked by a Great Dane and recall being scared of our calm and placid boxer, Sue. My life as a city-bound travel writer didn’t make dogs a reasonable option. So, I became a cat person, and remained a devoted one for decades.
But as I penned my dog book, my respect and admiration for these extraordinary beings grew. Tales of their courage and loyalty moved me considerably. But living in dog-unfriendly Dubai with two highly territorial Siamese cats, the prospect of sharing my life with a canine still seemed as remote as ever.
Then, during a healing trip to the island of Samui, Thailand, my relationship with canines changed forever. And it was all because of a street puppy who was to be known as Sam. He had fallen asleep underneath my rental car. When I carelessly drove off from my hotel one morning, I broke both of the little chap’s legs.
Whether I liked it or not, I now had a dog. And one that needed urgent surgery, rehabilitation, and, eventually a safe home. Sam’s reaction to the accident and to his treatment confirmed everything I’d read and started to feel about dogs. As you will see elsewhere on this website, he had a happy but cruelly short life in the Scottish countryside with my lovely friend, Claire.
He gave me so much that day when we met in such an unfortunate way. Brave little Sam has been as much a part of my healing journey as I’ve been of his. Knowing and loving him has added poignancy and meaning to this book.
The original publisher went out of business before publication, and I’m writing a bigger and better version now.
Illness has forced me to postpone the publication of Famous Dogs: A Who’s Who of Cool and Clever Canines. Please sign up to my newsletter to stay updated.
Famous dogs have changed history, held public office, and inspired great literature. They’ve inherited fortunes, gone to war, solved crimes and saved countless lives. And they’ve starred in movies, comedies, soap operas, and TV commercials.
Famous dogs in fiction have entered popular culture as puppets, comic strips, cartoons, and as characters in movies and literature.
Real life famous dogs
Did you know…
- Dogs saved the lives of Alexander the Great and Napolean Bonaparte before their biggest battles?
- Why the Collie who starred in the Lassie movies failed his first audition for the original Lassie Go Home and how he ended up playing the female lead in seven films from 1943-51?
- A Cocker Spaniel rescued Richard Nixon’s career long before his presidency and the Watergate scandal?
- How a black and white Collie mix made it possible for England’s footballers to raise the World Cup in 1966?
- Two hero Huskies who led a five-day sledge relay to carry medication to a remote Alaskan community ended up as abandoned rescue dogs?
- How close Moose, the Jack Russell who played Eddie in TV’s Frasier, came to death at an animal shelter?
Fictional famous dogs
Did you know…
- Why Toto from L. Frank Baum’s 14-book Wizard of Oz series starts talking in the eight book?
- Dodie Smith was so inspired one morning by an Enid Blyton story that she began writing a book about spotty dogs and didn’t stop until 3.00 am – when she had devised the plot and characters for The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
- How Beagle Snoopy was originally named Sniffy and that his cartoon strip’s popularity peaked with 355 million readers of 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries and 21 languages.
- Scooby-Doo was nearly a Sheepdog called Too Much before his 1969 debut and how TV executives boosted his part so the cartoon — originally known as Who’s Scared? — would be less frightening for children?
- Dr Who’s robotic K-9 was going to be called F1D0 and played by an actor inside a Doberman costume?
- Gromit was originally a cat but the Wallace & Gromit movie animator Nick Park found it easier to model a plasticine dog?
These are just some of hundreds of marvellous mutts who appear in Famous Dogs: A Who’s Who of Cool and Clever Canines.
Good Wolf Books
Publication in 2017
eBook and paperback
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