I’m writing this on the same day that Joe Biden is being inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. While there are many serious things to read about surrounding his incoming administration, I chose instead (at least for today) to focus on a bit of levity: his dogs. Biden is bringing two German Shepherds with him to the White House, Champ and Major, and for the first time since Bill Clinton’s cat Socks, a rescue animal will be part of the First Family. This pleasant fact got me thinking about dogs, and how important they are to our society.
Outside of politics, dogs have of course been a vital component of the film industry. They’ve served minor roles to help show the personality of a human character, like Elle Woods’ chihuahua Bruiser in Legally Blonde, or can be main characters themselves, like the titular Air Bud. The prominence of dogs in film made me wonder how many have reached the pinnacle of fame; that is, how many have been given stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And I must say, I was extremely disappointed with what I found.
There are only THREE dogs on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and NO OTHER ANIMALS have stars. Not even Secretariat or Seabiscuit! Who are these three dogs, you may ask? They’re Strongheart, Rin Tin Tin, and Lassie (the fictional dog Lassie, played by multiple different Border Collies over the years). From this short list, one glaring omission jumped out at me—that’s right folks, the legendary Toto didn’t make the cut.
Now this may just bother me so much because my childhood dog was a Cairn Terrier just like Toto (RIP Knuckles), but I also think there’s a strong case that Terry (the dog who played Toto) deserves to have a star on the Walk of Fame. She appeared in 22 films during her 11 years of life, an average of two a year. Her most successful film, The Wizard of Oz, is considered one of the greatest films of all time and was one of the first 25 films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Terry’s performance in that film (as a major character), the longevity of her career, and her cultural impact all make her a no-brainer for the Walk of Fame.
I don’t know what kind of pull Joe Biden has with Hollywood, and he has many more important things on his plate (like addressing climate change, systemic racism, wealth inequality, and a pandemic), but once he’s got time for some lower priority items, his mandate is clear: get Terry a star on the Walk of Fame!!
Darren Incorvaia can be followed on Twitter @MegaDarren.