From almost the beginning of the medium, television shows have featured beloved pets, many of whom stole the show.
Cats, dogs, birds, and even a dinosaur, all made the list. Some pets were on screen to provide comic relief while others were integral parts of the cast. And while certain animal companions adored their human costars, others had to be bribed and cajoled into showing affection.
What we found most surprising was how many of our favorites came straight out of animal shelters and ended up becoming stars!
Whether they were on for a season or the entire run of a series here are 27 pets on TV that we’ll never forget.
Marcel - Friends
Marcel was Ross' pet Capuchin monkey on Friends Season 1. He first showed up as Ross' date for Monica's New Year’s Eve Party. Later, he ran off while Rachel was watching him, leading the the revelation that Marcel was an illegal exotic pet. Despite loving his little monkey, Marcel had to be sent to the San Diego Zoo when he reached sexual maturity and began humping every thing in sight.
Turns out that in real life, Marcel was actually a female named Katie. Katie had several other Hollywood roles including 30 Rock, the movie Bruce Almighty and she's also been spotted with Ariana Grande and Kendall Jenner. Not bad for a monkey.
Tiger - The Brady Bunch
The Brady Bunch started out with two pets but Carol's cat, Fluffy disappeared after the pilot. (We suspect foul play.) Tiger lasted a bit longer. The Bearded Collie was seen in a total of ten episodes but observant viewers will notice that Tiger was played by two different dogs. Tragically, the original Tiger was hit by a delivery vehicle during filming. The second Tiger turned out not to be as talented as the first and was simply fazed out with no explanation. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. We miss you.
Elvis - Miami Vice
Detective Sonny Crocket worked undercover, living on a boat in Miami as a drug dealer…and he had the most unusual pet: Elvis the alligator. As Crockett once explained, the alligator was a former mascot for Crockett's alma mater, the University of Florida Gators, and was forced to retire after biting a wide receiver from the University of Alabama. Crockett took him in as his “resident drug-sniffer and watch gator.” Elvis was actually played by two gators: Elvis and his stand-in, Presley.
Lassie - Lassie
Lassie is probably one of the most well known dogs in the world. The girl starred on her own series from 1954-1974 with several different scenarios in play over the years. She was, however, portrayed by a boy. The horror! Lassie saved many people and other animals from terrible situations and always knew how to get help, where to get help and how to find her way. And if you don't still use the phrase "Did Timmy fall in a well?" then maybe you're not human... Who knows if that was really a phrase on the show, but it sure could have been. And Lassie would have saved Timmy. Or Tommy before him.
Fred - I Love Lucy
Little Ricky brought home a puppy on I Love Lucy season 6. When Fred Mertz threatened to make them get rid of the dog as there were no pets allowed in the building, Little Ricky managed to change his mind by naming the adorable little dog, Fred.
The cute Cairn Terrier was played by Danny who also played Fremont on Dennis the Menace. Actress Lucille Ball was a lifelong dog lover which is obvious when she's cuddling little Fred in scenes where he won't go to sleep.
Lucky the Cat - Alf
When alien Alf came to live with the Tanner family, things got a little complicated for their cat, Lucky because on Alf's home planet of Melmac, felines were considered a culinary delicacy. Thankfully, Alf refrained from eating the adorable kitty but Lucky did pass away in season 4. The Tanner family got a new cat and named it Lucky II.
Paul Anka - Gilmore Girls
Named after the singer who wrote the 1960s song “Puppy Love”, Lorelai adopted this unique dog while she and daughter, Rory, were on the outs in season 6. We loved this canine's quirks which included, refusing to walk down the front steps, being scared of peas, lint, and popcorn among other things, and an aversion to normal dog toys. We hear this pooch will appear in the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival and we couldn't be happier.
Gary the Snail - SpongeBob SquarePants
Gary (full name Gerald Wilson Jr.) is SpongeBob SquarePants' pet snail. That's right, when you live at the bottom of the sea, you have a pet snail…that meows. Gary also, on occasion, has been known to roar and, even more rare, speak. But mostly this intelligent little snail gets his point across without having to say a word.
Happy - 7th Heaven
Happy first showed up in the pilot after little Simon begged and prayed for a dog and was with the show for its entire run, despite when that Camden family tried to take the dog back at the end of season 2!
In real life, Happy was a rescued stray who was abused. Fearful of men, the male members of the cast had to spend extra time with Happy in order to make her more comfortable. Unfortunately, this beloved terrier passed away in 2010 at the ripe old age of 15.
Bear - B.J. and the Bear
From 1979 to 1981 B.J. and the Bear aired on NBC. It followed the adventures of B.J McKay a truck driver and his pet chimpanzee, Bear, as they traveled the country helping people and solving crimes. Turns out there were several chimps who played Bear, one of which violently turned on its owner, mauling him severely in 2005. Some animals just should not be pets!
Vincent - Lost
This Labrador Retriever probably wishes he had missed his trip instead of flying in the cargo hold of Oceanic Flight 815. At least he got to be there in the end so that Jack wasn’t alone.
Comet - Full House
Comet first showed up in season 3 when the neighbor's dog, Minnie, ran away and gave birth to puppies on Jesse's bed. The dog's owner allowed the Tanners to keep one of the pups and little Michelle chose Comet who was with the family until the original series ended. The real Comet's name was Buddy. His owner found him as a stray in the Sierra Nevada mountains, took him home and trained him. Buddy could also be seen on America’s Funniest Home Videos, Late Show with David Letterman, the movies Air Bud: Golden Receiver and Fluke. Buddy died at age 10 from complications due to cancer.
Freeway - Hart to Hart
Freeway wasn't just the family pet (found along the freeway, mind you) on Hart to Hart. He even got in on the capers. He was often locked in cabinets (safe, safe I tell you!) because the baddies were worried he would be onto them and even was at the heart of a couple when he and his girlfriend witnessed a murder one time and he was on a dog food commercial with Max. On that one, the food was a special mix to make dogs extra aggressive. Oh no Freeway!! He always won out in the end. A hero!
Buck - Married with Children
Even though Buck is best remembered for his sarcasm, he actually didn't speak to insult his family (albeit only in his head) until season 4. Buck's death was written into the show to allow the real dog to retire due to old age. He could also be seen in the movie Scrooged in 1988. The real Buck passed away in 1996 at age 13.
Murray - Mad About You
Paul found Murray as a puppy and eventually met his future wife, Jamie, while walking him. Murray had his quirks. He often chased an invisible mouse and frequently ran into the bedroom wall. Maui, the collie mix who played Murray, was adopted from an animal shelter by a Hollywood animal trainer and, we're told, was much smarter than his fictional counterpart.
Salem - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Salem Saberhagen was a 500-year-old witch sentenced to spend 100 years as a cat by the Witches Council as punishment for attempting to take over the world. In essence, Salem was the TV version of the internet's Grumpy Cat, just in animatronic form.
Fred the Cockatoo - Baretta
Fred was originally written to be a mynah bird but when Hollywood bird trainer, Ray Berwick met with producers, he convinced them that Fred should be a Cockatoo. Several different Triton Cockatoos, both males and females played Fred but the most famous of which was a female named La-La. Another Cockatoo named Harold handled most of the flying stunt.
Flash - The Dukes of Hazzard
Flash was the adorable Basset Hound who belonged to bumbling Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and first came on the scene in season 3. Roscoe frequently referred to lovable Flash as “Velvet Ears” and although he originally wanted an attack dog, Flash loved everyone except Boss Hogg. The main dog to play Flash was named Sandy who was rescued from an animal shelter by animal trainer Alvin Mears. James Best, the actor who played Roscoe, bought a share of Sandy for $1 in order to help negotiate better deals for Sandy and Alvin. During some of the more dangerous stunts on set, a stuffed canine was used whom the cast referred to as Flush.
Brian - Family Guy
Brian is one of the oddest pets on TV. He's been with the Griffins since Peter brought him home as a stray but Brian is like no other dog. He talks. He walks on two legs and enjoys a good martini. Brian also speaks several languages, is a member of MENSA and likes to sing barbershop quartet. No wonder fans were so upset when the show tried to kill him off.
Eddie - Frasier
Eddie was owned by Frasier's father, Martin Crane and was seen for the entirety of the series. Played by Moose, a Parson Russell Terrier, he could fix Frasier with a hard stare that became a regular sight gag on the show. Moose wasn't thrilled about giving kisses, so sardine oil or liver pâté was used to get the canine to lick his human cast mates. Moose retired at age 10 and was replaced by his son Enzo for the final two seasons.
Santa’s Little Helper - The Simpsons
After Homer used the Christmas money to remove Bart's tattoo (long story) he took what little he had, went to the dog racing track and bet on Santa's Little Helper who came in last. When the dog's owner abandoned him, Homer and Bart brought the dog home, making it a merry Christmas after all. Santa's Little Helper has been the Simpson's pet ever since.
Zeus and Apollo - Magnum P.I.
Doberman Pinchers Zeus and Apollo were Higgins' beloved, exceptionally loyal, and highly trained dogs who helped patrol the Robin's Nest estate. They were played by several different canines throughout the series run, sometimes males, sometimes females. The producers considered writing the dogs out of the show in order to save money in season 4 but Tom Selleck and John Hillerman didn’t want the series to continue without “The Lads” and so they were saved.
Backup - Veronica Mars
Backup was the loyal Pit Bull owned by Keith and Veronica Mars. Veronica often took the pooch with her as protection. Keith would tell her, "Always take Backup." Backup was played by two different dogs. For the first few episodes he was initially played by the white and brown American Bulldog named Gordo, and was later replaced with peachy-cream colored Pit Bull named Lefty. Unfortunately, Backup passed away before the Veronica Mars revival movie.
Dino - The Flinstones
Dino was first seen in the pilot episode of The Flintstones, but his name was never mentioned until the fourth episode. Dino was a dinosaur with dog-like qualities. Save for one episode of the original series, Dino was voiced by Mel Blanc who was also the voice of Barney Rubble. In the many spinoffs that have followed, Dino has appeared in them all except the first season of "The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show” where the family pet was a dwarf mammoth named Wooly.
Petey - The Little Rascals
The original Petey (who started in the Our Gang series in the 1930 that later become known as The Little Rascals) was played by an American Pit Bull Terrier named Pal the Wonder Dog who had a natural partial ring around his eye which was completed with makeup. When Pal later passed away, his son Pete took over when he was only six months old. But Pete didn't have the natural ring so that was drawn on his fur with makeup. Pete lived to the ripe old age of 18 and was a beloved pet of his family.
Chestnut - 2 Broke Girls
Chestnut the horse lived in the garden of Caroline and Max's apartment. We never could figure out how these two got away with keeping a horse in Brooklyn for as long as they did. Eventually, they gave Chestnut to Peach who will put the horse up in a huge stable instead of having to stay in Max's bedroom to stay warm in the winter.
Scooby Doo - Scooby Doo, Where Are you?
Ruh-Roh. Can you really call Scooby a pet considering he is the lead character in several animated TV series, TV movies, and feature films beginning with the 1969 TV show “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” Scooby is a Great Dane owned by Shaggy Rogers. Scooby and his four teenage friends travel around in their van, nicknamed the Mystery Machine, solving crimes and other eerie mysteries.