Behind the Scenes

Iguana be in pictures?

From a lizard to a lucky dog, prime time gets into heavy petting.

It's tough out there for animal actors looking to follow the wagging tail of Frasier's popular Eddie. A kennelful of hounds has already come and gone this season: The X-Files' Agent Scully found a new home for the pooch she inherited while working with a psychic, The Preston Episodes' David Preston gave back a Labrador puppy when the real owners came to claim it, and the Maybe This Time gals had to part with their cairn terrier, not to mention the miniature poodle named Fifi that Dr. Quinn will receive and then give away in a Christmas episode. There are, however, four other nonhuman thespians that may manage to get their paws (or claws) on the TV-pet walk of fame:

Salty, Caroline in the City. Real name: Tiki. Breed: Himalayan cat. Age: Approximately 8 years. Credits: Played Sassy (voiced by Sally Field) in 1993's Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Special talent: ''She can pick her paw up and wave,'' says trainer Tammy Maples, of Jungle Exotics. Biggest challenge: ''It took a while for her to get used to working on the drafting table, which is slanted,'' says Maples. ''Now they have a little railing for her.'' Finest moment: When a sickly Caroline (Lea Thompson) needs ginger ale, Salty carries a Post-it note stuck to her tail downstairs to Del (Eric Lutes). Favorite treat: Canned white chicken meat.

Gordie Howe Kronk Jr., Chicago Hope. Real name: Oatmeal. Breed: ''God only knows,'' says Cindy James, of Frank Inn Animal Trainers, who rescued the mutt from a Castaic, Calif., pound. ''She has a terrier coat, the color of a German shepherd, and is built like a wolf.'' Age: Approximately 3. Credits: Lawnmower Man II: Beyond Cyberspace, Du Pont Stainmaster carpet commercial. Special talent: Getting along with other canine actors. ''She doesn't fight,'' says James. Biggest challenge: Getting used to the deep voice of Peter Berg, who plays Dr. Kronk. ''He's supposed to come in and scream at her, and dogs don't know it's acting,'' says James. ''So she took it personally.'' Favorite treat: Rollover, a meat by-product sold ''in a loaf like bologna.''

Harley, The Drew Carey Show. Real name: Brutus. Breed: Water monitor lizard, from Thailand. Age: ''He's a full-grown lizard-it's hard to tell,'' says trainer Gina Brockett, of Animal Actors of Hollywood. ''He could be 5 years old, he could be 100.'' Credits: Costarred with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando in 1990's The Freshman. Big break: ''In Thailand, they use the skins for boots,'' says Brockett. ''So his big break is that he's an acting lizard and not a boot lizard.'' Biggest challenge: Just about anything. ''Brutus' intelligence is a step above boiled cabbage,'' says Brockett. Finest moment: Sticking his nose into the pockets of Drew's backyard pool table. Favorite treat: Raw beef.

Lucky, Married...With Children. Real name: Lucky. Breed: Cocker spaniel. Age: 7 months. Big break: Once Buck retired after nine years of loyal service as Married's house pet, trainer Steven Ritt hand-picked the cocker spaniel at a Ventura dog show to be the Bundys' new dog. It's the pup's first job. Biggest challenge: Doing a scene in a troll-like wig. ''He wasn't thrilled, but he accepted it,'' Ritt says. Finest moment: After entering the scene carrying a shoe, Lucky hits his mark, lies down, and then chews the shoe. ''That was actually a combination of six commands,'' says Ritt proudly. Favorite treat: Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Beef & Rice Roll.

Originally posted Nov 03, 1995 Published in issue #299 Nov 03, 1995 Order article reprints
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