I've been meaning to write about Uggie who 'stars' in the silent film The Artist for a while now, but haven't really had the hook I've needed...until now. He's going to be retired (from feature films) by his owners after he's competed for the Golden Collars canine movie awards in February. By letting Uggie grow old peacefully, rather than pushing him back into the Hollywood limelight, his trainers at the Animal Savvy agency have shown a great respect for this Jack Russell. After all, there are plenty of less scrupulous trainers who'd have kept Uggie going to cash in on his celebrity.
interviewed an ‘old, ill and poor Italian’ who owned three dancing dogs. Originally, he had arrived from Palma with ten dogs, but over the years they
had died - it's unclear how they died, but you can be sure it wasn't just from old age. Mayhew reports that the Italian was kind to his animals, but, through necessity, he had to make them work hard on the streets to earn a living. He dressed them in jackets and hats and he played music while they danced, jumped over sticks and through hoops. These
dogs performed from 9am to 7-8pm, dancing between 20-40 times a day; and for
all this effort the performances were rewarded with only two or three
shillings, and sometimes nothing at all. It was a dog's life...
(Images: Uggie image from the NME website and (right) Charles Wood and his dancing dog, 1815, from John Thomas Smith's Vagabondiana from Spitalsfield Life blog)