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Kick Back with a Pet Movie

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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It's finally Friday - relax after your long week with your favorite pet movie! Sit back, snuggle in with your furry kids, and help yourself to a bowl of popcorn.

If you're looking to rent or purchase a pet movie for your cinema night, there are many ideas below. We've compiled a list (in no particular order) of some of the all-time best, family-friendly movies starring dogs and/or cats.


Old Yeller This drama / adventure movie produced in 1957 by Walt Disney Productions is about a poor, frontier family and the love they share with their yellow, mixed-breed dog. Old Yeller came into this family's lives when the sons find him as a stray. The dog's commitment and gratitude toward his new family is highlighted throughout the film. Near the movie's end is one of movie history's most heart-wrenching and memorable scenes. Be sure to have your tissues ready!

Benji An adventure film from 1974, Benji is an adorable, family-friendly movie which led to multiple sequels. Benji was a stray who was befriended and fed by the townspeople. He was especially fond of a couple children who would feed and play with him, despite their parent's wishes to stay away from the dog. When the children are kidnapped, Benji lends a helping paw in the quest to save them.

Where the Red Fern Grows This film, originally from 1974 and remade in 2003, is a true story about a young boy and his two red-bone hound hunting dogs. Set in the Great Depression, the boy works hard to earn enough money to purchase these dogs. The boy and the two dogs embark on a hunting adventure through the Ozark Mountains, facing tragedies and victories. Throughout his time with the dogs, the boy learns valuable lessons in hard work and friendship.

Lassie Come Home An adventure / drama film originally from 1943, this movie is a classic that has been enjoyed through the generations. Lassie is a beautiful Collie who is sold by her family during hard times. Despite this unfaithful action by the adult members of Lassie's family, she is committed to returning to the small boy who misses her dearly. The movie takes you through the ups and downs of her journey home. You will laugh, cry, and be amazed at the talented acting of this famous, canine movie star.
TV series, spin-offs, and remakes abound from this classic. Most recently, there were remakes of the movie in 1994 and 2005. Lassie is one of only three dog characters to win a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Shaggy D.A. A Disney classic originally made in 1976, this comedy is about a lawyer running for the position of District Attorney whose race for the seat is complicated by a reoccurring change of species. At the most unfortunate of times this lawyer finds himself transforming into an English Sheepdog. This comedy will have you laughing as the lawyer turned canine runs from dog catchers, tries to hide his transformations from his family and friends, and embarks on a quest to solve the mystery of his changing body.
Disney remade this film in 2006, titled The Shaggy Dog and starring Tim Allen.

Lady and the Tramp A Walt Disney classic from 1955, this is an animated love story of a classy Cocker Spaniel named Lady and a stray mutt who goes by Tramp. Join them in their fight to be together despite their differences. Even those who haven't seen the movie know it contains one of Disney's most famous animated scenes - the spaghetti noodle kiss!

101 Dalmatians Another Walt Disney classic, originally made in 1961, this animated film is loaded with canine adventure. The dreaded Cruella De Vil steals Dalmatians to make a Dalmatian skin coat. One litter's parents, Pongo and Perdita, desperately try to save the pups before Cruella has her way.
In 1996, this film was remade in an unanimated, live-action version.

Dr. Doolittle Originally a musical in 1967 and remade as a comedy starring Eddie Murphy in 1998, Dr. Doolittle is loaded with fun for all ages. Dr. Doolittle is a veterinarian who discovers that he can understand what animals are saying, and the animals flock to him, happy that someone speaks their language!

The 1967 musical sends the good doctor on a journey to find Great Pink Sea Snail. Along the way he meets and talks to many other exotic creatures. The song, "If I Could Talk to the Animals", was popularized by this movie.

In the 1998 version (PetPlace.com's 2002 Pet Movie of the Year award winner), the doctor faces criticism from his skeptical family and friends, and his successful career may be at stake. Eddie Murphy went on to star in Dr. Doolittle 2, which includes a humorous appearance from the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.

Turner and Hooch A 1989 comedy starring Tom Hanks, Turner and Hooch will give you a soft spot for the canine officers who serve and protect their human police partners and their community. You will laugh at the antics and messes of the goliath dog, Hooch, a Dogue de Bordeaux. While teetering on the edge of your seat through the crime-fighting action, you will feel tugs at your heart strings from the unending commitment between dog and human officer.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey This adventure film from 1993 stars a Golden Retriever named Shadow (voiced by Don Ameche), a Himalayan named Sassy (voiced by Sally Field), and an American Bulldog named Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox). These three pets owned by a family with three children get along at home like typical human siblings - they love one another but they have their share of disagreements. When the family takes a road trip, they are left with pet-sitters, family friends who live on a farm. Confused and feeling abandoned, the trio embarks on a long and sometimes dangerous journey homeward.

Shadow is the old, wise leader of the group, while Sassy is the prissy, smart-aleck who isn't always too keen on "roughing-it", and Chance is the young, trouble-maker sometimes making the trip extra challenging.


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