Some of the world’s greatest artists, including George Gershwin, Judy Garland, and Walt Disney, have offered movie interpretations of the humble routine of taking a dog out for a walk. In honor of National Walk Your Dog Week, we present some paw-pounding highlights from Hollywood.
Walking the Dog from the 1937 Fred Astaire–Ginger Rogers comedy Shall We Dance shows how totally glamorous you can look at the end of the leash. When dancer Linda Keene (Rogers) takes her little white dog out for some poop-deck exercise on a luxury ocean liner, she does so in high heels and a full-length gown. She is pursued by Peter P. Peters (Astaire), in bow tie and boutonniere. Peters doesn’t have his own dog; he has to borrow one to get close to his love interest. Eventually, he wins over both girl and dog, by showing up with a pack of seven, including the ultimate in elegance, a Borzoi. This image is something to keep in mind the next time you’re tempted to step outside for your canine constitutional in sweatpants and slippers.
We’ve all heard stories about couples brought together by their dogs. In real life, we like to think that it’s just a matter of serendipity and that the dogs played no active role in making the love match. But in Disney’s 1961 animated feature—101 Dalmatians—the dog, a Dalmatian named Pongo, is very much in charge, as he sets out to find an “attractive mate” for his bipedal “pet,” Roger. In this scene, Pongo sizes up several prospects, as they stroll past his window on their daily walks.
Perhaps the most epic dog walk of all time starts with a colony of tiny people, known as Munchkins, urging a Kansas farm girl and her scrappy Cairn Terrier to “Follow the yellow brick road!” But you don’t have to be Dorothy and Toto or over the rainbow to find adventure with a canine pal. Just grab a leash and step outside your own door. After all, everyone knows there’s no place like home.