Revisiting 167 years of New York Times history to provide obituaries for female pets who never got them.
This Rough Collie could play with equal ease a farm dog saving members of the human race and a loving master to orphaned children. Lassie’s loyalty inspired the term “woman’s best friend.” When she co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in Lassie Come Home, she “accidentally” knocked over Liz’s cocktails, a futile effort to keep her mentor from addiction. The first feminist canine thespian barked incessantly, demanding equal pay for female Collies. Only after her death was it revealed that Lassie was played mostly by male dogs because their coats were plusher. She and multiple he’s died peacefully in their masters’ beds in 1953, 1962, 1971 and well into the ’80s.
Born as Terry, she was abandoned by a childless couple who grew impatient with her rug wetting. Adopted by a show business dog trainer, this Cairn Terrier made 13 films, retiring as the wealthiest dog in history. In her twilight years, she founded SAGD, the Screen Actors Guild for Dogs. She suffered from PTSD after her trauma watching Dorothy kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Halloween trick-or-treaters made her freak out in spite of her cocktail of meds. Relentlessly, she entered rehab, attempting to cure her addiction to Milk Bones and recover from her fear of water. Living to 64 in human years, she died by her own paw in 1945, spared from facing humiliating replacement by the Beethovens and Benjis of Hollywood. Her will stipulated that she be buried on a farm, as far as possible from tornadoes and the grave of Margaret Hamilton.
DON CORLEONE’S CAT
This stray never imagined she’d be rescued from homelessness on the Paramount lot by Francis Ford Coppola, catapulted into fame in one of the most iconic movies of all time. Coppola wrote her into the script at the last minute, but Tabby hissed when Brando improvised his way back into the spotlight. During filming her raucous purring stifled Brando’s words. He kept reprimanding her, “Quiet down, you stupid slut!” Her ancestors from 15 litters posthumously filed a harassment claim, but it was beyond the statute of limitations. Tabby succumbed to nonstop postpartum depression. Coppola bought a $10,000 Cirpriano urn from Venice to store her ashes. He is determined to leave it to Sofia in his will — even though she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want her old man’s stuff.
Disney created a cat with three lives, beginning as Thomas in 1912. She was renamed Thomasina when her family realized she was a girl. Thomasina was the first transgender feline, which she confessed to Bastet, the Egyptian goddess, on her first trip to the afterlife. The novel from which this overlooked film was inspired, The Cat Who Thought She Was God, had a sequel called The Cat Who Thought He Was A Woman. Unsurprisingly, Thomasina died after her nine lives expired. Her family never accepted her gender identity, but pounced back after her death when they contested her will, cat-fighting for a piece of the royalty pie.
She was probably born on a coral reef across the Indo-Pacific, fertilized among 40,000 spawned eggs. Her parents immediately swam off, and she was raised by a school of surgeonfish. The first blue tang to star in a billion-dollar-grossing animated movie, Dory couldn’t recall being abandoned. Nor when she was born. Therefore it’s unclear how old she was when she died in 2012 of Alzheimer’s. Fishy theories abound that she was replaced by a lookalike from Petco in her custom-built tank in the Pixar studio. Thanks to Ellen DeGeneres, Dory’s strong belief that the ocean is half full rather than half empty will live on, enduring eternally in multiple sequels. Asked once to describe herself, Dory said, “I already forgot your question.”
President Lincoln’s pet goat was a feisty piece of chêvre, pulling Lincoln’s sons through the Oval Office on kitchen chairs. Nanny and sibling Nanko gnawed everything from the furniture in the Lincoln Bedroom to priceless Civil War maps adorning the President’s office. Her antics caused such friction between Abraham and Mary Ann Todd that the couple had a brief, but highly secret, stint in marriage counseling — abruptly halted due to his assassination in 1865. Mrs. Lincoln got rid of the goats before she even donated her husband’s clothes to Goodwill, according to their head cook Cornelia Mitchell. No one really knows what became of the whimsical duo, and for all we know they ended up braised and stewed. Thank goodness the Emancipation Proclamation was unscathed.
The Taco Bell spokesdog stroked out in 2009 at the age of 15 after a lucrative career pushing unhealthy fake-Mexican fast food to inner city teenagers. The talented Chihuahua spent her free time sun worshipping in Cancun. Her career rebounded when she partnered with Gecko, Geico’s advertising icon, who is still alive, wealthy, and feasting on freshly fried crickets. Gecko is currently spearheading the movement opposing the construction of the Border Wall, creating a Go-Fund-Me in Gidget’s honor. At the funeral, the pastor, decked out in a serape and sombrero, opined, “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!,” insisting that Gidget was not a cultural stereotype.
Barbra Streisand defended cloning her euthanized Coton de Tulear Sammie, née Samantha, into Miss Violet and Miss Scarlet. People — especially with $50,000 to burn — are truly the luckiest pee-pull in the world! Streisand’s DNA is currently being stored in an undisclosed location in Flatbush to eventually clone the next Funny Girl. Sammie lives on perpetually and digitally, with a whopping three Instagram followers. Show your love! #samanthastreisand.