2006-07-06 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets...

by Joanne Anderson

R.I.P. His real name was "Moose". You knew him as "Eddie" on TV. Frasier's Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) died last week at age 16. The canine character actor so amazed viewers, that many rushed out to get an impish pooch just like him.

Eddie's stardom ushered in a wave of popularity for his breed that is still going strong. Unfortunately many impulse buyers didn't stop to find out that terriers are feisty, and that if their energies are not channeled correctly, behavior issues surface. Far too many owners give up on them. Lots of Jack Russells wind up in the pound, just like Eddie (or Moose, his alter ego) did, when he was still a problematic pup.

Hailed as the "Lassie of the 90s", Eddie appeared for 10 years in 192 episodes as Kelsey Grammer's nemesis on the hit sitcom. From 1993, until he retired and turned the role over to his son in 2003, Eddie perfected his famous look, a stare that unnerved the stuffy radio shrinkFrasier Crane. It wasn't all an act because Eddie had a mischievous way about him. The terrier's trainer Mathilde Halberg taught him the endless glare by pointing her finger up. No matter what, Eddie had to look at the finger in front of her face. She conditioned him to ignore all sorts of distractions, and tricked him into licking his human co stars by strategically placing pat behind their ears.

Peter Pan, tuxedo kitten Peter Pan, tuxedo kitten Actually Eddie's son, Enzo, had already been doubling for him in the action shots for the last couple of years. Halberg found Enzo easier to train. He was as smart as his famous father, yet not as tough.

Eddie, then Moose, had a rough start. He was a regular dog delinquent. Originally owned by a Florida family, he was too hard to handlea chewer, barker, house soiler, and escape artist. He climbed up trees, and then chased cats and horses ad nauseum. In fact, he killed a cat. A stroke of good luck saved the tiny terror. When his owners gave him up because he was such a dynamo, a Florida manager of a company that trained animals for show business answered their last resort call and adopted him. At 2-years-old, Moose was flown to Los Angeles where Halberg was able to transform his excess energy into a constructive career for the soon to be celeb. Moose beat out 20 other dogs for the role of Eddie.

His other career achievements include a starring part in the 2000 film, My Dog Skip, as the older Skip; Enzo played the title role. He also penned an autobiography-My Life As A Dog-with some tutoring from TV writer, Brian Hargrove. Eddie was often a cover pup on entertainment publications. Frasier received 21 Emmys over its decade run but Eddie was never honored. The precocious pup's contribution to Grammer's success was publicly noted during his 1994 Emmy acceptance speech when the actor said: "Most important, Moose, this is for you."

Tink, Neapolitan Mastiff Tink, Neapolitan Mastiff Jack Russells are quite intelligent but their demands can overwhelm the inexperienced dog person. Their name refers to a general type of working terrier, bred in Britain in the early 1800s to hunt fox. Innate hunting skillsbarking, digging, possessiveness, following a scent non-stopare what often frustrate the novice. True "Napoleons:" Jacks are big dogs in little bodies. They won't hesitate to challenge dogs that tower over them.

JRTs remain active their whole life. A hyper Jack once found her way from Deer Park to Babylon down by the bay. She spent the night at my house before the shelter picked her up, and we were

shocked to find out she was 10

years old. Despite a short or wire coat, these terriers shed. They require basic obedience, a securely fenced yard, and lots of supervision around kidsfar from the portrait painted on TV or in the movies. That's why we always see them in the shelter. A sweet older guy with limited vision and a few lumps and bumps is at Babylon Shelter right now. He would like to find his way back home; sure does look like Eddie.

Our poster pet at Oyster Bay Shelter (677-5784) Miller Pl., Syosset also needs a breed experienced owner. "Tink", short for "Tinkerbelle" is a 1 year Neapolitan Mastiff #060581. Her former owner, who did not train this big goofball, dropped her off at the shelter when he moved out of state. He also did not get her the simple surgery she needs to correct her cherry eye. She is very friendly, although she has no idea how big and powerful she is when she greets you.

"Peter Pan" is a 6 week old tuxedo kitten in the shelter lobby. He tried to fly when we posed him on top of his exercise pen. Peter Pan wants to spread the word that he and the rest of his feline friends really need homes. The shelter cat cages are overcrowded because it is kitten season and because of the pending court case for the neglected cats seized from a collector.

More Dogs: "Buddy"a Siberian husky; "Mackenzie"a female smooth Collie mix; "Bruno"a black Lab mix.

See photos of Oyster Bay Shelter dogs and cats on the shelter's Petfinder site.

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