Welcome, travelers. I’ve been looking forward to doing a post like this for a long time. In case you didn’t know, I’m a dog person. I’ve been into dogs since I was very, very young and have spent the years reading obsessively about everything dog and goofing around with my own dogs. I apologize in advance if you fall asleep while reading this. Basically, I’ve tried to find pictures of real-life dogs to match the descriptions of Odyssey’s dogs!
Background: His first appearance is in Album 20’s “Pet Peeves.” He was a stray who kept breaking into Whit’s End. Eventually, he was adopted by Donna Barclay and went from the name “Harry” to “Normal.”
And if you’re about to say that there is already a picture of him on Album 20, I’ll tell you that it doesn’t count.
So, a big fat dog with huge teeth, no distinction between neck and lower jaw, and a pot on his head is realistic? My mission is to find a real-life dog that matches his description.
Obviously, this dog is a mutt and they said as much in the episode. I guess he’s pretty big, too. And ugly. Did I mention ugly?
I had no idea what to look up when looking for a picture of Normal. We have no clue as to what breed mix he is. The one thing that I could see from Normal’s picture are his ears: long and floppy, which is a hound characteristic. As for the teeth, that could fall under any “bully” dog (Bulldog, Boxer, Bull Terrier, etc.).
First, I tried a bulldog mix and got this as the favorite:
Hmm. Now that I look at it, I don’t see that much bulldog…
And then I tried Mastiff mix.
According to the web, this is a Mastiff-Labrador cross. Is it just me, or does this look a lot like a Rhodesian Ridgeback? I mean, I guess it could work? But I still haven’t gotten the right ears. So I’ll search up some Bulldog-Hound mixes and see what I get.
I FOUND HIM.
This, according to the Internet, is a Boxer-Vizsla mix. Oh wow. It’s perfect. The ears, the teeth, the yellow eyes….
Donna: Look at those eyes!
George: Are they supposed to be yellow?
Donna: And that mouth! He’s smiling at us!
George: His lips are stuck to his teeth.Pet Peeves
Background: Sam is Wooton’s dog from the old Clubhouse series “Wooton’s Random Ramblings.” He was indirectly mentioned in “The Popsicle Kid” as well. In Sam’s first article, Wooton said something about Sam being “50% Lab and 50% Airedale terrier”. I see a lot of Lab in the article’s corresponding picture, but not so much the Airedale.
Wow, that’s super tiny. Here’s a more recent one:
(disclaimer: I did not receive this magazine, so I don’t know if any more info about Sam was released inside…)
Okay, let’s see what comes up for Lab/Airedale:
My first thought is that this is a puppy, but I like it! However, I don’t think the ears on this particular dog are going to be semi-prick like the Airedale and Sam; they look like a Lab’s ears. I’m going to try a different breed combo:
How about a Golden Retriever/Shepherd/Collie mix? That’s what I’ve personally thought of Sam as for years…
I really like this one too! But I suppose, for consistency with Wooton’s description, the first picture will have to do.
Background: In “Crash Course,” Katrina Meltsner has her eye on a litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies. Buck buys one for her and presents it at the end of the episode.
Phew! This will be waay easier because we are told his breed. There is still some grey area here: they do not specify if he is an American or English Cocker Spaniel, or what color he is.
I’ve always imagined Sparky as a blue roan English Cocker with a white star, as some of you might have seen in my artistic rendering of him:
Ta-da! Sparky as a puppy. That was considerably easier than the other dogs!
Optimist and Pessimist
Now, let’s finish up with some minor dogs.
Background: Optimist and Pessimist are two small dogs belonging to Mrs. Kramer. They only appear in “Swept Away, Part 1.”
Okay, I automatically imagine these two as a couple of stereotypical spoiled toy dogs – like Chihuahuas or Westies or Yorkies. Knowing Mrs. Kramer, I’m going to do this:
This, my friends, is Pessimist. Can you guess what his counterpart will look like?
And there’s Optimist. I wonder how they get along with her cats.
There are many, many more dogs mentioned in Odyssey. I tried to cover the ones we have descriptions of in the episodes (with the exception of the last two). I don’t know about anyone reading this, but I had a lot of fun with this post. Stay tuned for more commentaries on Odyssey’s animals!