Pets are a staple of everything from sitcoms to dramas on TV. Some are important enough to be the central characters in their own show. Others factor into subplots involving their human counterparts. There are many pets who TV audiences have grown to know on a first name basis even as they neglect to dangle a string in front of their own cat or neglect to toss a stick to their own dog.
These six TV pets are familiar enough for most TV viewers to claim them as their own:
Lassie: No other dog possessed an equal mix of beauty and intelligence while starring on the TV screen. The world's most famous collie defined a loyal pet as she managed to save her young owner from one dangerous situation after another on her weekly TV series. Before Lassie was on the small screen in "Lassie," she made her name in a series of theatrical films during the World War II era. One interesting casting twist is that all of the "Lassie" dog actors were male instead of female.
Eddie: A little Jack Russell terrier found ways to steal the spotlight during the 10 season run of "Frasier's disabled father and he was a popular character. How popular? Moose, the canine actor who portrayed Eddie, received more fan mail over 10 seasons than any of his human co-stars. Eddie excelled at putting Frasier in uncomfortable situations that frequently earned him the contempt of the show's central character.
Murray: Nothing is more fun on a sitcom than an animal character with a bunch of visible quirks. That describes Murray from "Mad About You" in a nutshell. Paul and Jaime Buchman own the border collie because the dog was originally adopted by Paul as a way to meet women. In fact, Murray led to him meeting Jaime. From there, Murray entertained by chasing an invisible mouse from time to time. It only added to his loveable charm.
Santa's Little Helper & Snowball: The most famous cartoon pets serve as background characters in the lives of the Simpson family in "The Simpsons." Both Santa's Little Helper, a greyhound, and Snowball, a black cat, get their turn in the spotlight from time to time through various antics. Santa's Little Helper, in particular, is immortalized for being the family Christmas present in the pilot episode after Homer rescues him when his owner abandons the dog at the dog racing track.
Vincent: A dog's life can be anything but a picnic at times. Poor Vincent from "Lost" suffers hardships in unusual circumstances. The golden retriever endures a nightmare existence. He survived a plane crash. His owner was kidnapped by the Others at one point. Then, after escaping, Vincent's owner abandons him and returns to civilization without a second thought. If anyone deserved to get off the island, it was Vincent.
Mr. Ed: One lesson that "Mr. Ed" imparted is that talking horses are nothing but trouble. A horse named Bamboo Harvester portrayed the mischievous title character. He speaks only to his owner Wilbur and, for that reason, is able to lasso him into one crazy adventure after another. It proved to be the right formula to create a popular TV series for people of all ages. The horse who portrayed "Mr. Ed" died from health problems only a couple of years after the TV series ended.