'The Grinch' — and Other Movies — That Hired Rescue Dogs as Actors

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Dec. 10 2020, Updated 4:19 p.m. ET

rescue dog actors
Source: Getty

You can probably think of hundreds movies or shows that feature "animal actors," who play the pet of a character, or a stray in the background. However, a variety of productions — you may not realize — actually cast rescue pets to play the required roles. And sometimes, if one of the cast or crew members is able to take on the responsibility of welcoming another fur baby into their family, the animals get adopted. 

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That being said, we've compiled an extensive list of movies and shows that hired rescue dogs to play the fluffy roles that accompanied some of your favorite fictional protagonists — the list is longer than you might think, and in some cases, the adoption stories at the end are seriously too adorable. 

Max from 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'

Max was the evil (yet seriously cute) henchman to the Grinch in the 2000 Christmas classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Shockingly, Max was played by not one — but six — mixed-breed rescue pups, according to Bustle, by dogs named Kelly, Chip, Topsy, Stella, Zelda, and Bo. The cast and crew took several precautions to keep actors playing Max safe and happy, as per Humane Hollywood. It's unclear who adopted the dogs in the end, but we can assume they lived a life of luxury moving forward.

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Dog from 'Mad Max 2'

When auditioning pups for the role of Max's faithful sidekick, Dog, in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, director George Miller casted an Australian cattle dog that had been previously scheduled to be euthanized at the local pound, according to Mental Floss. The dog was hired upon retrieving a rock Miller had thrown, and at the end of the movie, he was adopted by the film's stunt coordinator and animal trainer, Max and Dale Aspin.

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A shelter pup from 'Gifted'

In a scene that took place at an animal shelter in the movie Gifted, they used actual rescue dogs instead of "working dogs." Apparently, the pups were actually up for adoption, according to The Bark, and the star of the movie, actor Chris Evans, ended up meeting the (fluffy) love of his life, named Dodger. He adopted Dodger after the scene was filmed, and they've been pawtying it up together ever since.

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Tramp, and other pups from 'Lady and the Tramp'

Disney recreated Lady and the Tramp as a live-action movie back in 2018, and the cast was almost entirely comprised of rescue pups. Tramp was portrayed by a pup named Monte, who had been living at HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, Ariz. before getting hired. And while we all know the movie has a happy ending, so did the real life story — according to CNET, each of the rescue pups were adopted once the film wrapped.

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The Dog in 'The Artist'

Uggie played the role of the beloved Jack Russell terrier named The Dog in the 2012 black-and-white silent film, The Artist. According to The Guardian, the movie ended up snagging a total of five Academy awards, including 2012 Best Picture. Later on, Uggie was honored with a Palm Dog award at Cannes film festival, which is pretty special, if you ask us.

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One of the kittens from Taylor Swift's 'ME!' music video

OK this one isn't a movie, per se, but a cat from a program that gets adoptable kittens in commercials and movies appeared in Taylor Swift's "ME!" music video with Brendon Urie, and Swift ended up taking him home. The cat's name is Benjamin Button, and obviously, he's incredibly beloved by the Grammy Award winner, who is a notorious crazy cat lady. Love it!

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Clearly many famous pups had humble beginnings. That being said, we hope more fur babies can continue making it out of the foster system, to live a glorious life in Hollywood.

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