Loveable dogs immortalised in books and movies

01 April 2021
If there ever was a match made in heaven, it is between mankind and their pooches.
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Those (mostly) warm chocolate ganache puddles for eyes. The unconditional love. The unmatched loyalty. The pure innocence. Nothing comes close to a dog's love. It is often said that a dog is a man's best friend and we can't argue with cliches that actually ring true. 🐶

This Sunday night movie, The Call of the Wild, is one of the latest instalments in this genre about a bond between man and canine. It joins the list of other timeless tales such as local favourite Jock of the Bushveld and international hit Lassie Come-Home. We dig in a little more about each beloved story ahead of seeing The Call of the Wild. 

The Call of the Wild

Dog name and breed: Buck is a St Bernard/Scotch Collie.

Human's name: John Thornton, played by Harrison Ford in the movie.

Book author and date of publication: Jack London penned the book in 1903.

The movie: Released in 2020.  

The story: Buck is kidnapped from his home and shipped to Yukon at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. This is more of a story about Buck and his character development in an unfamiliar territory as learns more about himself facing some of the meanest dogs and humans alike, till he and Thornton cross paths. Yet Buck remains conflicted about being a domesticated dog.


Lassie Come-Home

Dog name and breed: Lassie is a Collie.

Human's name: Joe Carraclough.

Book author and date of publication: Eric Knight first brought Lassie to fame in a short story published in a magazine in December 1938. Knight wrote the book two years later and it was published in 1940.

The movie: The story has been adapted for the big and small screens various times with varying titles since the book came out, including an animated series and a manga series in the early 2000s.

The story: In the Great Depression era, many including the Carraclough family face financial troubles. They decide to sell Joe’s dog, Lassie, to the Duke of Rudling. He takes her to his estate where his granddaughter lets Lassie escape. Lassie embarks on an adventure to be reunited with Joe.  

Jock of the Bushveld

Dog name and breed: Jock is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Human's name: Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick.

Book author and date of publication: Fitzpatrick published the book in 1907.

The movie: The first movie of the same name was released in 1986. A 3D animated movie called Jock the Hero Dog was released in 2011, featuring voice talent from all over the world including Bryan Adams, Donald Sutherland, Helen Hunt, Ted Danson, and our very own Desmond Tutu.

The story: Fitzpatrick, born to Irish immigrants in South Africa, left his home in 1884 to seek his fortune in the gold rush of the late 19th century in the then Transvaal. But when that didn’t work out, he became a transport rider, guiding heavily laden ox-wagons along a precarious route along today’s Mpumalanga to Maputo in Mozambique. For that, he needed a canine companion and that’s how Jock entered his life. Initially the runt of the litter, Jock became a loyal and brave dog. Fitzpatrick was urged by his children to pen down their adventures and the book has never been out of print since. Did you know that there is a statue of Jock at the Barberton Town Hall?

Images: Getty

Watch The Call of the Wild 🐶🐶🐶 your Sunday night movie on 4 April at 20:05 (CAT) on M-Net channel 101.

If you miss any of these movies on M-Net 101 you can always catch up on DStv or on M-Net Movies 1, channel 104.

Join the conversation online, Find us on Twitter (@MNet),  Instagram (@mnettv), and Facebook (@MNet) using the hashtag #MNet101.