The film industry has, over the decades, brought us a number of formidable and memorable canine characters, in most cases presenting them as heroes and almost always as faithful companions. Our first pop culture spotlight fits into that mold quite well: Benji, a mixed breed canine who was rescued from a shelter in 1960 by veteran Hollywood animal trainer, Frank Inn. Frank was a trainer who always visited the animal shelters first when he required an animal for the variety of show inquiries he received. The Burbank Animal Shelter was the venue at which he met and immediately fell in love with Higgins, the shaggy brown mixed-breed who eventually became "Benji" in the Benji
films project. Higgins first opportunity to "strut his stuff" happened on the weekly TV series Petticoat Junction,
where he played the nameless dog featured in that TV presentation. Inn was so impressed with Higgins and the ease with which he was able to learn and master new tricks, his intelligence making him quite the "natural" for something bigger. And, bigger indeed came along with the film Benji,
though the film had a rough start to be sure! Joe Camp wrote the script for Benji,
and, failing to get anyone to produce his "dog picture", he took on a partner. They started their own distribution company and released the movie themselves, starring Higgins as Benji. Despite the setbacks, Benji
was loved by audiences everywhere, making it the third highest grossing movie of the year!
Our second pop culture dog whose name ends with 'i' is Bodhi, the Menswear dog. I'm sure you've seen him, all dressed up for a hot night on the town in his classy duds, his photos, posted as a gag by his owners, making him an instant star on Instagram. As Bodhi's popularity grew, he made guest appearances, participated in photo contracts and sponsored posts on Tumblr and Instagram ... all of this activity earned quite a sizable monthly income. This monthly income generally ranged from $10,000 to $15,000 per month, enabling his owners to quit their jobs in 2013 and deal directly and totally with Bodhi and his fashion talent. It was no surprise that Bodhi's owners were approached by Ben Lashes, the agent to promoted Grumpy Cat, but Bodhi's owners felt like Lashes would cost them beyond the 20% he wanted when he would take from them the creative aspects of Bodhi which they weren't ready to relinquish.