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Will "Marley's" popularity bring bad luck to Labradors?

December 27, 2008 |  3:20 pm

the crew at work on Marley & Me

With the release of "Marley & Me", the film based on John Grogan's best-selling memoir about his life with the "world's worst" Labrador retriever, animal advocates are naturally worried about the possible effects of stardom on this already-popular breed. 

The American Humane Assn. staged a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of choosing a dog based on its role in a film, but our own Patt Morrison is still worried about the damage increased publicity can cause:

I wish I could add an asterisk to the First Amendment to halt any advertisements that show puppies or kitties adorned with red bows and plopped under the Christmas tree. Some marketer’s idea of an adorable gift is a very, very bad thing. The impulse gift of a living creature is a recipe for misery. A pet should be planned for and anticipated like a baby. The equivalent obligation amounts to the same: lifelong.

I’m no psychic, but I can tell you right now what’s going to happen because of "Marley & Me" The puppy mills will go into overdrive, producing litter after litter of adorable yellow lab puppies, some of whom will be born deformed because of the manic breeding -- and some of whom will wind up dumped at animal shelters when the owners get tired of them.

Patt knows the perils firsthand -- she rescued several dalmatians who were abandoned in the wake of "101 Dalmatians".  (How did these dogs wind up needing rescue in the first place?  Her matter-of-fact answer: "They turned out to be real dogs, not cartoon dogs, that’s what happened.")  Read the full story over at the Times' Opinion L.A. blog.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: "Marley" and crew during filming.  Credit: Barry Wetcher/20th Century Fox.

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