The Dog Lover Behind Snoopy
A dog woman interviewed a famous dog man
By Cal Orey
Snoopy debuted in Charles Schulz’s cartoon strip “Peanuts” in 1950 (before I was born). The likable canine character from Daisy Hill puppy farm became part of the children’s strip (and still is today). In fact, with the help of Snoopy’s owner, Charlie Brown, the Beagle’s personality blossomed—big time.
Of course, Snoopy can’t talk. He thinks. Schulz explained how Snoopy communicates: “Snoopy thinks the sort of things that we believe a dog might think if we knew what they were thinking about. Snoopy’s strength is his ability to overcome all of the problems in his life, but he frequently retreats to imagination to solve a lot of his problems.” For instance, the imaginative Beagle has a dog house that converts into a fighter plane in which he seeks the elusive Red Baron. And, this resourceful dog is a wanna-be writer. Snoopy is notorious for using those opening passages, “It was a dark and stormy night…” The irony is, he thinks he’s great!
Is cartoonist Schulz a genuine dog person? You can count on it.
A native of Minnesota, Schulz recalls his younger years being enriched by a variety of canines: a couple of Beagles, a St. Bernard and several Golden Retrievers.
“Right now I have the best dog I’ve ever owned in my whole life,” mused the 69-year-old “Peanuts” creator. He simply cherishes Andy, his 12-year-old Wire Fox Terrier. And sometimes, Schulz will derive his ideas for Snoopy from Andy’s behavior. For instance, Snoopy’s sudden cookie fetish is really Andy’s thing.
Schulz borrowed another idea from his senior dog. “When Andy could hear better, I used to hesitate about shaving with an electric razor in the morning. I didn’t want to wake him up,” recalled Schulz...
(Reprinted with permission from Dog World, December 1993 issue.)
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