Sometimes, the pets of celebrities gain fame in their own right. Whether belonging to a politician, movie star, or reality show family; whether part of a red-carpet entourage or actually working on the set; celebrity pets often land their own websites, book deals and superfans. Be they dogs, cats, pigs, horses or rabbits, these famous critters have made their marks in their own endearing ways.
Minnie, Sharon Osbourne’s Pomeranian
Though many dogs pooped on the floor during The Osbournes, Minnie seemed to have a special place in mother Sharon’s heart. Osbourne was often photographed out and about with Minnie, and she even brought Minnie onto the set of America’s Got Talent. At her most diva-esqe, Minnie made the gossip columns by sinking her tiny teeth into celebrities such as Patrick Swayze and David Hasselhoff. Osbourne was visibly devastated when Minnie passed away in 2008 after contracting pneumonia.
Tinkerbell, Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua
Paris Hilton’s favorite accessory isn’t a Louis Vitton bag or Chanel earrings, but a teacup chihuahua called Tinkerbell who wears ensembles that cost more than most people make in a month. Tinkerbell became famous as a fixture on Hilton’s reality show, The Simple Life, where the spoiled pooch was the least rarified member of the cast. In 2004, Tinks briefly went missing after Hilton’s socialite sister Nicky left a door open. At first, the hotel heiress offered a measly $1,000 reward for the return of her pet, plastering West Hollywood with posters of a missing chihuahua called “Napoleon.” Apparently, Hilton was afraid that if people knew the dog was hers, it would be held for millions of dollars ransom. Later, Hilton raised the reward to $5000 and Tinkerbell was returned safe and sound. Besides being a reality show star, Tinkerbell is the “author” of a book called “The Tinkerbell Hilton Diaries,” making Tinks officially more literate than her owner.
Sugar Pie, Anna Nicole Smith’s Poodle
The late Anna Nicole Smith brought her teddy-bear humping, Prozac-taking black poodle Sugar Pie on her train-wreck of a reality show, The Anna Nicole Show. On one episode, Smith hauled Sugar Pie to an “animal communicator” to deal with the poodle’s issues. The animal communicator insisted that both Sugar Pie and Smith just needed boyfriends to make everything better — a suggestion Smith, in a rare moment of lucidity, ignored. Sugar Pie and Smith’s other dogs posed with her in photos campaigning against Iams’ use of dogs in animal tests. After Smith’s death from an overdose of prescription medication, Sugar Pie lived with an undisclosed family friend. Apparently, Sugar Pie was unable to live with Smith’s other dogs at the home of Smith’s boyfriend and attorney Howard K. Stern as she had become aggressive, especially toward Smith’s Maltese, Marilyn. Luckily, rumors circulating on the internet that Sugar Pie was run over by a CNN truck in the Bahamas turned out to be false.
Montecore, Siegfried and Roy’s Tiger
Animal rights advocates were given a perfect chance to say “I told you so” in 2003 when magician Roy Horn was seriously injured on a Las Vegas stage by a 7-year-old, 300-lb white tiger named Montecore. According to witnesses, the tiger refused an order to lie down, so Horn hit the animal on the nose with his microphone. Understandably pissed off, the tiger lunged for Horn’s arm. Though Horn’s hit the tiger with a microphone and yelled “No! No!” Montecore dragged Horn off stage by his neckin front of a terrified audience. Fortunately, both magician and tiger survived the ordeal. Unfortunately, the magicians have not stopped using tigers in their routines, though this incident proved what many already suspected: tigers belong in the jungle, not in a Vegas hotel.
Bo, the Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog
In April of 2009, a little curly-haired, 6-month-old puppy made big news by becoming America’s “First Dog.” Bo was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy who himself kept Portuguese water dogs, and is rumored to have cost the Massachusetts Senator a hefty $1600. The family chose the breed because 10-year-old Mahlia suffers from allergies, and the breed is hypoallergenic. The first daughters named the puppy the same name as their cousin’s cat. Animal advocates were disappointed that the Obamas did not bring home a shelter dog, though some media tried to paint Bo as a “second chance” dog because a previous owner had returned him to the breeder. Since Bo became the White House dog, the Portuguese water dog as a species has catapulted into popularity. Bo himself has been replicated as a plush toy and starred in several children’s books.
Chunk, Chelsea Handler’s Mutt
Acerbic comedienne Chelsea Handler often makes jokes at her dog Chunk’s expense on the Chelsea Handler Show. But Chunk doesn’t mind: he has over 87,000 followers on Twitter and appeared on the cover of Handler’s bestselling book Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang — a chapter of which was devoted entirely to him! Chunk was even given a gift of high-end dog food from Ellen Degeneres when Handler appeared on The Ellen Show. Despite her famous forked tongue and alleged dislike of dogs, Handler showed her soft side by adopting this mixed-breed mutt from an animal shelter on the day before he was to be put to sleep.
Dusty, Amy Sedaris’s Mini-Rex Rabbit
Actress, writer and comedienne Amy Sedaris of Strangers With Candy fame is a spokeswoman for the House Rabbit Society, a national organization which specializes in education on rabbit care as well as rescuing and re-homing pet rabbits. Interviewers often seem surprised to find Dusty, Sedaris’ rescued pet rabbit, roaming free-range through Sedaris’ 700 square foot Manhattan apartment. Dusty sleeps in a “bunny condo” designed specifically for her by designer and interior decorator Todd Oldham. The pampered rabbit has been featured in a Microsoft Office commercial film along with Sedaris, and Sedaris even named her West Village catering company after her bouncing bunny: Dusty Food Cupcakes.
Hercules, Shorty Rossi’s Pit Bull
Animal Planet’s show Pit Boss features diminutive Shorty Rossi and talent agency for little people which is also a pit bull rescue. No dog has done more to clear up the misconception of pit bulls as vicious, unhandleable dogs as Rossi’s own pet pit bull, Hercules. Rescued by Rossi in 2004, Hercules quickly proved himself as a service animal and entertainment dog promoting his breed. Whether visiting retirement homes, auditioning for children’s movies, or representing pit bulls at adopt-a-thons, Hercules the gentle giant continuously delights viewers of Rossi’s show.
Iggy, Ellen Degeneres’s Brussels Griffon Terrier
In 2007, comedienne and talk show host Ellen Degeneres found herself in the center of a doggie-drama after adopting Iggy, a Brussels Griffon terrier from an animal shelter. Unfortunately, Iggy did not get on well with the other pets in the Degeneres/DeRossi home, so they gave the puppy to her hairdresser’s family. The animal shelter called this a “breach of contract” and took Iggy back, leaving the hairdresser, her preteen daughters, and Degeneres devastated. Degereneres broke down in tears on her talk show, begging the animal shelter to return Iggy to the family. Backlash was ferocious for the animal shelter, who received death threats from angry Ellen fans. Despite Degeneres’s tactics, the shelter refused to change its policy, which clearly states that small dogs should not go to families with children under 14. Not since Elian Gonzales had a custody battle received so much press.
Socks, President Clinton’s Cat
Socks, the cat adopted by Chelsea Clinton while still in the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas, became the the first cat in the White House since the Carter administration. An animated Socks graced the kids’ version of the White House website, and the real Socks often served as a White House diplomat, visiting hospitals and schools. Representative Dan Burton, a Republican, once demanded an accounting of taxpayer dollars used to answer Socks’ fan mail. Socks was deposed during Clinton’s second term by a sloppy Labrador puppy named Buddy, whom Socks refused to tolerate. Bill Clinton famously quipped:“I did better with… the Palestinians and the Israelis than I’ve done with Socks and Buddy.” When the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they left Socks with Bill Clinton’s secretary, Betty Currie. Socks continued to make public appearances until his death in 2009.
Daddy, Cesar Millan’s Pit Bull
Until his death in 2010, Daddy was a much-beloved fixture on National Geographic’s show The Dog Whisperer. Once owned by rapper Redmond, Daddy was often used as an example by his owner, famed dog trainer Cesar Millan, as the perfect “calm-submissive.” Daddy was a sterling representative of his breed, which are often maligned as vicious and untrainable. Daddy was a cancer survivor who lived 16 years before passing away quietly in his sleep.
Trigger, Roy Roger’s Golden Palamino Horse
In the 1950′s no animal garnered as much fame as Roy Rogers’ trusty steed, Trigger. Originally named Golden Cloud, the horse was purchased in 1938 by Rogers to play his mount in a Western. Trigger became a beloved staple of Rogers’ movies as well as his television show with wife, Dale Evans. Trigger was even the lead character in a Dell comic book, and his hoofprints appear alongside Roger’s footprints in the Walk of Fame in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. After his death, in 1965, Trigger was stuffed and placed in a museum in California. In 2010 at an auction at Christie’s Auction House Trigger sold for $266,500 to television channel RFD-TV, which plans to start a Western museum.
Max, George Clooney’s Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig
Max, who grew to a massive 300 lbs, shared Clooney’s mansion home for 18 years before passing away from natural causes in 2006. Clooney famously credited his porcine pal with saving his life by waking him up before an earthquake. Though a confirmed bachelor, Clooney has claimed that he would have married Max if he could, and rumors swirled that Max broke up Clooney and French beauty Celine Balitran because Clooney refused to keep Max outside. Max often accompanied Clooney in interviews and the pig had even once ridden in John Travolta’s private jet.
Sadie, Oprah Winfrey’s Cocker Spaniel
Though the the actress, talk-show host, and magazine mogul keeps several dogs, Sadie made news when Winfrey adopted her and a littermate, Ivan, from a shelter, only to find that the puppies had the dreaded disease parvovirus. Ivan died, but Sadie survived the disease with the best veterinary care buckets of money can buy. Oprah used Ivan and Sadie to raise public awareness of the disease, which can be prevented through vaccination.
Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s Chimpanzee
As a symbol of all that was weird about the late King of Pop, Bubbles the Chimp may be the most famous pet ever. Jackson acquired Bubbles from a medical research facility. During Jackson’s heyday in the 80′s, Bubbles spent many years partying with the rich and famous as Jackson’s sidekick. Bubbles and Jackson dressed alike, slept in the same room at night, and Bubbles even accompanying Jackson to Japan and dining with the mayor of Osaka. In fact, Bubbles needed his own agent to keep up with his cameo roles in videos and film, as well as his public appearances. When Bubbles reached sexual maturity and became unmanageable, he was transferred to an animal trainer’s facility in California. When that facility closed down, Bubbles and his chimpanzee companion, Sam, moved to the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida which houses many primates used and discarded by Hollywood. After Jackson’s death in 2010, sister LaToya tearfully visited Bubbles in front of the press.