My contribution for the Animals in Film Blogathon is one of the first animals I ever saw on screen- Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Before I begin I would like to dedicate this post to my own dog, Sierra (1988-2005- yes she was very lucky to live that long).
No matter your personal opinion of what The Wizard of Oz is, I do believe that at some point in your childhood you do watch this film. To me, Toto is an important character to the film, as he’s the one that drives Dorothy into the predicament she’s in.
As many of us recall, The Wizard of Oz begins with Dorothy confiding to the three farm hands on how Miss Gulch threatens Toto. Within minutes, we see Miss Gulch show up to the Gale’s property and take Toto away. Of course Toto escapes, and once he gets back to Dorothy, it prompts her to run away to a place far, far away.. beyond the moon.. beyond the rain… (que music!!)
To Dorothy, I believe the reason she’s so concerned for Toto is because he’s a piece of home-and while in Oz, he’s a security blanket to her. Throughout the whole course of the film he is her constant companion and while she has moments of homesickness, the real moment she breaks down is when the Wicked Witch actually kidnaps him. It’s really at that point where Dorothy steps up her game to ensure that both she and Toto will make it back home- and she will do whatever it takes.
Personally, one reason why I just adore Toto is because like Dorothy (and many of us) we consider our dogs (and cats to you cat lovers) to be family. Growing up I had a dog named Sierra (half German Sheppard half Toy- Collie) and I certainly considered her to be my family. Even as a very young child, I understood Dorothy’s bond with Toto and why he was so important to her. Their bond reminded me of my bond with my own dog, and I felt really connected to both the film and the character of Dorothy because of that.
In the end, I believe Toto to be a real lovable animal on film- he certainly is for me and every time I watch The Wizard of Oz, I just adore him all over again! However, I think the perfect animal companion for me will always be my lovely Sierra! (click here to see a picture of her!)