Four paws. Wet noses. Drama. Intrigue. It can only be the second installment of our series on famous literary dogs.
At Dog School Ltd., needless to say, we love dogs. Everything about them. It is fair to say that dogs have a stronger bond with humans than any other members of the animal kingdom. With that in mind, its little wonder that they have been so prominently featured across the entertainment media, over the years.
If you read our initial blog on literary dogs, no doubt, you’ve been straining at leash to get to the next one. You’ll be glad to hear that Part 2 can be found below. However, if you missed out the first time around, Part 1 is still here.
Dorothy’s dog in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, is often imagined as a Yorkshire Terrier. This is largely due to the popular impact of W.W. Denslow’s illustration from the book’s first edition. Many people don’t realise that this L. Frank Baum novel was first released in 1900! It’s amazing that the story, and the characters, both human and canine, have endured for so long.
In the original tome, Toto is presented as a “normal” dog. Like many dogs, he’s afraid of nasty weather conditions, he’s wary of strange people, and also (unlike many fictional dogs) does not speak.
Toto exhibits many natural canine behaviours – he torments the scarecrow and the tinman with barks and bites. However, although he’s an ordinary dog, like all good heroes, he finds himself in an extraordinary situation.
Toto is black in colour but, unlike the dog from our first installment (The Hound of the Baskervilles), he’ s a positive influence on the main human character, from the beginning until the end of the story.
Indeed, in the opening pages, Toto is introduced as have ‘saved Dorothy from going as grey as her surroundings’. He is positioned as a little ray of sunlight breaking through the Kansas storms.
This integral role in the narrative plays out until, in the climax of the book, Toto unmasks the titular wizard. When Dorothy and company finally achieve their aim of gaining entry to the Emerald City, it is Toto who knocks over a wooden screen to reveal the man behind the myth.