First Oscar awarded to a dog

As the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards filled the media, my thoughts went to a recent book by Susan Orlean entitled “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.” In it she claims that Rin Tin Tin actually got the most votes for best actor in the first Academy Awards in 1929, but he never got the Oscar. During the silent film era, Rin Tin Tin was a huge international star.

Why wouldn’t the Academy give an award to an animal over a human? Upon reflection the Academy realized the award wouldn’t be taken seriously if a dog won it, so the German actor Emil Jannis took the Oscar that year. Jannis went back to Germany and made propaganda films for Hitler. Rin Tin Tin went on to inspire America.

The Academy questioned an animal’s ability to act versus being trained to do a task. Recent research suggests that a dog’s brain is similar to a two-or three-year-old child’s. So, a dog’s emotional responses to show empathy and understanding are much the same as a young child’s.

Rin Tin Tin seemed to understand that he was performing. In “Clash of the Wolves,” Rin Tin Tin is injured so badly that he limps away from his pack and falls to the ground in agony. His expression clearly communicates pain and depression.

I’m sure anyone who has been with a two-or three-year-old knows what excellent actors they are. My experience with children has really taught me how well they read adults and can get what they want. It seems that Rin Tin Tin could read emotions as well as young child. If that was the case, he deserved the Oscar.

Perhaps it is time for the Academy to recognize the contributions that animals have made to the movie industry over the years. I remember watching Cheetah, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Fury, Trigger, Beethoven and most recently Uggie. Even former President Ronald Regan shared the screen with Bonzo, a chimpanzee.

Although the Academy turns a blind eye to our animal stars, they will always be stars to the generations who grew up with them. As we use to say when we were kids, “Yo Rinty.”

Who’s new at the CAPS zoo?

This week’s pet personality is a beautiful yellow cat. Jabberwocky is a fire-orange tabby. He loves to talk and isn’t afraid to converse with anyone. He follows the sun and always finds a comfortable spot to enjoy the sunbeams. Jabberwocky is looking for that special someone who will visit with him and keep him company.

Goodbye to Maya’s puppies because they are all going to their forever home. On the first of March, however, we will have eight more puppies eagerly looking for their happy-ever-after.

CAPS News and Events

CAPS will be at Walmart on March 14 with our Kissin’ Booth and darling Ki. St. Patrick’s Day is coming, and kissing Ki will give you the luck of the Irish. Come by and get a kiss from Ki.

CAPS also has new designs of hoodies, shirts and other items for you or your honey.

Flower Tree Nursery is raffling a 15-gallon Prairie-Fire crab apple tree. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets. Be sure to get your tickets soon. The drawing date will be announced later, and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win.

Be sure to mark Saturday, May 9, on your calendars for our annual Bark in the Park 5K walk/run. Bark in the Park will be held at the fairgrounds. Watch this article for further information.

CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89406. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.


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