Comedian W.C. Fields said, "Never work with kids or animals." For the past 50 years, television actors have not heeded his advice. Not only have some had to share the spotlight with furry castmates, but they've completely taken a backseat to them as well. Here are a bevy of TV "pets" who left, or are currently making, an indelible mark on popular TV shows.
Dr. Rizzo -- Animal Practice (Premieres September 26, NBC)
This capuchin monkey serves as pet and sidekick to veterinarian Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk). It is hard to say if Dr. Rizzo's role will extend beyond sight gags like driving a mini ambulance around Crane Animal Hospital.
Marcel -- Friends (1994-2004, NBC)
Reeling from his recent divorce, and lovesick for Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), a lonely Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) acquired a capuchin monkey named Marcel as a companion. A mischievous and temperamental pal, Marcel and Ross had their share of spats. Unfortunately, once Marcel hit puberty, Ross was forced to donate him to a zoo. Marcel appeared again briefly in season 2 as a successful movie star.
Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) came face to face with the alligator in the premiere episode. Unexpectedly stumbling across this predator in the middle of the night, Zoe screamed for help. Luckily, handsome attorney George Tucker (Scott Porter) appeared and came to the aid of this damsel in distress. An easy task, since the scaly beast was the pet of Bluebell's mayor, Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams). Burt was named for Lavon's favorite movie, Smokey and the Bandit.
Noelle -- Designing Women (1986-1993, CBS)
Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) received the pig Noelle as a gift from her maid's family. Divorced multiple times with no children, Noelle filled an emotional gap in Suzanne's life. It wasn't long before the two became inseparable, even taking rides in Suzanne's convertible. Noelle would often appear in public wearing a pink tutu and a blinged-out collar.
Dreyfuss -- Empty Nest (1988-1995, NBC)
The St. Bernard and Golden Retriever mix belonged to Dr. Harry Weston (Richard Mulligan). Dreyfuss' primary purpose was to serve as a sounding board and confidant for Dr. Weston. He also possessed the talent to climb into a kitchen cabinet and shut the door behind him.
Brian -- Family Guy (1999-present, FOX)
This "anthropomorphic" pooch (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is a Brown grad, struggling writer and an alcoholic. However, Brian also exhibits dog behaviors which are in stark contrast to his intellect. He belongs to the Griffin family, but has an inappropriate sexual attraction and all-around crush on family matriarch, Louis (voiced by Alex Borstein).
Rowdy -- Scrubs (2001-2010, NBC/ABC)
The taxidermied Golden Labrador Retriever was the perfect pet for medical interns J.D. (Zach Braff) and Turk (Donald Faison). Although inanimate, Rowdy enjoyed a good leg humping. He was also the prop in a variety of practical jokes conceived by his owners.
Eddie -- Frasier (1993-2004, NBC)
Eddie, a Jack Russell Terrier, was the beloved pet of Martin Crane (John Mahoney). Often unable to relate to his overly-refined sons, Frasier (Kelsey Grammar) and Niles (David Hyde Pierce), Martin tended to redirect his affection towards Eddie. The prissy Dr. Crane was usually annoyed or disgusted by Eddie's canine antics and the dog's impact on his pristine apartment. Supposedly, at the height of Frasier's popularity, Eddie (Moose) received more fan mail than the human stars of the show.
Vincent -- Lost (2004-2010, ABC)
The Yellow Labrador Retriever was the only non-human survivor of Oceanic Flight 815. He belonged to Walt (Malcolm David Kelley), but was left behind when Walt left the island. Vincent was then passed among the remaining survivors and, in the series finale, was at Jack's (Matthew Fox) side at the time of his death.
Santa's Little Helper -- The Simpsons (1989-present, FOX)
Homer (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) and Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) adopted the Greyhound (voiced by Dan Castellaneta/Frank Welker) after he was abandoned by his previous owner at the dog track. Santa's Little Helper's exploits have included becoming a police dog and a mascot for Duff beer.
Arnold -- Green Acres (1965-1971, CBS)
Arnold's owners, Fred and Doris Ziffel (Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper/Fran Ryan), thought of this pig as a member of the family. Far from an ordinary bovine, Arnold had the ability to retrieve letters from the mailbox, drink through a straw, change channels and predict the weather. These were just a few of his many talents.
Murray -- Mad About You (1992-1999, NBC)
This Collie mix belonged to Paul and Jamie Buchman (Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt). Murray's favorite pastime was chasing invisible mice and colliding into walls. He enjoyed a brief brush with fame after appearing in Paul's commercial for Yum Yum Gum. Murray was also a bit of a playboy, impregnating the neighbors' prize show dog, Sophie.
Fred -- I Love Lucy (1951-1957, CBS)
The Cairn Terrier was Little Ricky's (Keith Thibodeaux) dog, who he named after the Ricardos' (Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) landlord and friend, Fred Mertz (William Frawley). The introduction of a second Fred was a running joke for the remainder of the show. Fred enjoyed more spotlight once the family moved to Connecticut, where his canine antics resulted in his enrollment in obedience school.
Bear -- B.J. and the Bear (1978-1981, NBC)
The pet chimpanzee of truck driver B.J. (Billie Joe) McKay (Greg Evigan), Bear was named after the Alabama football coach Bear Bryant. B.J. and his primate pal spent most of their time in the cab of his truck traveling the country and trying to outwit corrupt Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo.
Wilfred -- Wilfred (2011-present, FX)
Wilfred (Ryan Gann) is a dog in the eyes of everyone but the audience and the show's protagonist, Ryan (Elijah Wood). Ryan views Wilfred as a man in a dog suit. Wilfred serves as a sort of life coach for Ryan, who's going through an existential crisis. Wilfred, whose owner is Ryan's neighbor Jenna Mueller (Fiona Gubelmann), likes to drink, smoke pot and generally live life on his own terms.
Klaus Heissler -- American Dad (2005-present, FOX)
Klaus (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is the result of a CIA experiment that switched the brainwaves of an East German ski-jumper with a goldfish, so that he couldn't win a gold medal in the 1986 Winter Olympics. He currently resides in a fishbowl in the home of CIA agent Stan Smith (voiced by Seth McFarlane). Understandably bitter, he often vows revenge in response to any perceived slight.
Boo-Boo Kitty -- Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983, ABC)
The stuffed black cat served as a good luck charm for Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams). With the exception of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall), Boo-Boo Kitty was Shirley's best friend and only bedtime companion.
Sophie -- M*A*S*H (1972-1983, CBS)
Sophie was a horse found by Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda), B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell) and Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff). Radar gave the horse to his commanding officer, Colonel Potter, as an anniversary gift. A country boy from Missouri, Potter started his military career during WWI in the horse cavalry. When he left Korea, he gave Sophie to a local orphanage.
Djinn Djinn -- I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970, NBC)
This magical dog belonged to Jeannie (Barbara Eden) and had the ability to turn invisible. Mistreatment by the Sultan's guards instilled in him a disdain for uniforms, which caused him to attack the ankles of Jeannie's master, Major Nelson (Larry Hagman).
Guapo -- Will & Grace (1998-2006, NBC)
Guapo was the pet parrot of Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes). The usually self-centered Jack appeared to have genuine affection for his feathered friend. When Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) accidentally opened a window and Guapo flew out, Jack was forlorn until Karen took him shopping. Later, after finding Guapo sitting on the ledge, Jack concealed his whereabouts so he could continue to emotionally blackmail Karen.