Everyone remembers when they got their first pet, whether it was a bird, a cat, a dog, a bunny or even a pair of little turtles. And the bond between you and your pet was indelible, strong.
As a kid, you would become partners in crime with your pet. Not only were they a willing playmate but they were also your best friend. They taught you how to love. How to deal with sadness, death.
One came of age with a pet. And that unbreakable bond is just as unyielding and important between an adult and their pet.
Novelists, playwrights and filmmakers have all captured the unique relationship between animals and humans.
One of the most recent was the touching, feel-good “Megan Leavey,” which arrives on Blu-ray next month.
Kate Mara stars in this heart tugger based on a true story of a young female Marine who develops a strong connection with a German shepherd named Rex who has been trained to sniff out IEDs in Iraq.
Just as with most animal movies, make sure to have a lot of tissues at the ready for “Megan Leavey.”
Over the years, many films have captured the union between humans and animals. Here are just a few we love:
“The Wizard of Oz”: It’s Dorothy’s love for Toto that’s catalyst for the girl to leave home with the tiny dog, only to get caught in the tornado and swept away to Munchkinland. Their bond is so strong, Toto risks life and limbs to lead the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to the imprisoned Dorothy, played, of course, by Judy Garland.
“Lassie Come Home”: After a boy’s impoverished family must sell his beloved collie, the dog escapes and travels hundreds of miles to be reunited with his young master.
“National Velvet”: A young Elizabeth Taylor is perfectly cast as Velvet, who trains the unruly stallion and, disguising herself as a boy, is determined to race him to victory in England’s Grand National.
“The Yearling”: Coming-of-age film about a young boy with a pet deer.
“Old Yeller”: Many can be brought to tears by the mere mention of this heart-breaking drama about two brothers and their love for their large, endearing mutt.
“101 Dalmatians”: In this Disney classic, a couple meet thanks to the blossoming romance between their Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita. That is, until trouble literally walks in the door in the form of Cruella de Vil.
“The Three Lives of Thomasina”: This one tells the story of stern widowed veterinarian, his young daughter and the beautiful marmalade tabby named Thomasina who brings love back to their tattered relationship.
“Born Free”: A woman and her African game warden husband save three lion cubs and raise one — Elsa — to maturity while teaching her how to survive in the wild.
“My Dog Skip”: This sentimental drama revolves around a 9-year-old boy whose life changes dramatically after he is given a rambunctious Jack Russell terrier.
“Eight Below”: The late Paul Walker stars in this stirring action-adventure as a resident guide at a scientific research base in Antarctica who is forced to leave his beloved sled dog team behind when a massive storm strikes, and his quest to return to their rescue.
“Marley & Me”: Enormously popular adaptation of John Grogan’s book about “life and love with the world’s worst dog” who also happens to be the most adorable-yellow lab. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are the human stars of this comedy-drama that follows their years with Marley, from puppyhood to elderly canine.
“Beginners”: Christopher Plummer won a supporting actor Oscar in this heartwarming drama as a man who comes out late in life, and is devoted to his Jack Russell terrier, Arthur. When the man dies, his son (Ewan McGregor) and Arthur bond together to deal with the loss.
“Dolphin Tale”: Inspiring drama based on the true story and rescue of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin who lost her tail when she became entangled in a crab trap rope. Winter was taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, where she was fitted with a prosthetic tale, which she still wears to this day. In this drama, she gives purpose to the aimless young boy who rescued her.
“War Horse”: Steven Spielberg directed this epic World War I drama about a Thoroughbred named Joey who is raised by a teenage boy in England. Joey is sold to the British army at the war’s outset, leading the young man on a quest to find him once again.
“Max”: A Malinois who helped American Marines in Afghanistan struggles to fit in after he returns to the U.S. and is taken in by his handler’s family.
What is your favorite animal film? Tell us in the comments section below.