Home & Garden

Lassie led the pack indoors

The famous collie that starred in her own TV show from 1954 to 1974 showed that dogs really could be part of the family.

“Prior to Lassie, there were barn dogs, in doghouses. Lassie made it cool to be inside. To sit on the couch next to you. To hop up on the bed,” said Jeff Werber, Lassie’s veterinarian. “Lassie paved the path from the backyard to the laundry room to the den to the bedroom.”

Lassie (actually, it’s Lassie 9, all bred from the same line) is back in the limelight again as Werber’s co-star in a new public television show “Lassie’s Pet Vet.”

The program explores the relationships between pets and people — a relationship that thrived in the 1950s and ’60s with Lassie and Timmy. (Lassie made her film debut in 1943 alongside Elizabeth Taylor).

“Lassie was America’s favorite pet, and you rarely saw Timmy without Lassie,” Werber said. “Now it’s 30 to 40 years later and we’re learning of the health benefit to people sharing their lives with pets.

“Pets are integral parts of our families,” said Werber, who lives what he preaches.

He and his wife share their home — and their bed — with four cats and four dogs, including a French bulldog, a Labrador, a labradoodle and a rat terrier.

“We say we can’t get any more (animals) because we can’t find a bed bigger than a California king.”

— Megan Sexton


“Lassie’s Pet Vet” airs at 5 p.m. Sundays on ETV, cable channel 11.