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Five questions for Uggie
Five questions for Uggie: Uggie, the loveable Jack Russell Terrier from the Academy Award winning film "The Artist" has a new autobiography. He and his owner Omar von Muller answer 5 questions from Bryan Alexander. Video produced by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
Uggie the dog from winner of Best Picture, "The Artist" poses in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. / JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images


When the French silent film The Artist won the Oscar for best picture last year, fans thought one of its stars got robbed: Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier, wasn’t nominated.

Of course, “Best Dog” isn’t a category. In his new memoir, Uggie: My Story, the canine says (through “interpreter” Wendy Holden) that there should be more acclaim for mutt-inee idols. If it’s any consolation, he did earn the coveted Golden Collar Award. “Uggie is a star because when the director says ‘action,’ he turns on, does whatever he is supposed to, and he doesn’t get distracted with the cameras or anything else,” says trainer Omar Von Muller.

Von Muller adds that people tell him all the time they have dogs who do tricks and can be in movies. “I thought that too,” he says. “But when I got on my first movie set I found out how hard it is. I thought, ‘My dog can walk out of a church, then sit. That’s not tough.’ Well, on a movie set you might need to repeat that identical behavior 20 times for 20 shots at 20 angles.”

Uggie ad-libbed scenes with co-star Jean Dujardin not in the script. Dujardin played with Uggie like he might with any other actor, and the director (Michel Hazanavicius) encouraged ad-libbing. And like any comedian, he seemed to understand when he was being funny.

Like all memoirs, Uggie’s includes scandal. He admits his infatuation with Reese Witherspoon, whom he met making Water for Elephants.

Uggie is 10, and his movie days are over, but he attends events to help shelter dogs.

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Contributing editor Steve Dale is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant. He writes a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper column and is the host of two syndicated radio shows. Most recently he is the author of two e-books that answer common (and some not-so-common) pet-behavior problems, Good Dog! and Good Cat! (available wherever e-books are sold).