From making us laugh to offering unconditional love, pets enrich our lives and make the world a better place. A growing number of primetime TV shows are tapping in to the happiness that pets create, and many characters and on-screen families now have their very own furry companions. Here's a look at a few popular programs that feature pets, as well as some details about the animal actors starring on the small screen.
"Modern Family" - Stella
On the ABC show "Modern Family," the smallest member of the Delgado-Pritchett household has been played by two French Bulldogs named Brigitte and Beatrice. During the first three seasons, Brigitte was responsible for most of the shoe-chewing, counter-jumping action; starting with season four, her understudy Beatrice will be the one annoying Gloria and looking impossibly cute.
"Game of Thrones" - The Direwolves
Fans of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" are familiar with the massive wolves owned by the Stark family. Based on an extinct species of North American wolf, the unusually large and intelligent canines are the family's local companions and protectors. Though digitally enhanced to appear larger, the series' six direwolves are portrayed on-screen by Northern Inuit dogs. Actress Sophie Turner loved her on-screen pet Lady so much that she adopted Zunni, the dog who portrayed her, when her storyline concluded.
"Gossip Girl" - Monkey
Reformed bad boy Chuck Bass warmed hearts during Season 5 of "Gossip Girl," forming a close bond with his dog Monkey. In the series, Monkey is played by a dog named Hudson, who was saved from a shelter before becoming an animal actor. Hudson openly shares his story and encourages fans to support animal rescue.
"Suburgatory" - Yakult
On the ABC sitcom "Suburgatory," well-to-do housewife Dallas Royce (played by Cheryl Hines) is often accompanied by her adorable pooch, Yakult. The dog who plays Yakult, a Chihuahua/Poodle mix named Lambchop, helped host the first annual Golden Collar Awards, which recognizes outstanding animal actors. During the show, trainer Steve Solomon told the audience how Lambchop was found on a street and rescued from a shelter, adding that she has "the brains of a Poodle and the attitude of a Chihuahua - she's a real diva."
"Hot in Cleveland" - Chance
On TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland," Betty White's character Elka rescues a shelter dog that nobody wants. After changing his name from "Dummy" to "Chance," he becomes a much-loved member of the cast, and a source of some hilarious hi-jinks. Chance is played by a dog named Dart, who was nominated for a Golden Collar Award for his outstanding work on the series. One episode later this season is entitled "Box Full of Puppies," so it looks like more doggie-related delight is coming our way!