Legendary Dog’s Life to Be Made into a Movie

A feature film project in memory of Skidboot, the famous Texas dog who captured hearts and minds around the world, needs donations to make it leap on to the silver screen. (Source: Kickstarter Productions).

There are only 53 days left to put money toward making the heartwarming true story into a movie, according to sources.

“Other projects have raised closed to one million dollars to help seed their start-up,” states a mass email from the Skidboot fans web site.

The premise of the film is “Old Yeller meets Marley and Me” and the movie poster reads that the theme is “loyalty, discipline, love, and companionship.”

Skidboot, who is no longer with us, won several awards when he was alive, among them a Pet Star honor, appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” twice on “Oprah,” and on various other programs.

To donate to the cause, see kickstarter.com/projects/1635224250/skidboot-movie-project-heartwarming-true-texas-sto?ref=email.

In 2005 I had the privilege of doing a story for happynews.com, a website I was writing for at the time.

The subject was not human but of the four-legged variety, a very talented canine by the name of Skidboot. I was familiar with him from seeing him perform his various tricks on TV and now I got to interview his owner, David Hartwig of Texas and find out how his beloved dog Skidboot came to claim fame.

Skidboot was a canine ranch hand, rodeo entertainer, guest on several late night talk shows, and companion to Hartwig and his wife Barbara for many years.

But, sadly in 2007 Skidboot took the well-worn path so many of his other dog pals have taken – to doggie heaven.

Once a performer at the State Fair, Skidboot had gained national fame for several years and even had his own website, book, and DVD.

“Human and canine family members attended the burial,” said writer David Flick. “The owners requested that remembrances be made in Skidboot’s name to local animal shelters of donors’ choice.”

“I’m just very empty,” Barbara Hartwig, who received Skidboot as a gift from David for Christmas 1992, said.

David was out of town during Skidboot’s funeral but the couple left a tribute to their beloved pooch on their website, skidboot.com:

“What a wonderful life of 14 years he lived!” it said. “Never has a last minute, second-thought Christmas gift ever shone so brightly as Skidboot.”

Flick said Skidboot was best known for winning the $25,000 championship on Animal Planet TV networks Pet Star competition in 2003.

“The puppy, which was half Australian blue heeler and half chef’s surprise, initially was unruly, with neighbors complaining that he was chasing livestock and pets,” writes Flick. “Mr. Hartwig said in later interviews that he almost gave Skidboot away before discovering that the torment was masking an inner genius.”

Flick wrote that David taught the dog increasingly intricate tricks.

According to Flick, David would tell Skidboot to grab a ball on the count of three.

In addition to his national itinerary, Skidboot also entertained kids at schools.

A few years ago I heard a poem on the radio about losing a dog.

It seems only fitting to remember Skidboot in this way now:

“Dogs Don’t Have Souls, Do They?”

By Chuck Wells

I remember bringing you home. You were so small and cuddly with your tiny paws and soft fur.

You bounced around the room with eyes flashing and ears flopping.

Once in a while, you’d let out a little yelp just to let me know this was your territory.

Making a mess of the house and chewing on everything in sight became a passion, and when I scolded you, you just put your head down and looked up at me with those innocent eyes, as if to say, “I’m sorry, but I’ll do it againas soon as you’re not watching.

As you got older, you protected me by looking out the window and barking at everyone who walked by.

When I had a tough day at work, you would be waiting for me with your tail wagging just to say,
“Welcome home. I missed you.” You never had a bad day, and I could always count on you to be there for me. When I sat down to read the paper and watch TV, you would hop on my lap, looking for attention. You never asked for anything more than for me to pat your head so you could go to sleep with your head over my leg. As you got older, you moved around more slowly. Then, one day, old age finally took its toll, and you couldn’t stand on those wobbly legs anymore. I knelt down and patted you lying there, trying to make you young again.

You just looked up at me as if to say you were old and tired and that after all these years of not asking for

anything, you had to ask me for one last favor. With tears in my eyes, I drove you one last time to the vet. One last time, you were lying next to me.

For some strange reason, you were able to stand up in the animal hospital, perhaps it was your sense of pride. As the vet led you away, you stopped for an instant, turned your head and looked at me as if to say, “Thank you for taking care of me.”

I thought, “No… Thank you for taking care of me.”

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