Pets of Musicians: Paul McCartney, Elizabeth & The Catapult, Elvis and Other Animal-Loving Minstrels
Sometimes we catch a glimpse or 100 inside a musician's personal life and sometimes that includes getting to know their furry friends. For WYEP Animal Day, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite pet-owning musicians. From Paul's beloved sheep dog, to Elizabeth & The Catapult's braintrust bunnies to Elvis Presley being a “serial wallaby donator” to a community zoo, we'll look at the adorable, reliable and truest companions most musicians will ever know.
Pet: Martha the Sheep Dog
In 1966, Paul purchased a puppy in the town of High Wycombe, England while living in London with his girlfriend Jan Asher. Paul's first pet Martha the sheep dog became known for appearing in pictures and advertisements. Paul even wrote a song for her that appeared on The Beatles' White Album, "Martha My Dear"
Pet: Biggy Pop the Cockatoo
Even though punk icon Iggy Pop has a history of being an animal lover (check out this PETA collaboration he did with Nick Cave), it was still a wonderful surprise to see a new Instagram account for Biggy Pop, Iggy's adorable cockatoo appear in 2016. The home videos of Iggy and his sweet bird give you an idea of what their day-to-day consists of: swinging from cages, playing music and relaxing.
Elizabeth & The Catapult
Pet: Oslo the Rabbit
Living in New York City as a touring musician makes it difficult to own a dog, so Elizabeth Ziman has been a proud rabbit owner for several years. Formerly, she owned a bun named Patty Moon that WYEP has unofficially dubbed the "braintrust" of her band. Rabbits are a pretty big part of the songwriter's identity as she has even been known to write rabbit songs. Currently, she is the proud caretaker to Oslo, pictured here:
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ziman
Pet: Otis the Dog
Otis is forever immortalized on The Grateful Dead's 1980 live album "Reckoning" when, during "Ripple," the pooch walked out onstage. Jerry Garcia casually says "That's Otis," leaving fans who were not at the show wondering "WHO IS OTIS?"
Hat tip to listener Gerald C. for this very cool story! Here's the track that Otis made it into. You can hear people cheering when the dog walks onstage, Jerry introduces him around 1:37.
Pet: too many to name
Elvis had so many pets over the course of his life: a turkey named Bowtie, donkeys, peacocks and on and on. His most famous pet was a trouble-making chimpanzee name Scatters, who had a penchant for whiskey and pulling up women's dresses. He either died of liver failure from the hard drinking or poisoning by a maid he bit. Elvis dabbled in cattle ranching for awhile. People were often giving him animals like the couple of times he was gifted a wallaby in 1957, which he donated to the Memphis Zoo. He became a "serial wallaby donater" when the act was repeated in 1962. He also owned many many dogs throughout his life. Here he is with Priscilla, Lisa Marie and Brutus the dog, who also starred in the 1968 movie, "Live a Little, Love a Little."Embed from Getty Images
Pet: Liza the Dog
Neko Case is an outspoken advocate for the adoption of senior dogs, like her late shepherd mix Liza. Case is an ambassodor for Best Friends Animal Society, which works to end animal homelessness. She wrote very emotionally about when she adopted Liza in the book "My Old Dog" (just try not to cry while reading this!). Liza died in 2015, but will be immortalized in a video Neko recorded for the internet music festival, Couch by Couch West -- see below.
Jenny Owen Youngs
Pet: Sam the Cat
Sooooo, Jenny Owen Youngs' cat Sam has more Instagram followers than you do. This adorable ball of fluff's main gig is playing sidekick to the songwriter who has been compared to a "Golden Retriever." Looking into Sam's eyes is like looking directly into the gates of Heaven. If you're lucky, you might see Sam walking across the screen during one of Jenny's Stageit shows.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Owen Youngs
These are just a few of the many musicians who own amazing pets! Some others to look into:
- Barbara Streisand cloned her dog Sammie — repeatedly
- Sublime's Bradley Nowell's pup Lou Dog
- Michael Jackson's chimp Bubbles
- Billie Holiday's dog Mister