‘Joie de Vivre’ is a Key Element of Mutts

There’s no question that the comic strip “Mutts” is an unbridled success. Created by Patrick McDonnell 25 years ago, the animal-centric strip is syndicated to more than 700 newspapers in 20 countries. “Mutts” has won numerous prestigious awards, including the National Cartoonists Society’s highest honor, the Reuben Award. And “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz declared “Mutts” to be “one of the greatest comic strips of all time.”

above: not Earl

McDonnell’s actual first dog, Earl, a fun-loving Jack Russell terrier who lived to be almost 19, was the inspiration for one of the main characters in “Mutts.” The artist wasn’t sure what to name the cartoon dog; fittingly, his hero, Schulz, suggested the perfect name.

“He said I should name him after my own dog.

“I always thought if I can capture his love of life on the page, I was doing my job,” McDonnell said. “Earl was just so fun and so smart, and just another soul. I didn’t think of him as a dog, really. I just thought of him as a best friend.”

“Seeing the world through the eyes of a dog or a cat and other animals, I started realizing how tough animals had it on this planet, and that slowly became part of this strip — in particular, ‘Shelter Stories.’”

Jen Reeder, for Today, writes an uplifting article about Mutt’s creator
Patrick McDonnell and his passion for shelter dogs and cats.


“Mutts” strips have been compiled into more than 20 books — a special 25th anniversary book titled “The Art of Nothing” comes out Oct. 15 — and McDonnell donates 5% of the proceeds of books and other merchandise purchased from MUTTS.com to the Humane Society of the United States. He also donates signed “Mutts” prints to any animal shelter or rescue organization that requests one for a fundraiser to help pets.

above: The Art of Nothing, available October 15, 2019