Our personal companions, who taught us so much about working with animals for film/TV, all now sadly passed on.


Animal Farm – TNT/Hallmark’s award winning film. In Nov 98 the canine star ‘Jessie’ is played by Mary’s collie ‘Spice’. The film features nine other Fircroft dogs. This was a fascinating and challenging film to work on – with over 150 creatures – fur and feather all working together. – “To Spice, Rita & Mary ‘Brilliant – one more please!” John Stephenson, Director. 

It was a great pleasure to work with you both. I hope we do it again, all my love” Mike Brewster, Director of Photography.

To Rita, Mary & Spice with thanks and gratitude” Greg Smith, Producer – Animal Farm Dublin 1998. 

Many of our dogs came to us from rescue situations and with TLC. and training we have developed their personalities. Apart from their talents as canine actors they remain first and foremost our pets.

SPICE – Mary’s tri-colour border collie – best known for her work as “Jessie”, the canine heroine in Hallmark’s production of George Orwell’s Animal Farm 1998. Spice started her career as a puppy on RTE afternoon show ‘Live At Three’. Together with Mary’s collie Jack they featured for the entire season of 1995/96. A very special companion and a very talented dog, Spice featured in many films and commercials.

MURPHY– Rita’s smooth coated black and white Border Collie – well remembered as Gerry’s dog on the Gerry Ryan show “Ryanstown” . Murphy’s great personality and quirky face made him a very popular dog with casts and crews throughout his long career in films and commercials. Murphy worked with stars Daniel Craig, Gabriel Byrne, Jared Leto,Dave Kelly & Milo O’Shea to name just a few.

ZAFFLE– Rita’s Working Trials Champion–Best known for her work as Paddy Clarke’s dog ‘Snaffle’ in RTE’s “Fair City”. Rescued from cat and dogs home at five weeks old Zaffle was a brilliant little dog both talented and entertaining she was in great demand for Film and TV.

Celtie – our Irish Wolfhound – best known for her role as companion to Ned Beatty who played the part of singer Joseph Locke in ‘Hear my Song . Celtie was a true gentle giant, loved people, loved to learn and loved her many acting roles over the years.

Boy – Our Irish Wolfhound – featured with Daniel Craig and Greta Satchi in “Love & Rage”. We borrowed ‘Boy’ for the film, had him for three months and fell in love with and kept him. Boy had a number of films and commercials to his credit. His last appearance was with a tiny Yorkshire terrier playing the parts of ‘Terms & Conditions’ in AIB advert.

Sonny – Jack Russell – best known for his role in the comedy ‘Mystics’ with Milo O’Shea and Dave Kelly. In 1998 we needed a little terrier to work on Animal Farm. Sonny came to us from PAWS rescue centre. Dave Kelly said of Sonny ‘The only dog I have ever worked with who didn’t bite me’ “Dervela Kirwan”

Jamie our Irish setter best known for his work on Bus Eireann ads. Loved by the cast of Ballykissangel especially Dervla Kirwan.


Scruff – Rita’s rescued girl – well know as the dog on the threadmill in the Erin hot cupadvert. She was a very entertaining and clever little dog and did lots of adverts and poster campaigns including the 15cent Plastic bag levy poster and the Bord na Monaadvert ‘Cuddle up to a real fire’ and the first of its kind the 3D poster for Allianz Insurance    which now hangs in our vets surgery and reminds me, every time I see it, of the happy times we had together

Sheba – Rita’s Rottie – best known for her work on Hallmark’s Animal Farm 1998. Sheba came to us from PAWS rescue centre and stayed! Sheba was a very fearful dog – showing all the signs of physical and mental abuse. Sheba, with our help, gradually overcome her suspicions and became a much loved and happy member of our family. She had a guest appearance in the movie Damien Omen 11.

Jack – our black and white border collie – best known for his role as Birdie O’Hanlon’ssheepdog Trixie in Ballykissangel. Jack was a big, handsome chap who loves to learn and to work. Together with Spice he started his career as a young puppy on RTE’s Live at Three. He did done lots of movies, adverts and photo shoots.

Cajun – mother of Spice,  Animal Farm’s “Jessie”   Cajun is a very sweet natured little dog and has inherited her mother’s lovely personality and intelligence with lots of adverts to her credit.

Bud – Terrier crossbreed – Bud was a stray that we rescued.  Bud made his debut as part of the ‘rescue gang’ in Lassie.. He was such a personality that they wanted to buy him,  but we would not part with him. He loved his part as the football mad mutt in the  Eircom advert – May 05. 

Balto – our bull mastiff, another rescue. Balto came to us because he was just too much of a handful for his family and he was aggressive towards other dogs. He made his film debut as one of the pound dogs in the Lassie and went on to work on many more movies.

The Iggies – our greyhounds – best know for their work as Iggy the dog in Paramounts movie ‘Honeymooners’ with Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps. We rescued seven failed racing greyhounds for this movie, three of whom – Iggy OneIggy Two and Iggy Three – played the role of Iggy. Iggies One and Two had a wonderful time finishing the Movie in New York.  They remained with us in our family  until they passed on years later through old age.  Greyhounds are very easy to live with and make wonderful pets.


Toddy, Border Collie, Mary’s constant companion and a very talented canine actor. He featured in The Hallow and has many shorts and TV adverts to his credit. He is very much missed.