Happy was destined to be a star. The gorgeous canine cast member of The WB hit show 7th Heaven, now in its ninth season, wasn’t always living in seventh heaven. Happy’s Hollywood rise began on the streets. She was found wandering the streets, a scared, hungry, but hopeful stray. One of her trainer’s on the show, Shawn Weber, recalled that she was found sitting next to a sign that read: “My name is Happy. Please take me home.” Who would have thought this little stray would become a canine celebrity and one of the most eligible pets in the nation?
A veterinarian rescued Happy and took her in to stay. Then, one fateful day, her human angel appeared. Happy was “discovered” at the vet’s by Shawna Suffredini, a trainer from Boone’s Animals for Hollywood, based in Castaic Lake, California. Suffredini saw the pooch’s performance potential and adopted her. The trainers at Boone’s knew that a pilot was being cast for a show now known as 7th Heaven, and thought their adorable new adoptee would be a shoe-in (or paw-in) for the role of Happy, the canine member of the Camden Family.
They named her “Happy,” after the character in the script, so that she would respond naturally to the cast when they called her name during filming. Happy auditioned for her namesake role and nailed it, naturally. While most actors have to claw their way to the top, Happy was destined to be happy in Hollywood!
Happy’s been on 7th Heaven ever since. Although landing her first gig was a cinch for, Happy is serious actor, who works like a dog on the set. Her beautiful white fur, fantastic features and adorable eyes aren’t all there is to her on-screen appeal. She is beloved and respected by cast, crew, and trainers for her loveable nature and hard work. Catherine Hicks, the cast mate who plays Camden matriarch Annie, adores her: “Happy has…always been my favorite cast member…she’s fragile, smart and you just want to take care of her for the rest of your life. And she’s gradually begun to enjoy being a star…I want nothing but happiness for Happy. She deserves it.”
Happy is a mixed-breed terrier. Whereas many of her breed tend to be hyper, she is a laid-back and “easy-to-be-with” kind of gal. Stephen Collins, who plays Reverend Eric Camden on the show, gushes that she’s “the sweetest dog imaginable.” George Shults, who plays officer Kevin Kinkirk, is a huge admirer of this eligible pet and says, “Happy is my favorite member of our cast.”
Happy is a natural talent and a consummate professional. “She has been a joy to have on the show and is one of the only cast members that always shows up for work!” exclaims Brenda Hampton, creator and co-executive producer of 7th Heaven. In show business, that’s certainly no small feat! In addition, she does all her own tricks and stunts since it is difficult to find an exact mixed-breed terrier look-alike for her, and she must work about two to three hours a day when filming. Her “acting” coach, Shawna Suffredini, teaches her new tricks with a system of repetition and rewards of food and praise. So, she’s easy to love and easy to please, fellahs! On set, Happy has learned how to roll over and cover her eyes with her paws, shake her head on cue. She loves getting into her costumes, which consist of hats, rain boots and even tutus. Acting is a labor of love for Happy.
She certainly is a talented, charming, and magnetic female. It’s no wonder she was voted the 4th most favorite famous pet in M Magazine, beating out Garfield the Cat and even Benji. She has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and has appeared on Access Hollywood, E! Entertainment, Extra, The Oxygen Network, CNN’s Showbiz Today, and on the TV Guide Awards with her fellow cast mates. There’s not a bone of contention about Happy, who was definitely destined to be a star and (deservedly) Happy!
By Kirsten Kappenberg