Lady and the Tramp (1955) is another movie with a great, full cast. There’s humans, dogs, that goofy beaver, and even the two evil cats. Oh, and the humans, I suppose.
Everybody probably knows someone like Trusty: long-winded, something of a broken record, old-fashioned, sentimental, sweet, prone to exaggerate… but people as awesome as Trusty are probably a rare breed.
Admittedly, for most of the movie Trusty doesn’t seem like much. He’s an old bloodhound, retired from duty in the Rangers (or whatever), and yammering to anyone who’ll listen about Grandpappy Ol’ Reliable. Jock the Scottie insists that Trusty has lost his sense of smell, and aside from trying to help salvage Lady’s reputation after Aunt Sarah gets her from the Pound, he seems pretty useless.
Then the rat attacks, and Tramp is carted off to the Pound and certain death. Then we start to see what the old dog is really made of. He has a strong sense of right and wrong. He is willing to admit his mistakes. He’s determined to do the right thing. And he’s got a lot of courage– racing the Dog Catcher and holding the wagon is dangerous, as we well know.
When he starts to chase after the wagon, and Jock brings up the “lost your sense of smell thing” Trusty is clearly offended but doesn’t waste time. He’s confident in himself, and is capable of doing what needs to be done. And time doesn’t seem to have slowed him down much, either. That wagon was going pretty fast, and he chased it down, fine. Recovering from getting pinned down by it was no picnic either.
But as willing as he was to exercise the bragging rights that feat awarded him, Trusty was still willing to acknowledge his shortcomings (mainly his memory) with a sense of humor. He was also willing to let Jock help him, although he didn’t necessarily need it.
A character who pleasantly surprises (or even disarms) the audience is always a joy. Trusty fits the bill nicely, and reminds us that there’s often more to people, and dogs, than meets the eye, and age doesn’t necessarily equal competence. It’s a good lesson for pretty much any time.