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Think your dog is well-trained? Meet Harvey, and reconsider. This freckled shelter pup performs a dazzling array of helpful household tricks, from shining (and not eating) shoes to picking the kids up at school—as he persuasively argues in this TV commercial, “Every home needs a Harvey .”
Since the ad first aired in the United Kingdom last fall, it’s racked up more than 1 million views on YouTube, and Harvey’s achieved canine celebrity in his homeland. He’s got his own Facebook page , a slew of “behind the scenes” extras and lots of incredibly cute pics for his fans to download. (The commercial is for UK advertising organization Thinkbox, which helps promote TV as a marketing medium.)
Offscreen, Harvey answers to a different name: Sykes. His real-life job as a pup-performer brings him plenty of work, including major film productions like Sweeney Todd, Prince of Persia and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean. In an article in The Guardian , Sykes comes across as refreshingly down-to-earth and charming, greeting the reporter at the door and showing off a sampling of the tricks he performed in his star-making commercial.
Sykes has a special connection to his Harvey character, too: He was once a stray. A friend of his future owner, Gill Raddings, was joined by Sykes while out on a walk. Raddings adopted Sykes after his original owner couldn’t be found, and she added him to her pack of acting animals.
Thinkbox’s “Harvey” commercial is currently getting a second blast of airplay across the pond, to the joy of his 12,000-plus Facebook fans. This time around, maybe he’ll make some new friends here in the States, and convince more people about the joys of adopting a shelter dog.