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|Santa's Little Helper|
|The Simpsons character|
Frank Welker (1991–95)
Dan Castellaneta (1992–present)
|The Simpsons||"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"|
Santa's Little Helper is a recurring character in the American animated television series The Simpsons. He is the pet greyhound of the Simpson family. The dog was introduced in the first episode of the show, the 1989 Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", in which his owner abandons him for finishing last in a greyhound race. Homer Simpson and his son Bart, who are at the race track in hope of winning some money for Christmas presents, see this and decide to adopt the dog.
Santa's Little Helper has since appeared frequently on The Simpsons and is the center of the plots of many episodes. During the course of the show, he has fathered litters of puppies, passed obedience school, had surgery for bloat, replaced Duffman as the mascot for Duff Beer, and been trained as a police dog at Springfield's Animal Police Academy. Some of the episodes that focus on Santa's Little Helper have been inspired by popular culture or real experiences that staff members of the show have gone through.
Although cartoon animals are often anthropomorphized, Santa's Little Helper generally exhibits canine behavior. Cast member Dan Castellaneta currently provides the dog's sounds on the show, but voice artist Frank Welker has also voiced him. Santa's Little Helper has become a popular character following his appearances on The Simpsons. He ranked 27th in Animal Planet's 2003 television special 50 Greatest TV Animals that was based on popularity, name recognition, and the longevity of the shows. He has also been featured in merchandise relating to The Simpsons, such as video games, board games, and comics.
Santa's Little Helper is a hound that appears on the animated television series The Simpsons and is the pet dog of the Simpson family. He can often be seen on the show in minor appearances, although there have been some episodes that feature him heavily, including the first episode of The Simpsons. In that episode, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (season one, 1989), Homer discovers that he has no money to buy Christmas presents for the family. Desperate for a miracle, he and Bart go to the greyhound racing track on Christmas Eve in hopes of winning some money. Although Homer has inside information on which dog is the most likely to win, he instead bets on a last-minute entry, Santa's Little Helper (here despite being brown), believing the dog's Christmas-inspired name to be a sign. However, the greyhound finishes last. As Homer and Bart leave the track, they watch the dog's owner abandon him for losing the race. Bart pleads with Homer to keep the dog as a pet and he agrees after it affectionately licks him on the cheek. When Bart and Homer return home, Santa's Little Helper is assumed by the rest of the family to be a Christmas present.
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