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Today, marks the birthday of Terry, the dog who gave the ultimate canine tour de force performance as Toto in the Wizard of Oz and forever entered our national imagination becoming a symbol of the canine/child bond. Born in 1933 Terry was owned by the famous dog trainer Carl Spitz who founded one of the first American dog training schools, The Hollywood Dog Training school, in 1927. At the time The Wizard of Oz was made Terry was already a star having appeared in six films, including Bright Eyes with Shirley Temple. Terry was payed a 125 dollars a week for appearing in the Oz film, more then some of the human actors, and about five times the weekly salary of the average American during the Great Depression. Of course like everyone involved in the film Terry will be forever associated with The Wizard of Oz and her role as Toto eclipsed all of her other work. Spitz even officially changed her name to Toto in 1942.
Terry, or Toto, died in in 1945 having made fifteen films, the last of which was Tortilla Flat based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Toto was originally interred in a cemetery on Spitz's ranch, but eventually when the Ventura Freeway was expanded the property and cemetery where destroyed. On June 18, 2011 a permanent memorial to Toto was erected in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.