For more than three decades, Disney Legend Bill Farmer has been voicing some of the Mouse House’s most famous cartoon canines, from Mickey’s best buddy, Pluto, to the delightfully accident-prone Goofy — whose specific classification is admittedly a point of contention. So it’s only natural that he’d be the one to host Disney’s new dog-centric reality series, It’s a Dog’s Life, which premieres on May 15 on the Disney+ streaming service. “I’ve had dogs my whole life,” Farmer tells Yahoo Entertainment, with a laugh. “And I’ve been voicing dogs for 33 years!” (Watch a new trailer for It’s a Dog’s Life above.)
Funnily enough, though, it was Farmer who pitched Disney on the series rather than the other way around. Several years ago, the actor and his close friend, Steve Duval — a longtime cameraman for the CBS reality juggernaut, The Amazing Race — shot footage at an equestrian center in Reno, Nev., which had a large dog population. “The footage of me playing with the dogs kind of jumped out at us,” he remembers now.
Originally the duo considered shopping the project to networks like PBS and Animal Planet, but a Disney publicity executive convinced them to pitch it in-house first. Farmer says he received some help in that department from Don Hahn, the director of such Disney favorites as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. “He was kind of our fairy godmother who helped us with the pitch. Disney loved the idea and bought 10 episodes.”
Each of those 10 episodes — which will hit Disney+ every Friday starting May 15 — features two profiles of dogs who are gainfully employed in a wide variety of jobs, from helping raise baby cheetahs to hunting for whale poop on the high seas. “We found the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, who is a dog,” Farmer teases. “According to them, he’s doing a better job than any of the people they’ve had!” He’s also befriended snake-hunting dogs in Hawaii, contraband-sniffing dogs at Los Angeles International Airport and avalanche dogs in Colorado. “I was buried in the snow, and they found me and unburied me,” he marvels. “There are so many stories out there of amazing dogs and the jobs they do that we can keep going for many seasons if Disney so desires.”
Of course, Farmer has two amazing dogs closer to home. “My wife and I currently have two rescue dogs,” he tells us, happily. “One is Boo, who is a 12-year-old pitbull and black Lab mix, and the other is a 13-year-old Westie who kind of rules the roost. We call her our terrier-ist.” He’s also heartened to know that so many dogs are finding foster and forever homes during the conronavirus pandemic. “Dogs are man’s best friend, and in these times they are such a comfort around the house.” Take it from, Pluto, folks.
It’s a Dog’s Life premieres May 15 on Disney+.
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