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R.I.P. Eddie

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R.I.P., "Frasier" Eddie

by Sarah Hall
Jun 26, 2006, 3:20 PM PT

It may have been a dog's life, but Moose, the Jack Russell terrier of Frasier fame, wasn't one to complain.

Kelsey Grammer's canine sidekick, known as Eddie on the long-running show, died Thursday at the ripe old age of 16 and a half, his trainer, Mathilde Halberg told People magazine.

"[H]e just had an incredible charisma and was such a free spirit," Halberg told the magazine of the dog some called the Lassie of the '90s.

Moose played Eddie for 10 years on the former NBC must-see TV staple and was known for his ability to steal scenes from his human costars.

"He was always trying to put Frasier in uncomfortable circumstances," Halberg said.

Other career highlights included landing a starring role in the film My Dog Skip, as an older version of Skip (who was played by his son, Enzo), gracing the covers of Life, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly, and penning his autobiography, My Life As a Dog, with a little help from TV writer Brian Hargrove (Wanda At Large, Titus).

In 2003, Animal Planet ranked Eddie the Dog fifth in its 50 Greatest TV Animals special, behind only Lassie, Kermit the Frog, Flipper and Mr. Ed.

However, the precocious pup wasn't always destined for greatness. His first family found him to be more of a challenge than they were willing to handle, as the youthful Moose was destructive, barked a lot, refused to be house-trained and even killed a neighbor's cat.

When he was two and a half, Moose was put on a plane from Florida to Los Angeles, where he got a second chance under Halberg's tutelage.

"I saved him from the pound. His owners called me as a last resort," Halberg told People. "He was extremely mischievous, always escaping, chewing up things and running off."

After six months of training, Moose proved he had what it took to make it in Hollywood when he went on his first audition and beat out his canine competition for the Frasier role.

"Moose had a great disposition for training," Halberg said in a 1994 interview with Animal Press. "He loved it right calmed him down a little. It’s as if all of a sudden he had a purpose in his life."

At the age of 10, Moose retired from show business, turning over the role of Eddie to Enzo and settling into doggy old age.

"The retirement of Moose was gradual," Halberg said in a 2002 interview with The Pet Press. "For a couple of years Enzo was doing all the fast-action, jumping up and down, retrieving or running moves. Anything that I thought was becoming a little too strenuous for Moose."

Even so, Moose still managed to outlive the Emmy-winning series, which came to an end in May 2004.