The first dog to audition for the role was Comet, a Golden Retriever who appeared as the family dog in the TV show Full House. Although Carlei was blown away by Comet's skills, the dog in the novel was a black mixed breed and the search continued. It was only after auditioning over a hundred dogs that Carlei went back to Comet and asked if he could be made to look like a mutt.
Comet's coat was dyed dark and trimmed short. To make sure they had done enough, the producers asked a dog show judge to take a look at Comet. The judge pronounced the dog to be a Golden cross and Comet got the role.
Although animatronic puppets were made to double for him in especially dangerous or difficult scenes, Comet proved to be such an outstanding performer that he hardly ever needed one. Comet can be seen in his normal coat in the 1997 made-for-TV film, My Magic Dog a.k.a. My Ghost Dog.
Discussing Comet's acting abilities, his trainer, Cristie Miele, said, "If ever there was a dog who was a person at one time, it's him."
Pictured: Photo from author's collection; "Fluke" makes a phone call. Copyright MGM, 1995.
You can buy Fluke, easily one of the best dog films ever made, and My Magic Dog through the links below.