Farewell to our friend animal activist, philanthropist, and Simpsons co-creator SAM SIMON

Sam Simon Peta Center

We are sad to say good-bye to animal activist Sam Simon, who lost his battle with cancer on March 8th. Most people know Sam for his most famous achievement: the Simpsons, of which he was the co-creator. But what most people may not know, is that Sam had a huge heart for animals and animals wellbeing. He dedicated most of his life and most of his late life to save and rescue as many animals in captivity as possible, by buying circuses around the world just to set the animals free. In 2013 we had the pleasure of meeting with him for an unconventional interview…his dog Columbo was the one who asked the questions. Here is what we learned.


Columbo: Sam, why do you choose big dogs?

Sam: Columbo you’re a big dog and Girdy is a very big dog, but actually I’ve had dogs of all different sizes. I’ve had Shih Tzu’s. I’ve had Toy Poodles. I’ve had Border Collies and
Irish Wolfhounds. When my big Irish Wolfhound, Harvey died. I wanted a dog that would help guard the house and be a crime fighter. So, when we heard about your situation Columbo. I thought you fit the bill.

Columbo: Were you ever scared of me?

Sam: Well Columbo, I don’t know if you’re going to read this article, and I certainly don’t want to say I was scared of you. But there’ve been a couple times when your behavior
made me a little nervous. [Laughs]

Sam Simon with his dogs

Sam Simon with his dogs Girdy (left) and Columbo (right). Photo by Michael Brian


Columbo: How did people react to me when they saw us walking in the neighborhood?

Sam: One of the interesting things about when we’re our in public, when I take you to work, or when I have people over, is that people comment on what a good dog you are, and how well behaved you are. And when I’m taking you on a walk, you always heel. Or I should say you usually heel perfectly, and you’re very well behaved. So people comment on how well trained you are. Now, if sometimes there’s a dog across the street, or we get surprised by somebody. I have to be a little more assertive, but most of the time you look like a champ.

Columbo: What do you enjoy most about my breed?

Sam: Well… Columbo you are the funniest dog I’ve ever had. You make funny faces and funny noises [chuckles], and I like watching you try to be a good dog even though you still
have some bad instincts, sometimes. You are a sweet good boy, and I think you have turned out to be a good dog.

Columbo: What things should factor into deciding my breed as a pet?

Sam: I’m not sure you should be looking for a breed of dog as a pet. I think you should go to your shelter, and see what dog speaks to you, and you feel like taking home. You
shouldn’t do it as impulse. You should be realistic about how much care your going to give the dog and how much training it needs. And if you’re able to do that! There’s a lot of
dogs that will do just fine and will figure out a way to fit into your family. There’s a lot that need a lot more time, and a lot more effort. It’s worth it, but you have to be willing to do it.

Columbo: What should a new dog owner avoid doing when choosing this type of dog?

Sam: I would say the most important thing for a new dog parent…Housebreaking, socialization, laying the foundation for your dog. You got to do it right, and you got to do it
early. Not being able to housebreak a dog is the BIGGEST reason dogs are turned back into shelters. The other reason is aggression and these are all things you have a much better chance at if you know what you’re doing when your dog’s a puppy.

Columbo: If you could have a do-over, would you choose me again as a pet?

Sam: Well, to be honest if I could have a do-over. [Pause] I would choose you as a pet, but I would get you to Tyson Kilmer when you were 6 weeks old.

Columbo: Why did you choose Girdy as a breed?

Sam: All my dogs have been rescues and adopted. I visited an Irish Wolfhound breeder, and I was just so taken by the dogs that were all running around and they said they had
a couple of puppies. So, I made a wonderful mistake and bought a couple dogs. But I would never do it again. I would never get another Irish Wolfhound, and I would certainly
never buy another dog. I have rescued three dogs since then, and you are one of them Columbo. And it shows that even if you want an unusual breed like a Cane Corso. You can get it through rescue. You can rescue any kind of dog you want.