Considered one of the most influential series of all time, Friends was not just a TV show, it was a cultural phenomenon. The show’s popularity spread worldwide, with themed cafés popping up worldwide, apparel with the cast members’ faces, and popular vernacular influenced by the show’s slang.
There have even been several trivia games wholly dedicated to the series. But even the biggest Friends fans may not know the story behind the iconic Friends prop, Pat the Dog.
Pat the Dog from ‘Friends’
Though all the characters had ups and downs, Friends’ Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) was the one seen with the most financial struggles. The aspiring actor was caught in the constant hustle of auditions and near-big-breaks until, in Friends Season 2, he thought he made it.
Cast as Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives in Friends Season 2, Episode 10, Joey believes his financial woes are behind him. As such, when he and Chandler fight in Episode 16, Joey realizes he can afford his own apartment and moves into a swanky penthouse. When the friends visit Joey for the first time in Friends Episode 17, Joey’s new apartment is full of expensive art and ceramic animal statutes, one of which is Pat the Dog.
By the following episode, Joey’s success as a soap opera star has gone to his head. A comment he makes in a magazine interview gets Dr. Drake Ramoray killed off the show. Though Joey is not sad to move back in with Chandler, he is devastated to lose his ceramic zoo. Ross purchases Pat the Dog to ease his pain and gifts it to Joey, as Friends Fandom reports.
From this point on, the dog is a staple in the series, appearing sporadically throughout the remaining eight seasons. Pat the Dog even secured a prime spot in the show’s opening credits. (Joey and Chandler ride into Monica’s apartment atop the faux canine.)
Pat the Dog from ‘Friends’ also appeared on ‘Family Matters’
Another iconic show used the prop as well over the years. Family Matters Season 6, Episode 13, “An Unlikely Match,” sees Urkel set up a blood drive for a bully he discovers has leukemia. In the meantime, Harriett wants to refurnish the living room. After Carl discovers how much the domestic makeover would cost, he buys all their “new” furniture at the police auction. One of his purchased items is Pat the Dog.
As Family Matters and Friends were filmed on the Warner Bros lot, the prop seems to have been loaned between productions, reports IMDb.
Pat the Dog is rumored to have originally belonged to a ‘Friends’ cast member
Though Pat belonged to Joey on the show, the giant ceramic dog is rumored to have belonged to another member of the Friends cast. The dog is said to have been gifted to Aniston as a good luck present when the show began in 1994 (Factinate). However, it is unclear how the dog came to be used on the show. Adding the mystery, Pat the Dog seems to have appeared on Family Matters first as “An Unlikely Match” aired on January 20, 1995. Friends’ “The One Where Eddie Moves In” didn’t air until February 22, 1996.
The memorable statue remained on Friends throughout the rest of the series. In the final episode, Pat the Dog is seen being packed with the rest of Monica and Chandler’s belongings as they prepare to leave the iconic apartment. Monica, who never warmed to the giant fake dog, makes a joke to the movers that if the statue were to fall off the truck, “it wouldn’t be the worst thing.”
It is rumored that, when Friends ended, Pat the Dog went home with Aniston where he remains today. However, the F.R.I.E.N.D.S Café in Kolkata, India, houses a rather good look-a-like (The India Times). The mystery continues…