Downward Dog Star Was Adopted From An Animal Shelter

Martin, the soulful-eyed canine star of ABC’s new comedy, Downward Dog, was adopted from an animal shelter in Chicago, Illinois. In real life, the television’s star’s name is “Ned,” and he had been living in the animal shelter for a year-and-a-half before he was handpicked to star in the new show.

Downward Dog executive producers Michael Killen and Samm Hodges knew that they wanted a mixed breed, rescue dog to star in the show, so a nationwide hunt was conducted until the perfect shelter pup was found – it was Ned’s expressive eyes that sealed the deal. Killen told People, “It was Ned’s eyes, we kept coming back to that dog.”

Ned went through six weeks of training in preparation for his starring role and he was adopted by the show’s trainer, Nicole Handley. Ned mastered his new skills quickly – his biggest struggle was overcoming a lack of confidence which was brought on from his extended time at the shelter.

The show is centered around the relationship between Martin, and his owner, Nan (played by actress Allison Tolman). The audience gets to see the world, and the human/dog bond, through Martin’s eyes.

Downward Dog premiered on ABC on Wednesday May 17. Find Downward Dog’s Facebook page here.

Watch a heartwarming video, a Poem To My Foster Dog, here.

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Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    What a wonderful story. Just imagine the potential of ALL pets in a shelter. They ALL deserve a chance at life. They have so much to give…

  2. Barbara Walker says:

    And what happens to the dog when the series
    Bombs or get cancelled
    What Provisions are made for the dog to be treated in a loving family right
    Or are you just going to dump him back into where he came from

    1. Penny Eims says:

      The dog was adopted by the show’s trainer – he has a forever home.

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