Casting Parks and Rec characters as dog breeds

Parks and Rec characters as dog breeds (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
Parks and Rec characters as dog breeds (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images) /
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Casting Parks and Rec characters as dog breeds will begin shortly, but first, a quick background of the episode in question is needed.

In the C plot of the episode “Fluoride,” (6.08), April and the rest of the Parks gang try to find out what their spirit dogs are, with their choices later emblazoned on a plaque labeled “Barks and Recreation.”

This episode takes place not long after April was promoted to Director of the Animal Control Department, which happened around the same time she decided not to attend vet school in Bloomington (“Bailout,” 5.16).

The main plot concerns Leslie’s efforts to get fluoride into the Pawnee water system, overcoming the constant annoyances of fellow councilmember Jeremy Jamm. Though she’s successful (thanks to Tom’s marketing savvy), she inadvertently gets her husband Ben fired from his job as director of the Sweetums Foundation.

The B plot follows an overzealous Chris as he tries to learn parenting tips from fellow new dad Ron, who agreed to show him how to build a crib.

The C plot, the part we’re talking about here, comes about because April has to create a new website for the Animal Control Department following the recent town merger with Eagleton. Along the way, everybody at City Hall tries to figure out the Parks and Rec spirit dogs.

April Ludgate-Dwyer (Aubrey Plaza)

Position at the time: Director, Pawnee Animal Control Department

April hates everyone and insults them at every opportunity, but secretly believes in helping other people when they need it (for example, driving Ron to the hospital in 2.02, “The Stakeout”). She thinks animals are much better than people, which is honestly pretty relatable, and generally comes across as aloof or apathetic, though she can be alarmingly enthusiastic about gory things or spontaneous decisions (she and Andy got married after dating for a month, 3.09, “Andyl and April’s Fancy Party”).

Tom’s future book, Failure: An American Success Story (7.13, “One Last Ride”), describes April as “individualistic, intense and intimidating.” She is all of those things, certainly, but she’s also a loyal team player willing to jump into any of Leslie’s harebrained schemes at the drop of a hat, and very determined when she sets her mind to a project.

Show’s choice: Siberian Husky

As Donna explains to her in very accurate detail, “You’re beautiful, yet cold and aloof, you pride yourself on being a loner. You do not obey, you choose to cooperate. And you bare your fangs when you pick a mate. Finally, you’re extremely loyal to your pack.”

Dog O’Day choice: Siberian Husky or Cat

That’s really hard to argue with. But April Ludgate is the literal human embodiment of Grumpy Cat (which is convenient, as Plaza was Grumpy Cat’s literal voice in her movie), and she has a large amount of cattitude. (Cats are also amazing and Rags is a great editorial assistant, even if we are a website primarily about dogs.)

Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt)

Position at the time: Somewhat unclear

When viewers first met Andy, he was an unemployed rocker who kicked everything off by breaking his leg falling into a pit (1.01, “Pilot”). When the series ended, he had just wrapped up hosting the locally-successful kids show The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show (7.11, “Johnny Karate…”). In between, he was homeless, the lead singer of the band Mouse Rat, Ben’s roommate, the shoeshine guy, and even worked in London for a while, becoming friends with a rich titled English dude.

Show’s choice: Golden Retriever

Tom’s book describes Andy as “Loving, exuberant and open-hearted,” which is spot-on. It’s also why the Golden Retriever is a solid choice, because Goldens are athletic, trainable and sometimes doofy. Air Bud is the obvious example of canine athleticism and trainability, while Andy frequently Rollerblades through City Hall and plays football in the parking lot.

Goldens can also be kinda derpy, like in this Golden Ratio photo. And that DEFINITELY applies – he goes around tackling random possums (2.18, “The Possum”) and mixes up Mount Rushmore with the Grand Canyon (4.06, “End of the World”).

Dog O’Day choice: Golden or Labrador Retriever

Despite, or perhaps because of, these less-than-intelligent decisions, it’s hard not to love Andy, mostly because he loves people so much (besides, he’s allergic to jerks). Both Goldens and Labs can be helpful as service dogs, making the world a brighter place by assisting others whenever possible. That fits Andy pretty well.