Meet Sparky, formerly known as Guard Dog. Though he runs free now, Sparky was a tethered dog who lived for years at the end of a chain. He found solace in singing to his friend, the moon, and the time that the young neighborhood girl, Doozy, visited him. Despite the challenges he faced while chained, this sweet, resilient pup remains a loving and optimistic soul. 

Get to know Sparky with these strips featuring this beloved formerly chained pup!

Sparky, formerly known as Guard Dog, lives his life at the end of his chain but dreams of freedom and a life with the little neighborhood girl who treats him with such kindness.

April 11, 2004 MUTTS Comic Strip

He often expresses himself with his dear friend, the moon.

June 27, 2004 MUTTS Comic Strip

But the neighborhood girl, Doozy, is his dearest friend of all and shows him all the love that he so rightly deserves.

December 25, 2004 MUTTS Comic Strip

Despite the treatment he’s received, he remains sweet, trusting, and loving.

May 15, 2008 MUTTS Comic Strip

But he dreams of running free, straight into the arms of his Doozy.

December 24, 2020 MUTTS Comic Strip

And she dreams of him, too.

December 25, 2020 MUTTS Comic Strip

One day, his owner moves away, cruelly and carelessly leaving Guard Dog behind, still on his chain.

November 17, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

Doozy’s visits were once Guard Dog’s metaphorical lifeline, but on this visit, she was his literal lifeline.

November 24, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

She jumps into action, sending Earl to fetch Ozzie so she can stay at Guard Dog’s side.

November 28, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

Doozy, Ozzie, Mooch, and Earl rally together to rescue Guard Dog and finally free him of his chains.

November 30, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

After being unchained, he wakes up in the animal shelter … but someone special is waiting for him.

December 13, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

After a 7-day stray hold, Guard Dog is adopted and gets to go home with his Doozy, finally and officially hers.

December 14, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

With a new lease on life and a new home, Guard Dog finally receives his new name — Sparky.

December 15, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip

He once again greets his friend the moon, this time from inside his new home with his Doozy.

December 17, 2023 MUTTS Comic Strip


Learn more about Sparky’s plight and learn how you can help tethered dogs like him.

Comments (17)

I don’t remember when I started looking forward to Mutts every morning but it’s been a long time I grew up in Englishtown and always loved the animals everywhere I lived
Thank you for supporting the cause of protecting the animals everywhere
It’s been months but as I read the story of Guard dog I am flooded with tears again
I volunteer with the local pound and have known so many wonderful bullies and pitties We need to treat them all better by changing laws, enforce them and changing perceptions of these precious souls Bless you all

Elizabeth Kulnid

Thank you, thank, thank you, Patrick. I will seek out your publications and have no doubt that every day I enjoy them, that day will be brightened and blessed with gentle humor, hope, and continued inspiration to do whatever I can manage for all animals with whom we share our world. God Bless.
Irvine, CA

Carol Cavalier

Sparky (formerly Guard Dog) has such a big heart. You would think that all of those years being chained would make him bitter and mean. But Doozy and Earl & Mooch would make regular visits to make sure that he was ok. And then Ozzie helps free him and gets him to a caring place. I’m so glad that he was finally freed.
I can’t wait until the book comes out.

Kathleen Barnett

once again patrick mcdonnell is wise to teach, dont never stop! more power to you! I can not stop tearing up ! i wish i could meet you . you are cut from the same character mold as charles schultz “peanuts” anyone who works for you should be proud ! – douglas hogan 2/15/24

douglas hogan monmouth county n.j.

Dear Patrick, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to have Sparky reappear after he was freed and went to live with Doozy. Your choice to use no words in the cartoon, just the hearts, was even more perfect. Thank you again for this beautiful love story.

Hope Page

For as long as I can remember I’ve been waiting for Guard Dog to be released from the chain. Now he is released, has a home with his new name and with his forever family. I am so loving this story and look forward to many more years of Sparky and Doozy and Mooch and Earl. I just saw the Valentine’s strip and cried happy tears!! I plan on getting the book. Thank you so very much for the stories. Thank you for sharing your voice for the animals. Thank you for giving him the name, Sparky, in honor of Charles Shultz and Snoopy. Thank you!!!

Juanita Ocampo

I read this storyline over and over again and I still tear up! I’ve seen and known “Guard Dogs” all my life and it never gets easier to see! Thank you for freeing that sweet pup!

Silvia McClure

I don’t believe there is any more precious gift then helping or rescuing an animal in need. God bless you Patrick and all behind the scenes to make this production happen. It warms my heart what you are doing to bring attention to the plight of animals. There’s an old saying, “I have dedicated my life to helping animals…because so many have dedicated their lives to hurting them.” God bless.

Joe Chapman

I love Sparky. We need more of him.
Hugs, Rose Mary


I love Sparky. We need more of him.
Hugs, Rose Mary