Odie by name and by nature: Real-life Garfield dog living in North Richmond

REMEMBER the fictional dog who appears in the comic strip Garfield by Jim Davis? His name is Odie, and he is currently living incarnate in North Richmond.

Odie - the real dog - is a kelpie-beagle cross, who according to owner Rebecca Hanson was destined to be a "pound puppy".

"His mum was a purebred kelpie and a beagle-cross jumped the fence and the owner was horrified," Rebecca laughed.

So Odie came to live with the Hansons, and is now the best buddy of 14-year-old Bryce, a student at Colo High School.

"They're great mates," said Rebecca.

The beagle is strong in Odie: "We both did agility with Odie and he was really good, but by the end of the night when everyone dropped their treats, Odie's nose took over and he ate all the treats!" Rebecca said.

Another time, the kelpie in him caused an incident down at the river: "Bryce decided to allow him off the lead and he just took off, running after the other dogs and rounding everyone up and jumping in everyone's laps," Rebecca recalled.

When Rebecca and Bryce brought Odie in to the Gazette office to be photographed, he knocked someone's coffee all over their desk.

"Odie is a prankster and a joker," Rebecca said. But he also has a softer side: "We have another hound, a female, and she's old, and Odie is her eyes and ears. They get on really well."

Bryce says Odie is a "fun, bubbly kind of guy", who "always wants to be around you and play".

When he is out in the yard and wants to come inside, he's worked out a way to get his family's attention.

"We have a ledge outside our kitchen window and he climbs up on to it and gives you the eye," Bryce said.

Odie hates thunderstorms. "He curls up in your arms, he gets really scared and starts panting," said Bryce.

While Rebecca isn't such a fan of dogs in beds - especially since last time Odie got into bed with her he jumped on her head during a thunderstorm - Bryce likes it just fine.

"He just lays at my feet. I don't mind," Bryce said.

Like many dogs, one of Odie's favourite things is food.

"He's very food-orientated," said Bryce. "He knows the sound of the fridge, and he pretty much likes to eat everything except for lettuce."

"He also knows a lot of tricks. He can shake, sit, go down, and he'll come to you when you call him ... well, sometimes!"