Once Upon a Dog

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Once Upon a Dog
Zhil-byl pyos
Once upon a dog .jpg
Genre Animated cartoon
Directed by Eduard Nazarov
Country of origin  Soviet Union
Original language(s) Russian
Ukrainian (songs)
Producer(s) Soyuzmultfilm
Editor(s) Yelena Mikhaylova
Running time 10 min 36 sec
Original release 1982

Once Upon a Dog (Once Upon a Time There Lived a Dog, Russian: "Жил-был пёс" (Zhil-byl pyos)) is an acclaimed Soviet animated cartoon, adapted from a Ukrainian folk tale.[1]

The cartoon won the first place at the 1983 International Film Festival in Odense and a special prize at the 1983 festival in Annecy.[2]


The day comes when an old watchdog becomes useless but the masters, being kind, decide not to drive him away. However, they become exasperated when the Dog is indifferent during a burglary. The Dog is kicked out and goes to the forest, where he meets the Wolf, his old enemy. The Dog and the Wolf are both old, so they understand they can't be just enemies. The Wolf stages a kidnapping to help his mate and the Dog "rescues" the child. The Dog is welcomed back to the khutor (the farmstead) and continues with his old duty. The winter comes and one evening the Dog hears the howl of the Wolf. The Dog remembers to repay the Wolf's kindness. He helps the Wolf to enter the house where there is a wedding in progress and takes him different kinds of food from the table. Becoming tipsy from the effects of a large meal, alcohol and a warm house, the Wolf starts to howl his "song". He howls and the Dog has to cast the mate away from the house. The Wolf thanks the Dog and the best friends bid farewell.

The story reveals the problem of becoming old and useless. It appeals to everyone's ability for mutual readiness to help, despite past history.


The cartoon repeatedly features the Ukrainian folk songs "Oy tam na hori" ("Oh, there at the mountain") and "Ta kosyv batko, kosyv ya" ("My father and I were mowing") performed by "Drevo" folk choir from Kryachkovka village of Pyryatin District, Poltava Region. The Dog was voiced by Georgi Burkov and the Wolf by Armen Dzhigarkhanyan. Animators – Anatoly Abarenov, Natalia Bogomolova, Sergey Dezhkin, operator – Mikhail Druyan, sound producer – Andrey Filchikov.

A steel monument to the Wolf was placed in 2005 in Tomsk and a copy was made in 2007 in Angarsk.[3] The monument is unofficially called "Monument to Happiness".


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