Paranorman and The Missing Dog

Paranorman and The Missing Dog

[Updated on 5-3-2013 after contact with Potato’s owner]

I was watching Laika’s new movie Paranorman when I got a surprise.

It’s no secret that Laika studios is based in Portland.  It’s less known, but the Laika office is only 3 blocks from my house in our quiet little neighborhood.  I got about 10 minutes into the movie when I saw our young protagonist Norman walking down the street when a seemingly innocuous little sign on a post caught my eye:

You’ll notice poor Potato is missing.  And a $5000 reward!

But would you be shocked if I told you this was hanging in our neighborhood about a year or two back:

[5-3-2013 update]  Actual owner of Potato saw this posting and said that poor Potato just went missing and has yet to be found.  No contractors, etc.  If you’ve seen her, do drop him a note.

[Original post follows and was disproven by owner – more proof that even in a tight neighborhood you shouldn’t listen to what every ‘neighbor of’ or ‘friend of’ has said.]  Even more strange is the fact that I recently ran into folks in our neighborhood (who also owned a cute bulldog) that were friends with the owners of poor missing Potato and told the strange tale.  It seems that some contractors were working at the owner’s house over several days.  The day they finished, Potato went missing.  The owners plastered the neighborhood with signs and a $1000 reward.  Then $5000.  The owners grew to suspected the contractors whose stories didn’t quite jive when asked about the last day of their work.  (Something similar happened to another house in our hood in which a house was ‘accidentally’ left unlocked on the last day the contractors were there. Right after the contractors left it was completely stripped in under 2 hours – even though it had set for weeks untouched.  Convenient huh?).  Apparently when the $5000 reward came out one of the contractors claimed that they came to work and Potato had fallen into the pool and died.  The contractors buried Potato ‘somewhere else’ to cover up the accidental death.  The owners were never convinced, and Potato never found.  The owners are convinced he was stolen by the contractors.  (Something I tend to agree with after a friend’s pug was stolen and only recovered when the family who took him was caught at a Petsmart when they ran the ID chip in him and it didn’t match.  The people weren’t even remorseful about it at all.  They were angry at the Petsmart guys and tried to forcibly take him back.)

So, that’s the strange story of Potato the bulldog; and the story behind a seemingly random posting on a movie power pole.

5 thoughts on “Paranorman and The Missing Dog

  1. Just saw paranorman. and im Not trying to bring up old stuff and be a victim or anything. But potato was my dog. And I couldnt be more grateful for laika for keeping her memory alive she deserves it. She was amazing. And I’m sorry to bore u with this. But some of your facts were wrong. Doubt anybody reads this . but she deserves it.
    The contractor story is complete BS. nor Have I heard about any neighbor dog being stolen. Many of your facts are wrong. Only thing that had some validity to it was her drowning in a neighbors pool…… It’s the most logical explanation . And if that’s what happened it was my fault for letting her out of my sight.

  2. Thanks for that information P, and I know I was very sad to hear about potato’s disappearance and watched for her in the hood. I always had a soft spot for bulldogs and pugs. She was clearly loved – hence the reason I wanted to share the story. The version I recounted here was told to me by a bulldog owner on Lovejoy that claimed to know your story. Apparently they did not (guess that’s proof that one shouldn’t rely on self-styled friends/neighbors who don’t have the story straight). Very sorry for the mis-information – the intent was always to tell the real story.

    Do feel free to share whatever you’d like here if you want. Surprisingly, I have actually seen a good number of hits on this article over time. I don’t work for Laika, but given the matching details of name/amount/type of dog, the fact the incident occurred when this movie was being made, and their studio presence in the neighborhood, I can only image that the Potato in the movie is a reference to your Potato. Perhaps someone from Laika could pop in. If it is, it seems like an amazing tribute to you friend.

    Again, very sorry for any confusion – and I’m glad to get the record set straight. As for the friend’s pug that got nabbed – that I can 100% attest to because I had first-hand knowledge and the friend was my friend that I know personally.

  3. We’re all good man. I was upset and kinda emotional thinkin about my old girl. And that was the first I’d heard of the contractor stuff.
    I couldn’t believe it when I saw it in paranorman either. I don’t know who I need to thank, but I owe them much thx. At the very least, keepin potatos memory alive.

  4. Hi, I just wanted to leave a comment that my husband and I remember meeting Potato in the Pearl 5 or 6 years ago. I lived in the NW Nob Hill area and would see her every now and then and absolutely remember seeing her missing signs. I just saw Paranorman for the first time a couple nights ago and had to google to see if there was a connection. Just want you to know we still remember her. What an impact that bulldog made! It was very cool to see that in the movie.

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