Animal Rentals Blog


    February 10, 2015 by Animal Rentals

    DID YOU KNOW? Right after his participation in Woodstock, Illinois last week to celebrate Groundhog Day, Woodstock Willie traveled to Rockford, Illinois. Willie took part in the “Take A Swipe At Breast Cancer” where Illinois Bank and Trust presented a check to the Crusader Clinic for the Pink Ribbon Awareness Campaign. These fantastic people made a donation every time a customer used their “Pink Ribbon Debit/Credit Card”. ANIMAL RENTALS is proud to have participated in this worthy cause. PLEASE LIKE, SHARE, AND COMMENT


    January 28, 2015 by Animal Rentals

     ANIMAL RENTALS has been the source for animal models   for photographers, modeling   agencies, booking agents and   production companies in search for the perfect animal to compliment products they are promoting.  Their clients are looking for well behaved     professional models because as they are  quick to say in the advertising circles, “Time is money”.  Calls are made to potential models followed by emails, interviews and auditions.  Some will make it, but many will receive a simple reply of  “Don’t call us. We’ll call you”.

    ANIMAL RENTALS contacted their friend “Denise” who has a well trained female Shetland Sheepdog named “Gia”, who would be used as a “prop” in a photo shoot involving a sofa protector.  The shot called for the little dog to sit still on a sofa.   This is very difficult for any animal to do as they are in a unfamiliar area with bright lights and strange people all around.   There was concern that this would be a lengthy shoot.

    On January 23rd, Denise walked into the studio with Gia.  They set the scene and took some “test” shots”. Satisfied with the results, the final photos were taken.  Before you could say “sofa protector” they had the picture they wanted. The job started at 10:15 and was completed at 10:35.

    This is just another reason why ANIMAL RENTALS is the professional’s choice for professional animal models.

    ANIMAL RENTALS is always looking for new talent.  Contact us at [email protected] if you have a pet that you feel could be the next super model.


    January 14, 2015 by Animal Rentals

    Ever wonder how animals are able to do the things they do in a movie or commercial?   Recently ANIMAL RENTALS was commissioned for a commercial involving a black cat running across an alley.  Sound easy? Remember, this was to be done at 11:00 pm on a very cold, wintry Chicago night in an alley at The Redhead Piano Bar on Ontario street.  Mobile dressing/hub trailers lined the street while a police car blocked the end of the alley to keep traffic out.  How would a cat possibly perform in this unfamiliar location and with all these distractions?

    Carol, a well known cat trainer, brought a team of 3 black cats; FLUFF, MUFF and RUFF.  They live indoors, but are trained to perform outside if necessary. Owing to the low temperature and for the safety of the cat, the shot had to be done quickly.  Trained to sit where they are placed, all three cats sat still allowing the crew to get the first shot of a cat sitting in an alley.  A short break followed, allowing Carol three minutes to rehearse the second shot.  MUFF was to run from one side of the alley to the other.  To do this, a carrier was set out of camera range where MUFF was needed to go.  Setting her down a couple of feet from the carrier, a command KENNEL was spoken and MUFF went into the carrier. Did you know that  cats can be trained to recognize words?  After a moment to praise and reward her performance, the process was repeated until the required length (12 feet) was reached.  MUFF was ready.

    With a call of  “Action”.  MUFF was placed at point A (the starting point) and her carrier placed across the alley at point B.  MUFF is trained to walk behind her trainer, but since  they wanted her running, Carol had to run through the camera shot so MUFF would follow her and run into her carrier.  Eight takes were filmed with MUFF performing flawlessly.  Satisfied that they had what they needed, the filming ended.  It was midnight.


    All three cats and our wonderful trainer Carol needed baths when they got home as they had soaked up a lot of dirty alley water.

    Great job everyone!



    December 31, 2014 by Animal Rentals

     Trixie, one of ANIMAL RENTALS popular models and  animal ambassadors, was no where to be seen early  Monday  morning.   Employees offered various    reasons for her disappearance;  still in  bed, sleeping  in another part of the  building,  exploring another  part of the building,  hiding upstairs  in the apartment  or too busy paying attention to some  new arrivals.  Whatever the reason, Trixie was missing.

    Bill Hoffmann, aided by employees and friends, searched the building from the roof to the basement with little success.  However, a set of keys, one of Mindy’s less favorite toys and a handful of missing pens were found.  The police were notified, fliers were printed and shelters were put on notice.  Bill, like any petl lover, was worried.  For Trixie to be gone for such a length of time was highly unusual as she was well trained and a “people and animal person”, happiest when she was surrounded by her friends.

    It was Victoria, a few hours later, who heard an unusual scratching sound coming from a corner near her desk.  With all the animals of Mindy’s Menagerie accounted for, that sound could mean only one thing.  Moments later a dusty, but still happy Trixie crawled from beneath the desk with an equally dusty tennis ball firmly in her mouth.  It appeared that while attempting to retrieve it,  the little terrier became trapped.  She walked slowly to Bill, gave him her best “I’m Sorry” expression and dropped the ball at his feet.

    Calls were made, posters taken down, sighs of relief filled the building.  TRIXIE WAS HOME!


    November 19, 2014 by Animal Rentals

    Here is a television commercial (circa 2002) of spokesperson LYNN HAULDREN of EMPIRE CARPETS and ANIMAL RENTALS very own animal actor “TOM T.TURKEY”. During the filming Lynn was a real trooper as TOM could be a bit testy at times. In fact, both TOM and Lynn became good friends. However, for some reason the big bird never returned Lynn’s invitations to be the guest of honor at his home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

    Today TOM spends his days as a member of ANIMAL RENTALS petting zoo and animal displays. Few visitors who see the impressive turkey do not realize they are in the presence of a television star.

    Lynn Holdren continued as Empire Carpets spokesperson until his death in 2011.


    November 16, 2014 by Animal Rentals


    November 15, 2014 by Animal Rentals

    A call to ANIMAL RENTALS for a cute bunny to pose with a little girl for a national catalog was answered in a flash. Handler Barbara soon arrived at the studio with a number of potential “stars” accompanying her.  Each animal was inspected by the producer, director and photographer for temperament, color, size and a face that was “camera friendly”.  Once all were in agreement, the new “animal actor” was cleaned, groomed and “made up”.  She was introduced to her companion for the shoot, a professional child-model.  After a few moments to get acquainted, model and rabbit took their places on the set.  Here is the result.


    January 31, 2014 by Mindy the Monkey

    This year Superbowl Sunday falls on one of our favorite holidays here at Animal Rentals…Groundhog Day.  I’m so excited that we’ll get to find out whether a Seahawk can beat a Bronco on the same day that Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog tells us if Spring is coming soon or if we’ll have more wicked winter weather!

    February 2nd is also a pretty important day for us at Animal Rentals because my dad and his friend Scooter the groundhog starred in the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray. Well, maybe my dad wasn’t the star, but he did get to be in the movie. You can see him holding up Scooter – who played the role of Punxsutawney Phil – to make his prediction in front of a big crowd of people in the town square.

    Groundhog Day is a really funny and very popular movie.  Dad says that most people don’t realize how much work goes into making a movie or a commercial or a television show.  For instance, dad and Scooter had to do their same scene over and over again so that the director could get many different angles and the best take. Dad says that even though it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun.

    I wasn’t in the Groundhog Day movie because it was filmed before I was even born.  And, I guess, because I am a monkey and not a groundhog.  But I am definitely still a star because have been in other commercial and print ads. Lots of my domestic and exotic animal friends are stars too, and dad has tons of experience providing animal actors for movies, television, commercials, print ads…even operas and magic shows and more!  You can see pictures of me and some of my animal actor friends working in the film and advertising business by clicking here.

    As far as the Superbowl…the discussion with all of my exotic animal friends here goes pretty much like this:

    “A Seahawk has a great big beak and sharp strong claws so it can beat a horse, of course!”

    “Yeah, but a Bronco is big and strong with a really powerful kick so it can definitely beat a bird!”

    I guess we will find out who is right this Sunday.  And by the way, did you know that Seahawk is another name for an Osprey and a Bronco is a horse?



    June 12, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    One of the coolest things my dad and I get to do is animal casting – finding just the right animals to appear in movies, television, print advertising and live theater.  Casting the right animal for the right part is a very important job that takes a lot of thought and planning.  Dad has been doing it for over 40 years, so he is really good at it.  I have only been doing it with him for a few years, but I am pretty good at it too!

    When a producer or director or talent agent or advertising agency needs an animal actor for their production, they call dad to talk about what kinds of animals they want and what they want the animals to do.  Sometimes the jobs are very simple and don’t require much acting skill, so dad can book the job right away.  But sometimes the jobs are very complicated and the animal actor has to perform a lot of different tricks, so the production company sends us a script to read.  Once we have read the script, we know exactly what each animal has to do and then we figure out who to cast for each role.

    It is a lot of fun to read a script for a movie or commercial or television show.  It’s not at all like reading a book, because there are all sorts of stage and camera directions mixed in with the dialogue and the story.  But you can definitely tell what the story is, and all the directions help you picture it in your mind really well.

    This week dad and I are reading the script for a new horror movie about evil spirits and bears.  It is really scary!  Sometimes I even have to close my eyes and hide my face when we get to a really terrifying scene.  I try not to let dad see me do that, though, because I want him to think that I am really brave, and not afraid of evil bears that might eat me.  After all, as an animal casting director I need to be brave and strong and smart!

    You can see lots of pictures of me and my animal actor friends working in different commercials, print ads and more by clicking here.

    What are some of your favorite animal actors?

Animal Rentals, Inc., licensed by the USDA, is fully insured and has been in business for over 40 years.