You may not know it, but you already love the host of “It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer,” the new series debuting this Friday, May 15, on Disney+.
That’s because the host, BILL FARMER, is — and has been for 30-some years — the voice of one of Disney’s most beloved characters, Mickey Mouse’s pal Goofy.
Now the congenial Farmer, who was named a Disney Legend in 2009, is stepping out from behind the microphone to take viewers all around the country to meet exceptional canines earning the title of “Man’s Best Friend” in some rather unusual ways.
The idea was born, Farmer says, a few years ago when he was working on a local news piece on an equestrian center with friend Steve Duval, a veteran cameraman on the show, The Amazing Race.
“They had about 30 walker hounds,” Farmer says, explaining that the center hosted an event similar to old English fox hunts (without the foxes). “And the footage we shot of me hosting just kind of jumped out at us, and we said, ‘Maybe we ought to do a show about dogs.’ ”
After developing the idea along with his wife, Jennifer, and Duval, Farmer took the idea to Disney, and got the go-ahead to produce 10 episodes of the show.
Not just entertaining, but informative as well, “It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer” showcases the talents of dogs like Eva, who we meet in the first episode. Eva is a mixed breed rescue dog in California who has been trained to sniff out whale poop to help marine biologists.
“An interesting thing is that almost all the dogs that were working dogs were rescue dogs,” Farmer, a longtime dog-owner himself, notes. “I was surprised to find that out.”
In future episodes, viewers will learn about dogs that serve as companion animals, help to train cheetahs, and so much more.
“We did 11 states in about four months of traveling, 20 stories on different dogs” Farmer says. “All of them are different. They all have personalities, just like people… they’re just like little people in fur, and it was a delightful thing to get to meet and know a lot of them.”
The show does more than just highlight “professional” or working dogs — each show has a segment dedicated to real-life canine companions called “Goofy’s Hometown Heroes.” In these featurettes, viewers meet special pets, like the dog that works as a sort of emotional support animal in her owner’s dental practice, helping to calm fearful patients.
Each episode also features “Pluto’s Pointers,” a spot that shares tips and tricks, such as the best ways to meet and greet dogs you may encounter on a casual walk.
“I wanted this to be, not an educational show, but a fun show that incorporates learning for both adults and kids, and I asked the questions that I wanted to know,” Farmer notes. “That kept it more real, I thought.”
“There are a lot of stories out there, and a lot of interesting dogs,” Farmer concludes. “And, hey, if it entertains and enlightens a little bit, then it makes me happy guy.”
Whether you’re a longtime dog-lover, someone who loves to learn about animals, or maybe just a Bill Farmer fan, “It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer,” will definitely entertain AND enlighten with new episodes weekly, starting Friday, May 15, on Disney+.
Take a look at this exclusive clip of the new show below:
WATCH PARTY ALERT! Bill and Jenn Farmer (and their dogs!) will join D23 on Friday, May 15 at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET to celebrate the premiere of “It’s A Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer.” Along with Yvette Nicole Brown and Bret Iwan (voice of Mickey Mouse), they will discuss their favorite Disney dogs, share insights on the new show and test their knowledge in some “paw-some” trivia! After joining the virtual watch party, catch “It’s A Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer” streaming on Disney+. You can tune into the watch party online at any of the following; D23.com/ItsADogsLife / Facebook.com/DisneyD23 / YouTube.com/DisneyD23.