July 9, 2018
It is always tragic when a beloved animal passes away. Recently, the dog who played “Duke” in the BUSH’S® Baked Beans commercials was put down after a difficult battle with cancer. His real name was Sam, and like many animal mascots, he held a special place in many people’s hearts.
Everyone knows the BUSH’S® Beans commercials. They are cheesy but lovable. Like our own pets, the back and forth between Duke and Jay Bush was endearing and relatable. They had some fun dialogue that was silly but stuck with you. The quirkiness of the commercials was lovable in the way that it portrayed Duke and Jay’s friendship. That Duke leveraged the secret to Bush’s beans against Jay was often charming, funny, and relatable.
Duke, the dog, was a character. The dog Sam played Duke for years before his passing and was a trained acting canine. Sam was used in commercials but most known for playing Duke even being called Duke sometimes in public. Sam led a great life in Florida and was cared for by Susan. Her neighbor David Odom broke the news of Sam passing away, and the response has been overwhelming. Even BUSH’S® Beans has released a statement reinforcing the positive relationship between Duke and Jay Bush. It is heartwarming to see such a positive reaction to such a loved animal. It was the kind of send off Sam deserved.
Anyone who has had a pet in hard times knows that they often hold our secrets. While the BUSH’S® commercials played these secrets for laughs, often our animal friends hold secrets that are hard to share. They are our ears when we are lonely and need someone to talk to. They cuddle us when we are sad. They are there for us, always. The BUSH’S® commercials hint at this relationship. The family recipe is one of the most important things to the Bush’s, and Duke shows he is more than willing to work that angle. The loving back and forth dialogue that takes place between Jay and Duke is the kind of relationships many develop with their pets and close friends. We don’t use words like Duke, but with many animal friends, we don’t have to.
Sam was a great dog and touched the hearts of millions. Not everyone loved the commercials, and they won’t win any awards; but, they will be remembered. I’ll remember those goofy baked bean commercials for the rest of my life and Sam will always be there, keeping his secrets.