Paul Walker Took The Time Getting To Know All The Dogs Of Eight Below

In the history of Good Pups, there are many. Balto famously led a sled dog team across Alaska in order to help deliver life-saving medicine to the city of Nome during a deadly diphtheria outbreak. Hachikō, an akita who belonged to a scientist in Japan, dutifully waited every day at a train station for his owner, who unexpectedly died while away at work one day, to return for almost a decade until his own death. And then there's the team of sled dogs who were left behind at a Japanese Antarctic base in 1958 after a severe storm forced the base's scientists to temporarily abandon them. However, when the researchers eventually returned to the base nearly a year later, some of the dogs were still alive. This impressive story went on to become the basis for the Japanese movie, "Antarctica," but American audiences might remember the tale best from the 2006 Disney remake, "Eight Below."

The film stars the late Paul Walker as Jerry Shepard, an Antarctica research base guide who has an unbelievable bond with his team of sled dogs that he relies on to help him navigate the continent's icy terrain. When Jerry is forced to leave the dogs behind due to an impending storm, he is wracked with guilt, vowing to return for them as soon as he can. The film delivers everything from heartwarming dog love to high-stakes adventure out on The Ice — and while it definitely lacks both Vin Diesel and badass street racing, the movie is, without a doubt, a Paul Walker favorite. Remarkably, Walker's performance in the film as a canine-loving dog whisperer was not just for show, though. It turns out Walker had a real-life bond with the pooches of the film both on and off the set.

Getting to know man's best friend

The charm of "Eight Below" no doubt comes from Paul Walker's on-screen enthusiasm for his eight winter-loving dogs. He endearingly includes them in poker games and introduces them to people as if they are his best friends from his college days. It's clear from the very start of the film that Walker's character Jerry is a capital D Dog Person, but so was Walker himself. In a 2006 interview with The Morning Call, Walker talked about his time filming "Eight Below," getting into the details of his relationships with the dogs used in the film. He told the paper, "I actually relate to and understand animals better than I do people."

His love for animals ended up being incredibly useful since the movie employed a whopping 64 dogs during filming. "I was dealing with 64 dogs because each dog had eight doubles," Walker explained, going on to describe just how close he got to his canine co-stars. "I knew them all by name. I knew each and every one of their personalities." Walker's dedication to getting to know and understand the many puppers that helped make the film possible is an extremely enchanting detail about the film that definitely translated to the on-screen rapport his character has with his sled dog team. But that still didn't mean Walker was without a favorite pooch. "I wanted to go home with Jasper," he mused. "He was solid white and had beautiful blue, squinty eyes. He was the worst dog to work with — he never hit his mark — but the sweetest guy."