This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is Porthos from Enterprise.
Porthos is Captain Archer's pet beagle, which he brings aboard Enterprise when he wins the right to command the starship for Earth. Porthos is a loyal companion that comes on many away missions with Archer, and the dog serves a much bigger role than what was attempted with Spot the cat in The Next Generation.
Porthos is one of a litter of four puppies, and the four were named after the Four Musketeers. Porthos was initially a source of irritation for T'Pol, whose Vulcan sense of smell heightened the distaste for having a dog onboard, but she came around more when Doctor Phlox gave her a nasal numbing agent to reduce her sense of smell.
Porthos turns out to be a helpful companion when he detects a camoflauged Borothan hiding unseen by Archer in his room. Porthos also brings some hilarity to the series in certain episodes, such as when two Ferengi try to establish communication with the dog via the universal translator.
Porthos appears at least in small roles in 43 episodes of Enterprise. Porthos is one of only four non-regular characters to be seen on all four seasons of Enterprise. Many times Archer is shown providing food to Porthos, as the dog whimpers and complains a lot if Archer does not bring him food on a regular schedule. Porthos loves cheese, although it often lands him in sickbay with gastrointestinal distress.
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Cold Front:
"(Barking at Silik)."
Actor: Brannon Braga recalls that casting for the role of Porthos was the most
fun he had at the beginning of the series. Three dogs played Porthos, a
male named Prada and later two females named Breezy and Windy.
Prosthetics and props were also used on many episodes because of strict labor laws on animals in television.
Until next time, live long and prosper...