Kuma, a dog who played “Stan” on early episodes of Disney Channel’s Dog With A Blog, and later appeared in Nick Jr.’s Mutt & Stuff, has died. He was 16 years old (just shy of 17) and suffered from complications from a recent stroke.
The original star of Dog With A Blog, Kuma was chosen out of thousands of furry Hollywood hopefuls to play the starring role of Stan, a dog who talked (via the voice of Stephen Full) and maintained a blog that covered the antics of his human family.
Set in Pasadena, the 2012-2015 run of the show centered around the children trying to keep Stan’s secret from their parents, fearing he would be taken away if discovered. However, on-set conflicts between Kuma’s owner, Sarah Clifford, and another animal trainer caused her to pull him from the show. A look-alike was subbed in for Kuma by the show’s producers to complete the show’s run.
Kuma went on to work in 74 episodes of Nick Jr’s show Mutt & Stuff, playing the role of “Grandma.” The Sid and Marty Krofft show, starring Calvin Millan and his father, Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, was set in a school for dogs and focused on their training lessons. It ran from 2015 to 2017.
Clifford said Kuma has received fan mail on the performances, and spent his non-showbiz time as a shelter dog ambassador, charity event guest, and frequent traveler. He knew 75 trained behaviors.
Born on December 15, 2001 in Los Angeles as Kuma Von Clifford, Kuma was rescued from a shelter in South Los Angeles by Clifford. His show business career started in 2005 with the TV movie McBride: The Chameleon Murder, and he went on to do eight more appearances in the series, all uncredited. But he also appeared in several shorts and the feature-length films An American Crime (2007) and Wrong (2012). He also did a flea and tick commercial.
“I was both Kuma’s trainer and his owner,” said Clifford in an email. “Losing Kuma is the hardest thing I have ever gone through. He was my best friend and the smartest dog I have ever known in my 40 years of life. When the time came to say my final goodbye, I fed him his favorite foods, chicken and watermelon, which he ate with vigor until the very end.”
Clifford is asking fans who wish to memorialize Kuma to donate to their favorite animal rescue shelter in his name.