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Tom Holland Wants All the Dogs

Spider-man actor adores his Pitty Tessa and is a huge advocate for animal adoption.

by Karen B. London, PhD
October 3, 2021
Tom Holland holding a puppy.
The Late Show / Youtube

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Every Spider-Man knows that with great power comes great responsibility, so naturally, Tom Holland is a huge Pit Bull breed and adoption advocate. He’s also a huge fan of puppies.

Bring on the Puppies

Holland has appeared in multiple videos playing with puppies while promoting his work. In 2019, Tom Holland helped Stephen Colbert find homes for puppies when he appeared in The Late Show segment “Rescue Dog Rescue.” As you can imagine, mixing superheroes and puppies is a winning combination, and your friendly neighborhood dog adoption promoter did a good job.

Holland partnered with Colbert to find homes for dogs from North Shore Animal League America. All of the puppies featured were up for adoption, and each one was given a marvel-ous name, inspired by Marvel Comics. There was Peter Barker and Spider-Pup, Nicky Furry and Captain Americuddles. Holland was charmingly smitten with the puppies and treated them in the most genuinely loving way.

Tom Holland and Tessa

Holland is quite in love with his dog Tessa, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who he adopted in 2014. For the past eight years, he’s shared adorable pictures of his pup on his Instagram. Tessa joins Holland on set, in interviews, and during premieres. Holland is so in love that when he can’t get back home, he’ll often facetime with Tessa too.

Holland even brought Tessa on set to his latest flick The Current War which he stars in alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. During an interview with The One Show, Holland revealed that Tessa actually interrupted Cumberbatch’s scene with a bout of excessive sneezing.

“Benedict was supposed to be giving this massive speech. Tessa is so well-behaved—I can have her on set—she doesn’t bark, she doesn’t make a noise. But, she must have had some hay intolerance, and she was just sneezing and sneezing.” As you can imagine, eventually, the sneezing distracted Benedict enough that poor Tessa had to be removed from the set (at least temporarily).

He’s a Pit Bull Advocate

This isn’t the first time Holland has spent time hanging out with puppies. In a 2018 interview with Buzzfeed, Holland answered fan questions while playing with adorable Pit Bull puppies.

He shared his frustration with the breed discrimination laws in England, saying, “Do you know what’s crazy? You cannot have Pit Bulls in England. They’re considered ‘dangerous dogs,’ which is just nonsense. Look at this [puppy]—how could you say that this is dangerous?” Much like Patrick Stewart and Justin Theroux, Pit Bulls are a prominent part of Holland’s life, and he’s become a vocal advocate for the breed.

When Tom Holland was asked what he’d do as a career if he hadn’t become an actor, he answered: a puppy wrangler. Who wouldn’t love that job?

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karen london

Karen B. London, PhD

Karen B. London, Ph.D., is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression, and has also trained other animals including cats, birds, snakes, and insects. She writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life.