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“Oh, I love her. What a perfectly beautiful little Lady.”
One evening in 1937, storyman Joe Grant invited Walt Disney over to his house for dinner and while they ate, he showed him a drawing he'd made of his pet Springer Spaniel, who was also named Lady. Walt loved the drawing and suggested that Joe make a storyboard out of it. So he put together a pitch for a new animated film, simply titled "Lady".
This film was about a dog whose perfect life became threatened when her owners' aunt and her two cats came to stay at her house, due to the fact that the cats constantly let her take the blame for mischief that they caused. Things got further complicated for Lady after she saved her owners' baby from a rat because they thought she had been trying to attack him and kicked her out of the house. However, after they discovered the rat's body, Lady's owners quickly brought her back home and all ended well. However, upon seeing the pitch for "Lady" in 1943, Walt, ultimately disliked the story, because he thought it was too simplistic.
Lady is rather timid and naive but makes a good friend to those who know her and is very faithful to her family. She is not completely helpless; it is shown that she can be brave and protective. She was not afraid of the rat and would chase it away from her home, and she took on the responsibility to protect Jim Jr. By the sequel, she has become less naive and more motherly and responsible due to being a mother. In the 2019 remake, Lady is a bit more cocky in attitude and tends to bear her teeth a bit more as well as has somewhat of a prejudice towards street dogs. However, she maintains her kind and curious attitude.
Lady is an American Cocker Spaniel with dark brown colored ears and brown eyes (which she passes down to her puppies). Most of her body is beige, with a tan muzzle and belly. Her tail is docked, as it is unnaturally short for her breed. As an adult, she wears a light blue collar with a diamond-shaped license.
Lady, as a young puppy, was given to Darling as a Christmas present from Jim Dear. She is named Lady due to her good manners and ladylike personality. When she is six months old, she is given a light blue collar and diamond-shaped license. She has a family and is friends with two neighboring dogs, Jock and Trusty.
One day, Lady is saddened because Jim Dear and Darling have been treating her coldly. After talking with Jock and Trusty, she learns that they're going to have a baby. Tramp, a stray dog, overhears the conversation and gives her his own opinion, but is ordered out of the yard by Jock and Trusty.
Later, Jim Dear and Darling introduce Lady to the new baby, Jim Jr., and then leave to go on a trip. While they're gone, Lady and Jim Jr. are looked after by Aunt Sarah, who takes an immediate dislike to Lady. After a run-in with her cats, Si and Am, she takes Lady to be muzzled. A terrified Lady escapes but soon runs into some stray dogs. Thankfully, she is rescued by Tramp, who not only assists in getting the muzzle off but also takes her out on the town to show her how he lives. After an Italian dinner at Tony's Restaurant and a romantic night together, they fall in love. The next morning, he accompanies her home, but when they come across some chickens, he encourages her to chase them with him, causing her to be picked up by a dogcatcher and taken to the pound. Due to her license, she is picked up by Aunt Sarah, but while at the pound, she learns of Tramp's many prior girlfriends.
At home, Lady is chained to her doghouse as a punishment for running away, when Tramp comes to apologize. She refuses at first, citing his many girlfriends from the past. She calls him back, though, when she spots a rat going into Jim Jr.'s room. Tramp goes to stop it, and Lady is able to follow him after breaking free of the chain. Aunt Sarah comes and thinks they tried to attack Jim Jr.. Tramp is taken off to the pound, while Lady is locked in the cellar.
Jim Dear and Darling return as the dogcatcher leaves, and they release Lady, who shows everyone the dead rat, revealing Tramp actually saved Jim Jr.. She then leaves with Jim Dear, as they rush to rescue Tramp. The dogcatcher is stopped thanks to the combined efforts of Jock and Trusty, though the latter is injured when the wagon falls on his leg.
At Christmas, it is revealed that Tramp has been made a member of the family and that he and Lady have become mates and are the proud parents of a litter of four puppies.
Lady returns in the sequel, but to a smaller role compared to the original.
Lady and Tramp are portrayed as loving parents, caring for their puppies, notably more developed since the Christmas spent together at the end of the first film. Their daughters, Annette, Collette, and Danielle, are quite spoiled and snooty, while their son, Scamp, is portrayed as somewhat of a rebel and troublemaker, wanting to live a life similar to that of Tramp's past. His behavior causes tension for both Lady and Tramp, and the growing disconnect between him and his parents prompts him to run away and live amongst the Junkyard Dogs. A search party ensues involving Lady, but after a while, he returns with a change of heart, and a new member of the family, Angel. She is warmly welcomed by Lady, who celebrates the reformation of her family.
Lady, portrayed by Catherine Bogdanova, makes a cameo in human form, in the Season 4 episode "The Apprentice" as a customer of the Italian restaurant where Emma Swan and Captain Hook share a romantic dinner. She shares the famous spaghetti kiss with Tramp, who's in human form too. Knowing that other animals like Jiminy Cricket and Gus are transformed into humans by the Evil Queen's curse, it was plausibly effective also for her.
Lady is introduced where Jim Dear gives her to Darling for Christmas in order to keep his family company. The next day, she grows up into an adult where she explores the world around her and makes friends with her owners' neighbor's dogs, Trusty and Jacqueline. One day during Darling's birthday party, she receives a large pottery jar from Aunt Sarah. She jumps on Aunt Sarah and Darling's laps, infuriating Darling as she yells at her thinking she almost caused the jar to shatter. Afterward, she felt upset about herself as Aunt Sarah suggested Darling to have cats as a better pet instead of a dog. Upset about herself, Lady unintentionally talks to Tramp about her feeling unhappy of what Darling did to her. While discussing with him, the dogcatcher overhears her arguing with him for being unwelcome to her owners' property just as Jim Dear and the dogcatcher, Elliott, have a conversation about finding Tramp. Continuing their conversation, he explains that Jim Dear and Darling are about to have a baby, thinking it will replace her just as Trusty and Jacqueline arrive to keep her safe. Upon calling Tramp a street dog, he feels offended as he walks away, warning Lady that she would be replaced when Darling has the baby.
Some time later, Darling gave birth to a daughter named Lulu as Lady feels amused about her until she feels distracted upon seeing a rat. Trying to warn Jim Dear about it, he tells her to stay quiet to mean that she might wake Lulu, much to her unhappiness. The next day, she was unaware that Aunt Sarah brought in two cats to keep the family company by noticing the basket in their home. Upon encountering the cats, Devon and Rex, they perform the song "What a Shame" to put her in trouble by causing a big mess around the house, even destroying the pottery jar. As a result, Aunt Sarah decides to give Lady a muzzle to keep herself from biting by going to the pet store. Upon arriving there, the owner gives her one but she suddenly escapes and stumbles across a street dog named Isaac preparing to fend her off with Tramp trying to defend her from him. Pretending she is infected with rabies, he immediately retreats just as Tramp remembers her calling him a street dog. However, during the conversation, she suggests him to remove the muzzle from her mouth so she can feel comfortable. They go the zoo to help her do so by using a beaver statue to pull it off. This wasn't in the original animated version, since in it, Tramp distracted a police officer and a professor to cause them to argue that Tramp is the professor's dog in order for him and Lady to get into the zoo just as he finds several animals, including a beaver named "Mr. Busy", who attempts to get the muzzle off her mouth.
Having pulled the muzzle off her mouth, Lady decides to go home, to which she has trouble finding her way where Tramp warns her that the city is a very busy and dangerous place because of vehicles that can accidentally harm dogs along the way. Thinking about Jim Dear and Darling missing them, they plan to escape from Elliott. They use a steamboat to do so (this wasn't in the original animated version, as no scene featuring the aforementioned one in the remake appeared in the original animated version).
Having escaped from Elliott, Lady and Tramp explore a park at night where they initially discover an Italian restaurant called "Tony's" where they share a spaghetti dinner served by Tony and Joe. After the romantic dinner, they walk around the park in a quiet night and fall in love with each other over a hill to see the world around them. He also tells her about his tragic flashback before he met her to which if he wasn't separated from his owner, he would have never done so. However, their romantic moment is disrupted when Elliott arrives preparing to capture him as they arrive at the same train yard he was at to which upon escaping, Lady is taken to the dog pound as punishment for her involvement with him. There, Lady introduces herself to the pound dogs, including Peg, to which the street dog that was almost captured is known as Tramp where she performs the song "He's a Tramp" in front of the pound dogs, including Lady. Elliott releases Lady from her cell and takes her back to Jim Dear and Darling. With them happy to have her back, Jim Dear introduces her to Lulu.
Talking with Trusty and Jacqueline, Lady talks about how her life changed with Lulu in her owners' family. After talking, she feels that she wishes to see Tramp again. Sometime later, he arrives and apologizes to her for abandoning her as she is happy to have him reunited with her. Telling her to go on new adventures, she explains that she is part of Jim Dear's family and that they are more important than him. However, one night, she discovers the rat preparing to tumble down Lulu's crib just as she warns Tramp to help stop it from waking her up; he chases it but ultimately kills it to save Lulu, unintentionally causing a mess around her room. However, as Elliott takes him to the dog pound, Lady, Trusty, and Jacqueline arrive to stop him from doing so, to which, during the chase, Lady causes the horses to panic and the wagon to topple (also injuring Tramp in progress). Talking to him to wake up, it is also known that he received injuries during his fight against the rat. He and Lady are finally reunited once again. By next Christmas, he is finally accepted into Jim Dear's family as he and Lady spend their holidays with their new perfect family.
Like Duchess in The Aristocats, Lady marries a street smart individual at the end of her story. The contrast is all of the puppies were born to both her and Tramp while Thomas O'Malley became a stepfather to the three kittens at the end of his story.
Jock calls Lady "Lassie", which is a common Scottish term for a young girl. This also is a reference to the age difference between them.
It could also possibly reference Lassie, a female Rough Collie.
Coincidentally, the Rough Collie originated in Scotland.
After breaking free from her doghouse, Lady remains silent for the remainder of the film.
Her name means to address a woman in a polite or old-fashioned manner and that of a superior social position, especially one of noble birth.
This would also fit with Lady's personality and lifestyle at the era in which she lives.
When introduced, Lady is given to Darling as a Christmas present in a hatbox. This is based on a real-life incident. Walt had completely forgotten a date with his wife, Lillian. To make up for it, for Christmas, he gave her a hatbox. But when she opened the hatbox, a little chow puppy popped out.