Rita is a proud Saluki and the only female member of Fagin's dog gang. Sometimes she acts like a mother figure to Oliver since she is seen, most of the time, taking care of him, teaching him while singing "Streets of Gold" as a way of educating him about the rough and tough streets of New York and about "how the best survive by keeping their dreams alive," protecting him from danger, the only one convinced that he's happy in his new home after being adopted by a little girl named Jenny Foxworth, and happily saying good-bye to him in the end. She is kind, funny, tough, proud, beautiful, compassionate, and protective.
Rita is first seen napping on Fagin's houseboat. After Tito is insulted by Francis and starts scolding him, Rita wakes up and tells them to "cut it out", which only ends once Tito hears her bark to silence him. Rita checks out the "loot" she and her friends brought for their owner, Fagin, saying he's not gonna be too happy about it. She then asks Francis if he got the food today, but as it turns out, he forgot. Rita and the rest of the dog gang are upset by the fact that he forgot to get the food today since it was his turn, causing Tito to groan that they'll have to eat newspaper burritos again as compensation.
Luckily, when Dodger enters the houseboat, he introduces Rita and his friends to their dinner: hot dogs. When Dodger is asked by his pals about how he got those sausages, mainly by Rita, he tells them every event that occurred to him today (albeit in an overly-dramatic way). As soon as Dodger mentions his "monster" (Oliver) in the story, Rita becomes a bit scared and even more spooked like the gang when the "monster" falls in. Rita is later seen running and hiding in fear in a corner. She asks Francis what is it but he doesn't know either. Tito thinks it's an "alien" when a mysterious paw, coming out of the cloth, grabs and scratches him on the nose, but then, the result is out, and it turns out to be Oliver, referred as a cat by Rita after seeing him and telling everyone to calm down and what it is. The gang (except Dodger) surround Oliver and ask him questions about how and why he came to their place, with mostly Rita doing the questioning as she snarls at him, "Now how'd you find this place, cat?!". When Oliver says he followed Dodger, Tito thinks he's lying while repeating "He's lying" countless times in annoyance and is kicked hard by Rita to shut him up before Francis asks, "Now why would a cat follow a dog?" to which Einstein replies, "Yeah?" Then, Oliver reveals to them the truth about his involvement in Dodger's scheme about hot dogs theft. Dodger admits to his friends that Oliver is telling the truth and the gang, along with Dodger, begins to develop respect for him, with Rita telling Oliver to relax now that they knew the truth and Dodger vouched for him, giving him a reassuring wink as the other dogs start laughing uproariously. The gang (except Rita) start to mock Dodger's story, though Rita admits she liked the part regarding Oliver's "burning eyes", fluttering her own eyes to confirm this, to which Dodger replies with "Keep it down, guys. The game's on.", later resulting in him starting a "fight" with Tito, then Francis, to which Einstein joins in enthusiastically, and then Rita who, at first, was reluctant to join saying they were a "bunch of overgrown...". Unfortunately, she was interrupted after Tito accidentally hit her face, thus making her want to join in as well.
When Fagin, the dogs' owner, enters and tells them to stop the "fight" he is noticing, the dogs notice the dog biscuits Fagin bought them and they run and jump on him to give him a warm welcome home, only to be interrupted when they hear a car horn outside on the pier.
When two evil Dobermans, Roscoe and DeSoto enter their home after hearing the car horn, Fagin goes up to have a meeting with their master and his evil boss, Sykes, whom he owes money to. DeSoto sniffs around the place while Roscoe begins to flirt with a disgruntled Rita, but Francis insults him and Tito high-fives him to congratulate and encourage him but finds himself confronted by the angry Doberman. Tito gets angry and tries to fight Roscoe, not before being held back by Einstein. Then, Einstein insults Roscoe until he is confronted by the angry Doberman. As Dodger tries to calm Roscoe down and tells him he's lost his sense of humor, Roscoe says he hasn't lost his sense of humor and smashes the television to prove it, laughing in a sinister way as a reply. When Oliver is discovered by DeSoto, in return for trying to eat Oliver, only to have has his nose scratched by Oliver, Roscoe and DeSoto attempt to attack Oliver, before Dodger jumps into the scene and protects him. Then the rest of the gang join in to protect their new cat friend from the two evil dogs. Rita gets the final taunt in when Sykes honks his horn to summon his Dobermans back to the car with telling them "Run along, Roscoe. Your master's calling." with a sly, malicious smirk.
When Fagin enters home after the Dobermans leave while swearing revenge on them, mostly Roscoe, starting with Oliver, he's all wet after falling off a pier and full of sadness since he's been given three days to pay Mr. Sykes back or else there's no telling what will happen to him, his house, and his dogs. The dogs do everything they can to cheer him up. Fagin is grateful and thanks to them. When it's time for bed, Einstein insists Fagin reads them a bedtime story. At first, Fagin is reluctant because he's too tired, but when he hears and sees Einstein whining sadly, Fagin accepts, "but just one chapter". Rita is later seen sleeping in her bed, but then awakened when she hears and sees Oliver rushing to Dodger to sleep with him. At first, Dodger can't understand, but after watching Rita, who is half asleep and who witnessed Oliver rushing over to him, and Oliver smiles, he quickly understands that the kitten loves him then falls asleep. Rita soon follows as well, and everyone is soon fast asleep.
The next day, the gang is riding in Fagin's scooter, but then they're told to get out on the street to search for food while Fagin searches for a way to earn or even steal money to pay off Sykes, reminding them that "dead men do not buy dog food". Dodger intends to help Fagin with his financial problems and the gang agrees to help too. Rita sings "Streets of Gold" while educating Oliver about the rough, tough streets of New York and about "how the best survive by keeping their dreams alive." During the song, a vicious alley dog begins to chase Oliver, before Dodger, Rita, and the rest of the gang growl at the alley dog and shoo him away. Oliver even tries to "bark" like a dog to shoo the alley dog away too and the gang finds it amusing a bit. When Dodger notices a limousine, he comes up with a plan on how to steal its radio and give it to Fagin to exchange it for some money as partial payment to his debt with his evil boss. Later on, after Einstein stops the limousine with Jenny Foxworth in it by running into the front fender of it head-first as part of Dodger's plan, Francis plays the part of the dog hit as a way of distracting Winston, the driver, and the Foxworth family's butler, while Oliver and Tito mostly handle the theft. When the plan backfires due to Oliver slipping on the keys and starting the engine, Tito is seen "flying" out of the car after being electrocuted. Rita and the gang get back to Fagin while Dodger and Tito follow the car to where Oliver was being taken by Jenny and Winston.
Some time later, Dodger and Tito return to Fagin and the gang to inform them about everything, thinking their friend Oliver is in "danger" and that he's being "tortured." The gang decides to "rescue" Oliver, but Einstein asks: "But what about Fagin?" When they are stuck between the decision of whether to help Fagin or Oliver, it results in Francis speaking Old English, which Tito finds annoying, resulting in Francis losing his temper while repeating his real name three times after having been insulted and called "Frankie" again, before Dodger intervenes and breaks up their argument. Dodger then discusses the "rescue mission" with the gang.
Dodger leads the "rescue" mission to recover Oliver the next day while Jenny's at school. The gang notice Winston banging on something with a rolling pin, thinking he's "torturing" Oliver. After Francis distracts Winston, they enter the house, where Tito, along with Rita, points out that the place doesn't look too bad, and Francis, who is admiring Chagall and Matisse's masterpieces (dog paintings), thus, admiring the place more than focusing on their friend. Luckily, Dodger helps them snap out of it right away.
After checking out the house, Dodger enters Georgette's (the Foxworth family's spoiled pedigree poodle dog show queen) room. Georgette panics and calls for Winston countless times, thinking that he's after her. When Dodger assures her that he isn't, Georgette feels insulted, thus, giving him an uninteresting education about herself. Then, the rest of the gang enters her room. Rita notices a picture of a handsome Doberman ex-boyfriend of Georgette named Rex and asks Georgette who he is and she replies: "None of your business!" while the rest of the gang are causing a mess in her room, with Francis lying on her bed and eating her chocolates and mostly Einstein when he sniffs her powder and sneezes, thus causing her to call Winston again, but when Dodger mentions that they'll leave as soon as they get their cat back, she's cooperative. Before cooperating with the "rescue," Winston manages to get back inside and checks to see if Georgette is alright. Einstein, along with Francis, is seen hiding under Georgette's bed cover with half of Georgette's body sticking out, Dodger and Rita posing as dog statue replicas, and Tito hanging on a coat hanger of the door. Winston finds it a bit weird, nevertheless, he leaves. When Georgette takes the gang to Jenny's room, they notice Oliver sleeping happily and calmly on his pillow. Rita's the first one convinced he's okay and proposes they "forget the whole thing", but Georgette, eager to get rid of him, convinces them that "he's so traumatized", and when Winston's voice is heard again, she hands him to them in a pillow sack held by Einstein and Francis and allows them to escape through the fire escape.
After Oliver's "rescue," and it turns out that he wanted to stay with Jenny, Rita realizes she was right about not taking him away from his new home in the first place, telling Dodger somberly, "We never should've taken him, Dodge". After talking with Dodger, Rita and the rest of the gang are sad to see their friend go, and Oliver leaves but is also sad about leaving the gang behind to return home to Jenny. Then, Fagin comes in and takes Oliver back in. When Fagin notices Oliver's new golden collar tag, he has an idea for ransoming him.
After Fagin, Oliver, and Dodger's rendezvous with Sykes and his Dobermans, Rita and the dogs are seen waiting with Fagin and Oliver, in his pocket, for their rendezvous with Oliver's unknown wealthy cat owner (Jenny), while Rita's worried about Dodger due to the injuries he sustained fighting Roscoe and DeSoto to protect Fagin, but he assures her that "they never laid a paw on me." After Fagin and Jenny have a small conversation with Sykes and his dogs unnoticeably watching them in his car, Jenny turns out to be Oliver's owner with only a piggy bank as payment to get Oliver back and starts crying. Fagin, at first, has a hard decision about whether to follow his good heart or not, then he gives up and pretends to find Oliver in a box and hands him to Jenny. Unfortunately, Sykes bursts into the scene, kidnaps Jenny, throws Oliver out of the window, and tells Fagin to keep his mouth shut and consider their account closed, intending to ransom Jenny to get the money Fagin owes him so that Fagin's debt will be paid in full through that.
Then, Dodger and the gang come to Oliver's aid. Dodger assures and promises Oliver that they'll "absitively" get Jenny back from Sykes and his Dobermans. The dogs run to Sykes' warehouse without riding in Fagin's scooter this time. After an inspection of the warehouse has been made by Francis and Tito, it turns out everything is locked up, so now Dodger comes up with a plan on how to get inside. As the plan is set with Francis as the first "cannonball," Oliver as the second "cannonball," and Tito as the "maestro," Rita and the gang called for Francis to see if he's ready and he is, thus jumping on the seesaw and launching Oliver up and through a window and inside. After Oliver opens a hatch from the inside, everyone enters in as well. The gang does everything they can to avoid their enemies (Roscoe and DeSoto, who were alerted by the noise Oliver made when entering and later, by Georgette's scream because of a broken nail when she entered the place) and security cameras (taken care of by Tito).
From the top of Sykes' office, Oliver and the dogs observe Sykes talking on the phone to Winston for the ransom from Jenny's parents, and Jenny okay, but tied up. Dodger comes up with a plan on how to distract Sykes and help Jenny. The Dobermans are later alerted by their enemies' smell. While Tito, Francis, and Einstein distract Sykes by posing as a pizza delivery guy and luring him away, Oliver and the rest of the dogs enter and try to rescue Jenny. Oliver and Jenny are happily reunited. The rest of the gang shows up after having distracted their enemies.
Chewing the ropes off, Jenny fails, and their enemies return before Dodger has another idea to get them out of here with a crane and Tito, who was first reluctant, then cooperative with Georgette's persuasion, as the mechanic. They escape with Jenny before Sykes and his dogs break down the door, which the gang locked up earlier. Things go well until Sykes cuts off the crane's controls with a fire ax, causing Oliver and the rest to fall and land on a long slide. They slide until they reach the end, where, unfortunately, their enemies have them cornered.
When all seems lost, and before Sykes can snap his fingers to order his dogs to attack, they hear a honking noise and breaking in through the window, it turns out to be Fagin with his scooter. Oliver and everyone else jumps in and drive away as fast as they can. They seem to be able to outrun the two evil dogs, but not before Sykes manages to catch up with them in his Cadillac. Fagin, having no choice, drives his friends into a subway station, but Sykes, driving like a madman, is able to drive in as well. Fagin then drives them through a tunnel with Sykes still in pursuit. When Sykes' car collides with Fagin's scooter, Jenny falls and ends up on Sykes' hood. Rita and the rest of the dogs are seen barking and growling at their enemies, while Oliver helps Jenny, and later Dodger, and Dodger helps Oliver, killing Roscoe and DeSoto. On the Brooklyn Bridge, when Jenny is calling for Fagin's help, Fagin comes to help her while Tito takes command of his scooter. Sykes manages to grab Jenny's leg and pull her back in, not before Oliver and Dodger jump on him and fight him off, allowing Jenny to jump to Fagin on his scooter.
In front of them, a train is coming their way. Rita and the others brace themselves for impact, but Tito can save everyone by jumping on one of the cables of the bridge and driving them to the top. However, Oliver and Dodger are still in the car, fighting Sykes. Sykes throws Oliver and Dodger out of his car, then he notices the train heading his way, and the train kills him, thus sending him and his car into the East River. When the rest of the company drives back down, Jenny runs to search for Oliver, only to find a sad Dodger approaching, holding a "thought to be dead" Oliver. At first, everyone thinks he's dead but, when Jenny hears a soft meow from him, she quickly realizes that he is alive, and everyone is rejoiced, except Georgette, who is still in great shock from the chase. Then, Dodger and the rest of the gang are accepted as Jenny's new best friends.
The next day, at Jenny's home, Oliver and his friends celebrate Jenny's eighth birthday and give her birthday gifts. When it's time to go, the gang (except Tito) say their goodbyes to Oliver and vice versa before chasing after Fagin as he leaves on his scooter without them.
Rita is finally seen joining in with her friends at the end of the reprise of "Why Should I Worry" and driving in Fagin's scooter back home through the gridlocked Manhattan traffic. She even snatches on Dodger's collar while he and Tito were gawking at female dogs.
Rita can be briefly seen along with some of the dog-gang members in the opening theme.
- Some people think she's an Afghan Hound, but she's a Saluki.
- Although she has no apparent attraction to Sykes, Rita is perhaps the closest counterpart to Nancy, the prostitute who befriends the titular hero in Oliver Twist, the Dickens novel that inspired the animated film. Unlike Nancy, however, Rita survives.
- Although Ruth Pointer provided her singing voice in "Streets of Gold," she didn't reprise the role during the "Why Should I Worry" reprise at the end of the movie and is instead performed by Sheryl Lee Ralph.
- Despite Tito being the only dog to continuously call Francis; "Frank" or "Frankie," Rita and Einstein were first heard calling him Frankie once when they were disappointed to find out that he forgot it was his turn to get the food for them the day Dodger met Oliver.
- Whitney Houston was considered for the role.
- She briefly appeared in the opening theme of House of Mouse but was never seen in the episodes.