A Long Island dog, his 3-year-old human "sister" and their family's recovered street piano are set to appear Friday night at 8 on CBS' viewer-video series "The Greatest #AtHome Videos."
Lake Ronkonkoma internet sensation Buddy Mercury — a beagle/basset mix named after the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury — has mastered the trick of standing in front of a piano a la Jerry Lee Lewis and "singing" a la the chorus of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London": "Aaoooooo!"
"It does sound pretty much the same if you just listen casually," concedes Glen Wolfe, who along with wife Laurie Lanteri-Wolfe, both 39, fostered and then adopted Buddy from Smithtown nonprofit Happy Tails Dog Rescue in 2016. "But if you listen really closely" to the myriad Instagram, YouTube and TikTok videos that have collected millions of views, "you can actually hear intricacies. Like, sometimes he hits ... [the keyboard] twice with one paw and once with the other paw. Sometimes he plays with one paw only. I can't figure out what causes him to play it slightly differently each time. Why is he doing that? He's making choices."
The roughly 5-year-old Buddy — previously seen on ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos," the Disney Plus streaming series "It's a Dog's Life with Bill Farmer" and on local news — first tried his singing on the Wolfes one day when "we were sitting in our backyard with some friends and fire sirens went off and he started howling along," recalls Lanteri-Wolfe, a Holbrook native. "My husband and I looked at each other and our jaws dropped and we were like, 'Oh, my goodness.' "
The piano — itself a street rescue — came into the act even before Buddy. After the couple adopted the dog, Longwood High School graduate Wolfe, who was raised in East Yaphank, taught Buddy several tricks. "So I'm looking at the piano and I'm, like, ‘Wouldn't it be funny if he could play that?' So I get him up there and get him to hit a couple of keys and then gave him some treats. So one day I'm in the other room watching TV, I'm alone in the house, and I hear the piano start playing. And he's singing along and playing and I could not believe it."
Buddy kept at it, even after the Wolfes' daughter, Eve, came along. A February 2017 YouTube video of him had racked up more than 1.5 million views when the couple's visiting teenage niece, Hannah Wolfe, shot Buddy for a TikTok video that got 1.6 million likes and more than 15,000 comments.
That original YouTube video on Buddy's channel, which has over 89,000 subscribers, currently has more than 2 million views. New videos sometimes include Eve. "They have that typical brother-sister rivalry, I think, some days," says Lanteri-Wolfe, a wellness program manager with direct health care firm Premise Health. "But they really play off each other musically."
Buddy has a merchandise page with coffee mugs, calendars, T-shirts and the like. The dog as well has an album on iTunes and other music sites, made with the help of drummer and audio engineer Wolfe, owner of Platinum Wolfe Studios. A percentage of all sales goes to support animal shelters here and around the country.