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When the film opens, a St. Bernard puppy and a large group of other puppies are stolen from a pet store by two thieves. After meeting a Jack Russell Terrier during his escape from the thieves, the St. Bernard sneaks into the home of the Newton family. The father, George Newton, doesn't want the responsibility of owning a dog, but his wife, Alice, and their children convince him otherwise. While trying to name their new-found dog, the youngest daughter, Emily, plays a portion of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the puppy barks along; the family thus names him "Beethoven".

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