William Wegman's dogs -- The photographer's famous weimaraners pop up on ''Sesame Street''

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated February 23, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

When next you get to Sesame Street, don’t be surprised if in the crowd with Grover, Oscar, and the Cookie Monster you find four wily weimaraners. William Wegman, 53, the photographer famous for his portraits of anthropomorphized dogs (the pooches are posed and dressed as humans), has been contributing short educational films to the children’s program since 1989. The first canine to hit the Street, Fay Ray, starred in such clips as ”Old McFay Counts to 40.” This month, the late Fay’s descendants — daughters Battina and Crooky, son Chundo, all 6 years old, and grandson Chip, 9 months — star in a new batch of shorts based on popular nursery rhymes.

Wegman says that while he and his staff worked like dogs to create the spots, the weimaraners had it pretty easy. ”They are only [being shot] maybe 30 seconds at a time,” he says. ”The rest of the time they’re sitting around, rather blasé about life.” Wegman has no plans for collaborations with other Sesame Street regulars. ”The dogs haven’t met [the Muppets] yet — that might be the one thing that really frightens them,” says Wegman.