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Zac Efron and Darin Olien Showed Every ’Down to Earth: Down Under’ Dog Love

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Down to Earth with Zac Efron is back for Season 2, and co-hosts Efron and Darin Olien aren’t the only good boys on screen.

As the duo learns about Australia’s land, food, indigenous cultures, and sustainability efforts over the course of Season 2’s eight episodes, they set aside some quality time to bond with animals. They meet koalas, pet a giant pig named Aphrodite, hold a few squirrel gliders, feed Tasmanian Devils, swim with dolphins, and so much more. But this season, Efron and Olien made it their mission to befriend and gush over every single dog that crossed their paths.

From the season premiere to the finale, the duo can be seen petting, holding, or even swimming with pups. Whether they’re busting out they’re dog voice for cameras or narrating their love for furry friends in voiceovers, Down to Earth Season 2 leaves no room for doubt: Efron and Olien love dogs, and that simple fact makes a travel series already oozing with charm even more lovable.

Efron and Olien encountered their first playful pup, Smudge, when filming Episode 1. Smudge is a koala detection dog who, per Efron, “finds the koala poops,” because “where there’s koala poops, there’s koalas.” When Smudge first appears on the series, he has a muzzle around his mouth, which Efron takes the time to explain in a voiceover. “Smudge is a very good boy, but due to some possible poisons in the area, he’s wearing this Hannibal Lector mask for his own protection, not ours,” Efron says.

After some hearty pets, Smudge sets out to track some poop. And much to Efron’s delight, he succeeds. Good boy, Smudge!

I’ve gotta give these dogs some love.”
Zac Efron

In Episode 2, Efron and Olien visit Joni Farm to learn about sustainable farming, and crucially, to meet a good girl named Luna. After bending to pet Luna, Olien says, “You’re happy,” and Efron busts out his most adorable dog voice to say, “You’re healthy, aren’t you?” Luna tags along as the co-hosts tour the farm, seeking attention and keeping an eye on her owner.

Efron’s most precious interactions with a pup go down in Episode 4 when he and Olien visit the Torres Strait Islands to learn about the impact of rising sea levels.

After Efron and some locals pile into a boat, a beautiful brown dog swims up to Efron. The actor asks his new friends if he should pull a Baywatch, dive in, and rescue her. But they told him the dog, literally named Precious, would be able to swim back to shore on her own, so Efron said his goodbyes. “Love for you to go with us, pup. But we just can’t take you,” he said. “With Precious safe, we’re ready to shove off.”

Luckily, that wasn’t Efron’s last time playing with Precious. The two reunite on the beach later in the day, go swimming with the Down to Earth crew, show off some “Olympic level doggy paddle,” and even play with Olien. Before the co-hosts leave the island, they watch several children perform a dance, and Efron curls up on the sand with Precious by his side. It’s a doggy date so good it deserves its own collage.

In Episode 7, Efron and Olien are introduced to a shy purebred rainforest dingo, and though dingoes are technically the same as dogs, as Efron explained, dingos are “classified in the genus Canis genus, same as wolves, coyotes, foxes, and dogs.” Efron went on to say that, “While they look cute and cuddly, wild dingoes are ferocious predators, the same as most carnivores.” But that didn’t stop him from holding — and even snagging a selfie — with this good dingo.

The handlers explained that two legislative acts want to wipe dingoes out of extinction, even though they’re highly valuable to the environment. You definitely shouldn’t mess with a dingo out in the wild, but Efron knew he was in safe hands with this particular dingo and his handlers.

Before Season 2 wraps up, Efron and Olien encounter not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR good dogs in Episode 8. “Who do you got here with us?” Olien asks a farmer, pointing to the four furry friends in the back of his truck. “The workforce,” the man replies.

He proceeds to introduce the four dogs: Frank, Oomba, Pepper, and Goober. And as he continues talking, Efron says, “They look exhausted,” and moves in for some pets.

As he walks over to the pups, he explains via voiceover, “I’ve gotta give these dogs some love.” When you think about it, that was truly one of his greatest Season 2 mottos. Here’s hoping Down to Earth will return for a Season 3 and Efron and Olien get the chance to pet many more dogs on television.

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