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Swayze and wife Lisa Niemi posed for this shot – with poodle Lucas (left) and Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy Kumasai (right) – in May 2009. As rumors of Swayze’s declining health were reaching a fever pitch in March, the actor adopted Kumasai, telling PEOPLE he was “one special dog.”
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TAKING THE LEAD
During an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters in late 2008, Swayze walked the reporter through his California ranch, introducing her to some of his horses.
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While dining at Koi restaurant in Los Angeles in June 2007, Swayze took a moment to pose with a perky pup named Jack.
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Like mother, like son! Swayze joins his mother Patsy for a ride around his California property during a taping of Superstars and Their Moms in 1999.
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Think they visit the same stylist? One of the actor’s furry sidekicks joins him poolside in L.A. in a portrait from 1987.
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A buff Swayze strolls with a steed at the Festival of the Horse in Qatar in the Middle East in 1995. Three years later, the actor suffered severe injuries when he was thrown from a horse while filming Letters from a Killer in California.
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HOT TO TROT
Playing a game of “follow the leader,” Swayze leads a stylish horse around a pen in Texas in 1996. When Swayze and Niemi renewed their vows in 2008, the actor rode into the ceremony on a white stallion like the one seen here.
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Hold your horses! Swayze and Niemi smile for the camera in a photo from 2001. The couple bred horses on their New Mexico ranch, including Swayze’s favorite, a chestnut Arabian stallion named Tammen.
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TO THE DOGS
Letting their big pups pretend they’re little lap dogs, Swayze and Niemi (who had no children and considered their pets their children) get cozy in Los Angeles with Lucas and another pooch in 2007.