Uma starts off the movie as a puppy in a pet shop. Every child that walks by seems to pick out another puppy, and the owner of the store is having a terrible time selling dogs. At night, two dog lovers break into the shop and steal several dogs including Beethoven. Another small dog, Sparky, however, helps Beethoven escape his cage during the long truck ride. The other dogs notice and become excited. When one of the two thieves come to check on the dogs, Beethoven escapes.
Sparky is pursued by one of the thieves while Beethoven hides overnight in a trash can. In the morning, Beethoven sneaks into the Newton house and subsequently finds children in the Newton household. Emily, the youngest daughter, believes that her father has finally bought her a puppy. George, the father, is in a sticky situation, the kids believe he brought the dog home, but he does not want the added responsibility and aggravation of owning a dog. Soon he is talked into keeping the dog. While they are naming the dog, Emily plays a famous part of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and the dog immediately begins to bark. Thus, the family decides to name him Beethoven.