Movie: Celebrities Talk About Bonding With Their DogsPublished February 1, 2012
My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story (Docurama Films) is what I call a dogumentary. It is a look into the private lives of public figures who celebrate their bonds with four-legged friends. Twenty percent of every dollar earned by this film is donated to nonprofit animal welfare charities.
The film begins with Fashion Designer Isaac Mizrahi and his long-haired pooch. “Harry is a coutoure dog. He’s more respectful of gowns than people. When I take him to work he won’t go near chiffons and taffetas but people end up running around with bloody appendages.” He laughs and goes on to say he never questions Harry’s loyalty. Mizrahi knows Harry isn’t using him for paparazzi photos or to further his career.
Poet Billy Collins says, “This is what I always wanted. Someone who couldn’t stand life without me and follows me around like some slow-witted cousin.”
Law & Order: SVU actor Chris Meloni said fellow cast member Richard Belzer “takes that dog wherever he goes.” SVU actor Belzer said, “Bebe’s with me almost 24 hours a day, every day. I take him to premieres and sneak him into restaurants. The dog is becoming more famous than I am. He’s appeared in TV Guide and has websites devoted to him.” In a more serious moment Belzer gazes at the poodle-fox terrier mix and says their connection is spiritual.
Actress Edie Falco sits beside her rescue, Marly. Their devotion is palpable. “She’s as much a part of my family, if not more, than anybody.” Falco brings Marly, the size of a Labrador, to TV sets where she is beloved by castmates. Falco switches to a more serious tone, “Everybody has gone through life experiences and you get hurt. People just trying to find their way sometimes hurt people. I’ve been at both the receiving and giving ends. It’s just human nature. But Marly has never hurt me. No dog has ever hurt me.”
New York Post Columnist Cindy Adams, seated between her frou-frou Yorkies Jazzy and Juicy says, “They rule my life and I don’t care.” Jazzy wears a red bow on her head and a diamond studded collar. “I haven’t trained them at all,” said Adams. “I do whatever they want. Does it matter? My husband wasn’t well-trained either.” Referring to their toy size she says, “I’ve got more hair under my arms than they have on their bodies.”
Greg Louganis, Olympic diving gold medalist, is handsome with his salt and pepper hair, red tennis shirt and silver peace sign dangling from his neck. “Everybody asks me, ‘Why aren’t you coaching?’ I say, ‘I am coaching. I coach dogs.’” His eyes look sad. “Handlers that bark out directions to dogs remind me of my militaristic Dad. I don’t respond well to that.” Louganis trains his dogs to compete but is quick to say, “They don’t have to perform to live in my house.” Years ago he underwent toxic HIV treatments. “It was devastating. All I could do was vegetate in front of the TV.” His Great Dane, Freeway, seated beside him was a constant companion. “I don’t want to sound melodramatic but sometimes a dog is just a good reason to get up in the morning.”
The documentary includes many more touching moments. Actress Didi Conn and composer husband David Shire openly discuss their son’s autism and his Sheepdog named Madeline as his bridge to life. Lynn Redgrave says about her dog Violet, “I can’t remember life before her. I can just stare at her all day.” Additionally interviewed in the film are playwright Edward Albee, actor Richard Gere, and Gayle Martz—the woman who invented the Sherpa travel bag. Glenn Close sums it all up, “Dogs will love you no matter what.”
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