The love of his life is a real bitch, and Michael Vartan couldn't be
happier. When Vartan, then co-star of the hit ABC series Alias, met
Millie, a chocolate Lab puppy, six years ago, it was love at first sight. She
was the cutest thing he'd ever seen.
"She looked like a college football with legs," says Vartan,
41. "There's nothing I wouldn't do for her." That includes getting her name
tattooed on his forearm. "I have many tattoos, and that's the one I will never
Boredom and excess energy are two common reasons for behavior problems in dogs. This makes sense because they’re meant to lead active lives. Wild dogs spend about 80% of their waking hours hunting and scavenging for food. Domestic dogs have been helping and working alongside us for thousands of years, and most are bred for a specific purpose, such as hunting, farming or protection. For example, retrievers and pointers were bred to locate and fetch game and water birds. Scent hounds, like coonhounds...
Although Vartan likes to steer conversations away from his
relationships with females of his own species, he's quick to gush about Millie.
Often, she's all he wants to talk about. "My agent and my manager, they tell
me, 'Stop talking about your dog; we want to get your career going.'"
Michael Vartan: Longtime Dog Lover
They needn't worry. His career is doing just fine. Starting in
2001, Vartan spent five seasons playing a spook opposite on-screen -- and, for
a while, off-screen -- love interest Jennifer Garner in Alias. Now, he's
wearing a white coat and stethoscope in the TNT hospital drama,
HawthoRNe, with Jada Pinkett Smith. And, for better or worse, Vartan
didn't get much attention from the tabloids until Millie turned up. "We were in
InStyle; it was such a trip."
Vartan has always been a dog person. And dogs, it seems, have
always taken to him. Callie, his family's German shepherd, never left his
crib-side when he was an infant. He's a sucker for all animals and other
creatures as well: "I was the weird kid who would rescue a fly out of the
toilet." But if he were on a desert island, he'd want a dog. Preferably
So, what's the big deal about his dog? For Vartan, it's less
about the love he gets from Millie than it is about the love he's able to give
her. "We love our dogs, our pets, so much because we can love them the way we
want to love someone else, without constraint or being judged." He sighs. "I
just wish I was half the man my dog thinks I am."