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
Teaching your dog to come to you when you call her (also known as the recall) is the most important lesson you can teach her. A dog who responds quickly and consistently when you call her can enjoy freedoms that other dogs cannot. She can play in the dog park, hike with you in off-leash parks and keep out of trouble in most situations. Even if you never intend to have your dog off her leash, things happen. Collars break, leashes slip, gates or doors are inadvertently left open. When an accident...
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."