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Healthy Pets

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Allison Janney's Life With Dogs

The actress talks about her three dogs and her sitcom, 'Mom.'
By Melanie D. G. Kaplan
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by William Draper, DVM

Your two newest dogs, Dutch and Sippie, were rescued in Mississippi. What was their story?

"I was filming The Help in Greenwood, MS, and had too many days off in a row. So I started looking at the Petfinder app, for cattle dogs, and I saw Dutch -- this teeny puppy with the largest ears. He was at a kill shelter. They put him in my arms, and I fell in love. They said, 'Well, he has a sister.' I said, 'Let’s do it.' I had to move out of the Alluvian Hotel, so the puppies and I stayed with [director] Tate Taylor, and they proceeded to poop all over everything."

Recommended Related to Pets

Your Partner vs. Your Pet

Pets allow couples to practice teamwork. They also create relationship proving grounds, where romantic partners decide household rules and negotiate rough spots. Whether it’s a fuss over pet behavior or allergies, pets need not push couples to the brink, forcing someone to shout, "It’s me or the dog/cat!" If you and your sweetheart butt heads over a pet, here's expert advice on what to do to avoid a showdown over pet bonding, pet behavior, or pet allergies.

Read the Your Partner vs. Your Pet article > >

What does your first dog, Addie, think about the new kids?

"Addie couldn’t have been more upset with me. It took about 6 months."

Who’s in charge?

"I’m not a great alpha dog. They rule the roost here. I sometimes sit on the couch to watch the news while the dogs are running all over. It’s like Jurassic Park. Dutch is a jumper, and I haven’t discouraged him because I think it’s great -- I’m so tall and he can leap up to my mouth to give me a kiss."

When you’re stressed out, is one of them your go-to dog?

"Addie is this gracious, loving dog with a peaceful energy, like a Buddha dog. So she calms me. Dutch won’t get in bed with me at night, but at some point I wake up to him flapping his ears by my head, and that’s my signal to lift up the covers and let him in. It’s sweet -- like he doesn't want the girls to know he’s a mama’s boy."

What kinds of conversations do you have with them?

"They don't like it when I rehearse my lines out loud. Dutch will get up and run out of the room. What? Was that a bad line? Are you my coach now? They get freaked out by it. I just wish they could talk to me. I don’t really have conversations with them. It’s more silly things like, 'Company meeting. Let's go, in the office! OK, game plan for the day.' I do it to make my assistant laugh. She wasn’t a dog person, and now she has two. I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs."

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