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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."

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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."

What’s your morning ritual?

"I get on the bed with Addie, start hugging her and giving her kisses, and Dutch dive-bombs his way between us. There's a lot of hard things about having dogs, but that moment in the morning makes me feel loved, and I’m grateful. Then I go and get my coffee, and Dutch starts leaping around like we’re going for a walk, and I’m like, 'Not. Yet.' I start running the bath water, and all the dogs are like, 'Okaaay.' They know it’s going to be another 20 minutes. That buys me some time before the craziness begins."

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