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Q & A With Carrie Ann Inaba

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Do you think rescue pets need more TLC than other animals?

I know one thing: They know you saved them. If their life is in danger, they know it, and they show that appreciation in beautiful ways. You don’t know their past, so you have to be a lot more tuned in to your animal. And that’s the gift you get -- putting your energy toward another creature. That’s what love is.

You have a Chihuahua and four cats. Some of your pets have medical issues.

My boxer, Cookie, recently passed away. She had a heart condition and had been in a cage for so long when I adopted her. My cat Taz has had three surgeries and has only one kidney. He has a feeding tube, and he is one of the happiest, healthiest cats I have ever seen. Loving all my special-needs animals is so rewarding.

What’s the routine when you get home?

I walk through the door, get attacked by [the Chihuahua] Peanut and play with her on her big bed. I give Taz 50 mL of water in his neck through a syringe. Squeaker gets dinner. Taz gets dinner. Peanut is the pickiest -- I usually give her three choices for dinner, because I never know what she’ll want to eat. I wash more animal dishes than human dishes.

You’ve lived all over the world. How is the attitude about pets different in places like Hawaii or Japan?

In Hawaii everyone loves their animals, but dogs are treated more like outside dogs. In L.A., people have them indoors and carry them around all the time. Once in a while I take Peanut out to socialize her, but it makes her nervous, and I try not to stress out my animals. In Japan, there’s a high aesthetic, and it’s the same with pets: They treat them a little bit like toys, dressing them up and grooming them beautifully.

You’ve been through a few really difficult things in the last year -- ending an engagement, the death of one of your dogs, and the death of your father. Have your pets picked up on your sadness?

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