Glenn with Bill, Jake and Sweet Pea
I got an interesting call the other day. A coworker happens to be acquainted with Glenn Close and her family, and would I be interested in speaking to Glenn about a pit bull mix she's been fostering? Random! Of course, I was also delighted. As someone who has also fostered a pit (the often misunderstood breed that needs all the good publicity it can get), naturally I um, jumped faster than my own doglet does when I say "dinner!" at the chance.
Most of us immediately picture Dangerous Liaisons (that teardrop!), Fatal Attraction (that bunny!) and other classics--you know, the ones where she proves time and time again that she's one of the best actors ever--when we think Glenn Close. And a new generation may first identify Glenn with her role as the most infamous dog hater of all times, Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians. Ironically, where the latter is concerned anyway, turns out she's such a passionate dog lover that for the past year, Glenn's been quietly turning out a blog, Lively Licks, on FetchDog, a web channel that combines content and commerce for all things canine.
Many of the many famous folks I've chatted with tend to walk on the self involved side of the fence, but Glenn was refreshingly cool, lovely, clearly committed to her passion and even gamely asked questions about and let me ramble on about my own rescue dog, Violet. But then again, that's just how dog people are. We love to talk about our animals and ultimately, what we can do to help solve the seemingly overwhelming problems of overpopulation in general. Glenn has two adorable dogs of her own (cuddly Jake and Bill, who really, really loves to eat), and says she's grown up surrounded by dogs ever since she was a little girl. Like many of us, she believes strongly in their ability to heal and make our day-to-day lives better. For October Adopt-A-Dog month, she came up with the brilliant idea to foster a dog and document the whole experience for an appearance on fellow dog lover Rachael Ray's show.
"I was introduced to Sweet Pea, a pit mix, through the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals, which is a great group because they work with all the larger rescue groups and smaller grassroots organizations in New York and bring them together," she says. "She was found in an apartment where her owners were evicted and it was clear there was some domestic violence going on, and she was sick." Sweet Pea was (luckily) taken to the hero organization Hope Veterinary Clinic in Brooklyn and treated for both respiratory and eye infections, paid for by another heroic group, The Picasso Fund, money set aside to treat sick animals that would normally be euthanized started, incidentally, by Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters and administered by the Mayor's Alliance. "Sweet Pea was perfect for this project because she's been through many aspects of the system, which is great for educational purposes. Plus she was just so mellow and got along with my dogs, so I could bring them all on location with me," said the lady is known for filming scenes with a dog under the set desk.
We'll catch up with how finding Sweet Pea a home is going (three strong applications at press date!), the "Rachael Ray Show" appearance, and how fostering a dog is even more helpful than adopting a rescue dog later this week, but first I have to introduce you to Lively Licks and Fetchdog, the online world that is something of a family business. (Her husband and son-in-law handle the business logistics, like most artists, she does the creative work.) If you have a dog or are just obsessed with them, you'll want to add it to your RSS feed asap.
The site is the perfect blend of education: there's how to choose the best breed for you, resources on training and more; entertainment: the celebrity allure of Glenn's musings and interviews with famous friends like fellow dog owners Bernadette Peters (her dogs Kramer and Stella are adorable), and Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen (Ted sounds like such a softie!) is totally fun; and of course, commerce: really nice dog beds, collars, leashes and everything else you could think of, and yes, percentages of many of the products sold on Fetchdog are donated to various organizations (I'm saving up for the Fashion Hounds Bolster Bed which benefits Dog Tags, mentioned below). What's most interesting to me personally is how it's also such a great place to learn more about actionable ways you can get involved with the advocacy groups you may have read about here and there. If you are moved by Puppies Behind Bars, an amazing program where inmates train service dogs, wait until you read Glenn's interview with Bill Campbell, an Iraq veteran and participant in PBB's offshoot, Dog Tags: Service Dogs For Those Who Have Served Us. (Bring tissues.) After the blog post, there's a link to donate to the program or you can shop for dog products that will help benefit the organization.
Watch out for an update on Sweet Pea later this week, and in the meantime, check out Fetchdog and Glenn's blog, Lively Licks. I know you'll love it as much as I do. Oh and to all you fanatics out there, you can upload a picture of your dog to their gallery. You know you can't resist.
Want more Heavy Petting? See also:
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The world's ugliest dog
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A green puppy named Wasabi
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Glenn with Bill, Jake and Sweet Pea