Los Angeles pet lovers.
By Lori Golden
In fact, while growing up in Los Angeles it was pretty much just Christina and her mom. And a lot of animals, primarily dogs and cats. "The house was like a zoo most of the time," Christina says. "Everything had dog hair on it. But I loved the cats. We always had a lot of dogs and lots of cats, but the cats were kind of my little buddies."
Growing up with animals also prepared Christina for her Kelly Bundy role, where one of her co-stars was Buck Bundy, the family dog. "He was wonderful… just a big, sweet creature. He was part of the family and really great to be around. I spent a lot of time with Buck. He would just hang out lying on the couch, getting unbelievable amounts of love from a cast of six that just fawned over him all day long. He had a good life. They actually retired Buck the second to the last year of the show because he was really old."
Less than a year ago Christina married her long time boyfriend, actor Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do!), and together they have two dogs and two cats. Jackson, a white Lab, is about 9, and Sybil, her 11-year old black Shepherd has hip dysplasia and can't walk anymore. "We're dealing with that part of her life right now. It's been difficult. We're just trying to keep her as comfortable as possible. We've pretty much tried everything, but she keeps deteriorating. We even got her one of those little doggie wheelchairs which she really likes a lot. But her upper body is now losing strength too, so we just try to keep her comfortable and happy and give her anything she wants."
In her spare time Christina loves to dote on her animals. "Unlike my mother who dresses her dog up, we don't really do that over here so much. I can't take Sybil out to the park anymore, and Jackson isn't allowed to go to the Dog Park because he got into too many fights. He didn't instigate anything, but he got in the middle of a couple of fights and they blamed him. It was pretty bad and it wasn't his fault, but he had to be banished from the park for a little while. We have a big yard so we play with him out there. Jackson doesn't really like to play ball. He pretends to play ball because he's not very good at it. We like to give the dogs big bones and things like that. And my mom always buys the really noisy toys just to bug me… because Sybil will sit there and squeak them until she kills them. She'll just lay there squeaking for hours and hours, but at least she gets to have some fun. They also have beautiful dog beds."
One of their favorite pet supply stores is Rusty's in Studio City, but these days Christina sends her assistant to pick up their pet supplies. "When we go we just buy so much stuff… bags upon bags of every kind of toys and bones and things that you can possibly imagine. We've been going there for years, for as long as I can remember."
Not to be left out are her beloved cats, Kaanaloa and Natasha, who are "black and beautiful. Both are indoor cats. They have to be," explains Christina, "because I live in the Canyon. I've actually lost all my cats to the coyotes."
Recently coyotes were in the news again when the Los Angeles Animal Regulation Commission decided to allow coyote traps in "problem cases" - if an animal has acted aggressively toward humans. "A part of me is so emotionally attached to the fact that the coyotes prey on peoples' pets and small children, but they're animals," Christina says. "They're beautiful and they're loving creatures just like all the rest of the animals. I don't really know how you deal with a situation like that. Just be smart about your creatures as much as you can. I don't think they should hunt them. I'd prefer to see the public educated on how to keep children and pets safe from the coyotes rather than kill them. But sometimes I get very angry. When you lose your animals to coyotes and you hear them all laughing out there, it's kind of difficult. They come right up to my gate."
Christina is more than just an animal lover; she's also very supportive of PETA. "I just do my part. I don't eat anything that walks or flies, and I don't wear fur. I think that activism within good reason is wonderful. Sometimes we can't change people's minds. But if we can be representatives, if we can be out there doing the work, then I think that's just as good. I'm very grateful that we have organizations like PETA that are keeping the code up for our creatures that we love. And that they make people aware of the over- population problem and the mistreatment of animals. It's wonderful that they're doing that, and I support them in everything they do."
Another organization that Christina is becoming more involved with is The Brittany Foundation, a non-profit organization that rescues all breeds and mixes of dogs. More specifically, the hard to place dogs like the older ones, disabled dogs, or dogs that receive a bad rap like Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Chows, etc. Christina's mom adopted two of her dogs from them, including Monte, her one-eyed dog. "She always helps out with their adoptions on Sundays, (10am-3pm) at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura Blvd.," explains Christina. "She just loves them over there. It's an organization that she got very involved with and one that I'm just starting to get involved with."
To that end, it will be a family affair on June 30th when Christina, Johnathon and Nancy all participate in the 1st Annual Celebrity "Dogout" Softball Game at USC to benefit The Brittany Foundation. (Money raised will go towards the purchase of property in Aqua Dulce to be turned into a full-fledged sanctuary and adoption location.) Featuring a bevy of Hollywood All Stars that include Eric La Salle, Jennifer Beals, Richard Grieco, Anna Nicole Smith, KIIS FM'S Ellen K and Good Day LA's Jillian Barberi, Christina's mom will be singing the National Anthem and husband John will be playing in the game. Tickets are only $15.00, and you might just have a chance to get your picture taken with one of the participating celebrities. For more information and tickets call 213-740-4672.
Having spent a lifetime with animals, Christina Applegate has some parting thoughts about what our animals do for us. "Animals really teach us about love. There are books and there are all sorts of things with which you can learn about love, but when you're with your animals you know what love is. You know what that feeling is. That's the greatest gift that my animals give to me… teaching me about love and teaching me about trust. Look in your animals' eyes every once in a while and really, really see that spirit that's in there. There's a spirit that's living and moving and thinking and loving. Just listen to your animals. Look at them. And talk to them."
(Christina Applegate next stars in A View From the Top with Gwyneth Paltrow, due in theaters in January. And her last film, The Sweetest Thing, should be out soon on DVD and video.
For more about The Brittany Foundation visit their website-www.brittanyfoundation.com. Volunteers are desperately needed at their Aqua Dulce facility during the week and on Saturdays, and they are always in need of foster homes. To volunteer or for more information call 818-709-5706 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
First published in August of 1999, The Pet Press has become THE only local resource for
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