By Sarah Dahnke
Comedian Margaret Cho has been vocal about her obsession, nay, addiction to dogs for quite some time. She had an essay published in the book Dog Is My Co-Pilot about how she rescued her second dog, Bronwyn; she spoke effusively of rescue in her first one-woman film, I’m the One That I Want; and she’s gone on the record countless times about how important her animals are to her. Before setting out for a four-week Off Broadway run of her burlesque extravaganza Sensuous Woman, she sat down with us to talk about the three canine companions who complete her life.
You have quite an obsession with dogs. How did you find them?
Two of them are from the animal shelters in Los Angeles. And one of them, somebody found her downtown, so I just decided to take her. She’s awesome. I love dogs. I think they’re so beautiful and so important to life, for my life. I love cats, too, but
How do your dogs relate, especially given their size differences?
The little one is really the boss. The two girls are really, really close. They do everything together. They sunbathe together. They play together. They run around together. They do their exercise together. The big boy has a little bit of a bad hip, so he’s a little more sedate. He’s his own private dog. He was an only dog for a long time, so he doesn’t play too much with the other two. Although they all get along well.
Is it crazy in a house with three dogs?
I think it’s better to have at least two. When you have two, they’re a pack together, and they can keep each other company. I think that’s really nice. And three is not much more than two.
Do you have plans to get another one?
We’ve been talking about a fourth. I think we just haven’t found the right dog yet.
Do you spoil them at home?
They are very spoiled, but they are also very health conscious. They exercise a lot, and they don’t eat a lot of treats. They get a lot of petting, and they get massages because I’m a dog masseuse.
How did you get into dog massage?
My big boy has a bad hip, and I found that when it was hurting him a lot, the only thing that made him feel better was lots of petting so I would pet him with more pressure all over his body. Then I read a book about dog massage and all the different techniques. So now I do it with all of the dogs.
It seems you adopted your first dog at a difficult time in your life. How did your life change after adopting him?
I just had to stay home more [and] not stay out all night because I had to take care of him. We went on lots of hikes, so he was like my personal trainer. He got me in great shape! He made me appreciate the quiet nights at home a lot more. He still does!
Since you live in L.A., home of some of the most ridiculously outrageous styles, have you seen any Southern California pet trends that totally disgust you?
I am not disgusted by anything anyone wants to do for their babies. Pets are our children, and we should be able to spoil them and be as extravagant as we want to. My dogs are pretty down to earth, and they don’t have painted nails or designer carrier bags, but they certainly do have way too many toys!
Do you have any extreme pampering routines that might be a little over-the-top?
No, not really because they aren’t really suited for that. I know a Maltese that gets a pink rinse and gets his nails done, but my dogs won’t stand for that. The girls are real tomboys, and they’re really rough and like to play a lot outside.
Because of the Michael Vick case, there’s been a lot about dog fighting in the news. Do you have any strong feelings about the subject?
I don’t understand it. I think my middle dog, Bronwyn, was used as a fighting dog. When I got her, she was unbelievably cut up all over her body. I don’t know if her cuts were from living on the street or from being a fighter. You can’t really tell. But to me, I don’t understand how anybody could get enjoyment from that. It seems to me to be unbelievably cruel. It’s freaky to me.