Notable pet people sound off on the pets in their lives
By Erin Auerbach
Neil Diamond recently revealed that a picture of Caroline Kennedy as a young girl provided the inspiration for his hit song “Sweet Caroline.” Lest we all forget that a muse can also be of the canine or feline variety, we asked some of our favorite pet people about how the animals in their lives inspire them on a daily basis. Here are their answers:
“The most inspirational animals are the service animals. I recently treated a guide dog and saw how patient this animal was with his blind [person]. We could learn from that as people. A lot of the best human attributes we strive for are present in animals.”
—Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, veterinarian on Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets and e-Vet Interns
“Animals are pure love, and they are totally accepting and forgiving. And we can all learn from that. There’d be less strife, certainly no war if we were more like the dogs. I have a rescue named Harmony, and she is harmonious.”
—JoAnne Worley, comedienne and president of Actors for Animals
“When I look at my cat Libby, I see another being who feels happiness, sadness, loneliness, playfulness, and excitement—the same types of emotions that all of us as people have. She wants to live as much as I do, and I recognize that fact every day that I see her. She inspires me to work to protect all of those creatures who do not have a loving home and face serious threats from people who would cause them harm for profit or recreation.”
—Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, the Humane Society of the United States
“My dogs inspire me because when they come to greet my wife and me, it’s like being greeted by 15 children. The love is beyond comprehension. Your dogs live with you more than your kids; they live with you the entire span of their lives.”
—Jack Hanna, director of Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, host of nationally syndicated TV show Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures and the forthcoming show Into the Wild. He is also a proud parent to Tasha, a Yellow Labrador, and Brass, a Golden Retriever.
“My son has a dog whom I take care of and baby sit. He’s a 108-pound Lab named Bear. Bear is a bear; he is the sweetest animal. You get total love when you take care of him.”
—Doris Roberts, actress, Everybody Loves Raymond
“I am endlessly amused by the way that they share my life, and yet have only partial comprehension of the way I see things. It is kind of like hosting exchange students from Neptune. In the interest of living together, we try to find a harmonious middle ground, but as members of completely different species, we have such vastly different cultural approaches that we just have to agree to disagree about most things. For example, I think mud is something to be avoided. They see it as a cool, refreshing beverage.”
—Merrill Markoe, Emmy Award–winning writer, inventor of David Letterman’s “Stupid Pet Tricks,” and author of numerous books, including Walking in Circles before Lying Down and What the Dogs Have Taught Me. She shares her life with her four rescued dogs.