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Actress Diane Gaidry shares her love of animals with Louisville

Diane GaidryAward-winning independent film actress Diane Gaidry (Loving Annabelle, television’s “Medium”) will make two special appearances in Louisville this September: On the 11th, she’ll attend Pup-Corn and A Movie, featuring the film The Dogwalker, in which she starred and co-produced. The film follows the moving, transformational journey of Gaidry’s character Ellie Moore as she works toward a brighter future before her past catches up with her.

Then, on Sept. 12—National Pet Memorial Day—Gaidry will take part in Honoring the Animals Candlelight Vigil. The event will feature live music, light refreshments, adoptable pets, and a blessing of the animals. Chance’s Spot, Pet Loss and Support Resources is sponsoring the events, which benefit the New Albany Animal Shelter.

Tails’ Valerie Lute talked with Gaidry about her movie, her love of animals, and her involvement in animal rights.

How did you first come to be involved with Chance’s Spot?

Gail Heller (Chance’s Spot founder) contacted me last September. She had seen The Dogwalker. She plans these events a year in advance and asked me if I would be interested in doing a screening of the film and be present for the event. So I said sure.

Why is National Pet Memorial Day important?

These are our loved ones. This is one of the biggest losses we experience. Even though we know from the day they come into our lives that we will probably outlive them, there is no way to prepare yourself for that loss, when someone has given you unconditional love and you have given that unconditional love back. It needs to be acknowledged that this pain is very real. We need to process it, share it, and get through it.

Tell us about your film, The Dogwalker, and how it ties into both events.

My ex-husband Jacques and I made the film in L.A. about 10 years ago. It’s about a young woman, kind of a lost soul, and she is rescued by an older woman who is a dog walker. The older woman takes the younger woman under her wing, and she becomes a dog walker herself. The character that I play, Ellie, eventually learns to care for herself and make better choices.

There are a lot of dogs in the film, all of which I am pretty sure are no longer with us.  Most of the dogs I used to care for when I had my own pet care business in L.A. One of them was Jacques’s and my dog in L.A. Her name was Pansy. She was our baby.

How did your time spent as a dog walker in L.A. prepare you for the film?

They say when you are writing a script to write what you know. For a long time I spent a lot of time with dogs, much more than with humans. This was a world my husband and I knew very well. I had done it for about 15 years, and Jacques did it with me for a while. I knew what it was like to be trusted coming into someone’s home and caring for their animals. I knew the personalities of the dogs. In fact, Jacques based a lot of the personalities of the dogs in the movie off of dogs that we knew.

Do you have any advice for people who may want to become involved with animal welfare but don’t know where to start?

There are so many shelters and places where there is so much need. Just contact a local shelter or rescue. If you have a favorite breed, contact the rescue in your area. There’s just a tremendous need.

Talk to Gaidry in-person about the puppy loves of her life at Pup-Corn and A Movie, Sept. 11, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Hotel Louisville. Tickets cost $35 for event admission and a meet-and-greet with Gaidry prior to the movie. Movie-only tickets are $15.

The candlelight vigil will go from 7 to 9 p.m. on the 12th at Saint Andrews Episcopal Church in the Highlands. Admission is free. For more information, visit HonoringTheAnimals.org. –Valerie Lute

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