You may recognize Kathy Ireland from her successful career as a supermodel and Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model (she appeared in 13 consecutive issues beginning in 1984). You may also recognize Ireland from her array of movie credits or her 2009 appearance as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Or, perhaps from her reputation as an unstoppable business woman. Her company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, sells everything from home products to destination weddings.
So what’s next for the woman who already does it all? Ireland recently joined forces with pet products company Worldwise, Inc. to create the Kathy Ireland Loved Ones Collection. We connected with Ireland to learn about her passion for pets and the special animals who touch her life everyday.
TAILS: What motivated you to get involved in the pet industry?
Kathy Ireland: It is something our company wanted to do for years. We just had to find the right partners, and Worldwise is a great fit. The motivation is to make pets and their guardians feel comfortable and pampered.
What kind of products can we expect to see?
Solution-based home décor is a key point of differentiation. We focus on easy to care for fabrics, items that clean well, and products that offer storage, entertainment, and beauty.
What is your favorite part about designing products for pets?
Bringing solutions to families and their pets makes our hearts soar.
When will the collection be in stores?
Tell us about your dog Sparky.
Sparky will be 13 on July 13. Santa Claus brought him when [my son] Erik was 7 years old. He came from a shelter and is a true mystery breed. He seems to be a little bit of everything. As a cancer survivor, he runs through life happily on three legs—nothing slows Sparky down.
You inherited your other two dogs, Gracie and Delilah, from your late friend and actress Elizabeth Taylor. have they had an easy adjustment to their new life with you?
Gracie and Delilah are the princesses of our pet family. They are truly loved. We aren’t able to pamper them to the degree that Elizabeth did––their collars are faux diamonds! Elizabeth bedecked them with authentic jewels and couture cushions. In our home, they still have their Vuitton carry cases and lots of love. Still, in our hearts, we know they will always love and miss Elizabeth. There was no one on earth like her.
Do all the dogs get along well together?
Yes, and the cat too—Pussy Galore (named after a Bond Girl). We call her PG.
Did you grow up with pets?
Yes, lots of pets. Shrimp, fish, cats, dogs, lizards, frogs, and more. I was a vegetarian for years because of my respect for animal life.
What is the one greatest thing you’ve learned from being a pet parent?
We are guardians with great responsibility. Animals give us such unconditional love and help families in countless ways. People with pets live longer and are happier.
What are the issues you find most important in the pet community these days?
There are so many: supporting no- kill shelters, encouraging adoption, bringing animal health and well-being to the forefront of guardianship, and asking everyone who has a pet to please make plans for that little life in case you pass away before they do.
You’re an accomplished model, businesswoman, actress, author, and philanthropist. is there anything you still dream of doing?
You are very kind. I am not an actress, and I have the movies to prove it. I am very grateful to be recognized today as a successful designer. My greatest accomplishment? Being a mom and honoring faith as the foundation to life.
THIS OR THAT?
Training: With a professional OR on your own
Bath Time: At the groomers OR at home
Grooming for Gracie and Delilah, home for Sparky.
Feeding: Off the table OR only out of the bowl
Gracie and Delilah only out of the bowl. Sparky sometimes cheats.
Barking: All the time OR only when needed
Frequently. We have noisy loud lives
Spoiling: Tons of toys OR just a few
All our loved ones are spoiled
Playing: In the backyard OR at the dog park
Both, and at the beach.
Sleeping: In your bed OR in their beds
Sparky in his bed. Gracie and Delilah make sleeping decisions depending upon their mood. They love their luxury beds and like the fabric ironed before bed time.
Styling: Collar only OR coordinated outfits
Sparky in collar only. Gracie and Delilah are runway ready with fashion coordinated outfits.
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