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The “American Gothic” star helped transform the Poodle mix into the happy, healthy dog he is today.
Mr. Pickles was frantically dodging traffic on a busy Harlem street, a dirty leash trailing behind him. The small dog was matted, skinny, and very scared when a kind stranger saved him from oncoming taxis and brought him to Animal Care Centers of NYC. Elsewhere in the city, actress Deirdre Lovejoy was logging onto Petfinder. After losing her beloved cat of 14 years, Chester, to cancer last May, Deirdre found herself missing the pitter patter of little paws.
“I finally was ready to get another pet, but I couldn’t bear to get another cat,” she tells Lucky Puppy.
Although her busy work schedule includes plenty of traveling, Deirdre began to envision a canine companion, one who could accompany her to sets and far-flung locations.
“So I had been looking on Petfinder for several months, and I’d seen lots of cute dogs, but I was in the stalking stage,” she says. “Then I saw this picture on Petfinder of this just wreck of a dog. He had moles on him. He was emaciated and had patches of blood and no fur and was just crusty everywhere, and he had the hugest smile I had ever seen.”
That dog was Mr. Pickles, and Deirdre headed to the shelter to meet the dog whose battered appearance wasn’t exactly attracting adopters.
“Literally when I took him from Animal Care, the attendants came out and were like, ‘You’re taking that dog?’ He looked like death.”
Staff told Deirdre how Mr. Pickles had arrived at ACC thanks to the kind person who plucked him from traffic. The tattered leash he’d been dragging indicated the pup had a family somewhere, so staff tried to get him home before putting him up for adoption.
“He was chipped, and they called his owner and got her on the phone and said ‘You have a week to come get your dog,’ and she never showed up,” Deirdre says.
Luckily for Mr. Pickles, Deirdre was about to walk into his life and give him a second chance.
“I put my face up to the cage, and he immediately started kissing me. He had no energy at all. He was cut and bleeding all over,” Deirdre says. She remembers how Mr. Pickles tried to wag his tail but hardly had the strength. “I made myself go home and sleep on it overnight, and when I walked in the next day, he actually mustered the strength for like three or four wags.”
Those little wags sealed the deal, and Deirdre took Mr. Pickles home to start getting him healthy. She says for the first two weeks, he struggled to learn how to eat again, but eventually Mr. Pickles — who was probably just over 1 year old when Deirdre adopted him — got the hang of things and started to look like a real dog again.
“It took about three months for the light to come back on in his eyes,” Deirdre says. “He was a little less than 9 pounds, and now he is a healthy 14 to 14 1/2. He is, much to my surprise, a gorgeous Poodle mix.”
Deirdre says she’s convinced her departed cat, Chester, sent Mr. Pickles to her because the new dog has some very feline behaviors.
“He’ll crawl in between anything that I’m reading or lay on my computer just like a cat would. He does everything like a cat,” she says.
When he’s not getting between Deirdre and her reading materials, this handsome little is the perfect travel buddy, going everywhere Deirdre’s career demands.
“They love him on set. I’m working on the CBS show American Gothic, and we have several dogs on our set, but he’s a little bit of a mascot. He loves people, he follows me around — doesn’t even need a leash. He is just joy personified.”
Already an official emotional support animal for Deirdre, Mr. Pickles is training to become a therapy dog for hospital and geriatric visitation. Deirdre hopes this little dog who has transformed her life can spread his doggy joy even further.
“He makes people smile walking down the street. He’s never had an accident in the house. He’s never chewed anything that wasn’t his. He’s been a dream dog, she explains. “People are shocked when they find out he’s a rescue because he looks like some sort of pure breed. Beyond that, he’s always happy.”
Top photo: Deirdre Lovejoy and Mr. Pickles enjoying a lakeside view.
Heather is a wife, new mom, and former TV journalist in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. You can follow Heather on Twitter and Google+.
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