Pampered Puppy Princesses need not apply as award winning actor and dog owner, of Rent and, more recently, Private Practice fame reads excerpts from ALPO's first-of-its-kind "Real Dogs Eat Meat" Handbook at a virtual reading broadcasted live from New York City's Meatpacking district on May 19th 2010. "Real Dogs Eat Meat" aims to get dogs back in the business of being dogs. This event is for the no-frills dog lover who fed up with the frippery that has come to dominate the perception of the modern pet parent. Diggs and his wife, Broadway superstar Idina Menzel, recently welcomed their son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs, into the world on September 2nd 2009. And while the family are certainly animal lovers and proud pet parents, they recognize that there can be no comparison made between their child and their pets. Thus Diggs is the perfect candidate to reveal the guide that encourages itching, digging, barking, and getting your paws dirty! I sat down with Diggs and his not-too-pampered pooch, Sammy Davis Jr. to discuss life, love, and the dog park.
Animal Fair: Now why did you choose the names you did for your pets? Like your cat Ella -- does she sing like Ella?
Taye Diggs: Right! No [she doesn't], we're just fans of music and the joke with Sammy Davis Jr. (his dog) is that I'm black and my wife is Jewish, so that's what Sammy Davis Jr. came from, he's Jewish and he's black
AF: That's great! Now, if Idina were a dog, what breed do you think she'd be?
TD: Oh lordy! I don't like to compare her to a dog, but something sexy and sleek but at the same time ferocious.
AF: (laughs) Well maybe even a cat! Now, what made you want to do this doggie book reading today?
TD: It just seemed like a fun activity, you know? I liked the idea that this book is trying to remind people that dogs need to be treated like dogs as opposed to fancy designer doggie sneakers, doggie hats. You know, I saw some dogs the other day that actually had their hair done. It's just gotten to the place that it's kind of a joke and I think people are losing sight of the actual pet themselves. I kind of stand behind this movement.
AF: Is Sammy Davis a real dog, who eats meat?
TD: He is! Yeah he's little but he's about as real as they get! He likes to tear it up, you know what I mean? You won't see him at any of those fancy designer spas. Basically, you just need to care for them, feed them, play with them, and just love them that's all they really need, they don't need all that extra stuff.
AF: Even though Sammy is a real dog, is there anything you do to pamper him every now and then?
TD: He likes this (scratches Sammy and Sammy licks his face). Look at this see? There it is, all day, that's the most. The furthest I'll go -- maybe the treadmill, that's about it. He doesn't like when it's too wet outside, that's about as far as it goes.
AF: What's his favorite meal? Have you ever cooked for him?
TD: No, no we give him dog food. Every once in a while we give him a bit of Chicken or turkey. But we stick to the food. He's a dog, we feed him dog food.
AF: A real dog! Do your cats Ella and Coltrane get along well with Sammy?
TD: They stay out of his way. They are way out of his league (laughs)
AF: How do the animals get along with baby Walker?
TD: Really well! He's very grabby right now, so Sammy likes to excuse himself, but in the morning he gives him a bunch of licks. I mean he's a lover, as soon as Walker gets old enough I'm sure they'll get along.
AF: Nice! Now, does Sammy ever come to work with you or Idina?
TD: Yeah he does, with me mostly. And everybody in the makeup trailer loves him. He's usually pretty well behaved. Every once in a while he'll get separation anxiety, but he's a good little guy.
AF: Who's his favorite person on set?
TD: Me! (laughs) Of course!
AF: Tell me something quirky and fun about Sammy Davis?
TD: Oh, you want to see? This is what he does when he wants to play. (puts Sammy on floor -- Sammy bites and tugs at his boots and jeans playfully)
AF: Oh that's so cute!
TD: That's how you know he wants to play. He has no issue with my shoes or my jeans when he wants to play -- Alright, wait a minute (fixes his shoes, tells Sammy to lie down on the floor). Sit Sammy sit, there we go now stay there, good, making me proud! (keeps telling Sammy to stay)
AF: That's adorable. Does he ever have any play dates with any celebrity dogs?
TD: No celebrity dogs, he's real he doesn't need to hang out with celebrity dogs, but you know, he has other dogs he gets along with in the park.
AF: Now he comes from a very musically talented family, does he sing?
TD: No, no he just sits and listens, listens to my wife warm up. The cats used to scream when she would warm up, but he just chills out most of the time.
AF: You work with Kate Walsh on Private Practice?
AF: If she were any breed of dog what do you think she would be?
TD: Oh boy! That's so hard! She's everything. She's got two dogs and a bunch of cats. She's a pet lover. She's always been a pet lover since before I can even say, she's too many things -- all good!
AF: Does Sammy Davis love or hate the paparazzi?
TD: He hasn't really been exposed. He's probably like me in that he hates it, but they pretty much stay away from us
AF: Do you believe in puppy love for humans? I know you must have fallen
in love with Sammy and Sammy must have found other puppy love?
TD: Oh sure! I'm sure that exists
AF: Do you think you and Idina have that really cute puppy love?
TD: Yeah (laughs)
AF: What advice would you give to all the singles in American who want that puppy love, that genuine cute love that you and Idina share?
TD: To keep their eyes open, and to try and not judge people as much. I think there are a lot of people out there that are looked over because of interesting standards you know what I mean? They put up a net.
AF: Great Advice! Sammy's truly adorable! Thank you so much for your time!
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