The zip code says it all. Dr. Robert Rey is the star of the reality show known to millions of viewers by its world-famous zip code in Beverly Hills: Dr. 90210. After three years, Dr. Rey steals the program from the other plastic surgeons, thanks to his boyish good looks and unbridled informality. He has been known to playfully karate-chop his way into surgery (he’s a black belt) and charm the most impossibly vain patients.The cameras often follow Dr. Rey from the operating room to his living room of his palatial home in Beverly Hills. The first sound to greet visitors over the intercom of the Reys’ walled-off mini-mansion is the barking of dogs. Every member of the household appears on the show (even the dogs receive fan mail). “We do sleep under a sea of dogs,” Hayley, Dr. Rey’s wife adds. “But everyone is treated equally.”
Hayley is one serious animal advocate and responsible for the family’s four dogs. The pitter-patter of feet on these expensive marble floors belongs to a total of 16 paws -three Chihuahuas and one German Shepherd. Hayley rescued three of the dogs by calling the nonprofit Friends of Animals and requesting dogs that qualified as “medical rescues”, animals deemed hopeless without extensive medical treatment.
In the past year, Dr. Rey says he’s come to view himself as the dogs’ “guardian”, a grander name than pet parent. Although, when Dr. Rey returned home from his usual 12-hour day at the surgical center, he had a run-in with one of the Chihuahuas. “I flopped down on the sofa,” he says, “and one of the rescues bit me for no good reason!” Hayley reminded her husband that “rescues have had a hard life.” And, nips and bites aside, the welcome mat remains for future rescues.
Due to the animals’ hard lives, the Reys’ medical bills are not for the (let’s say) faint of heart. Chihuahua Gretchen, age five to possibly eight (exact birthdate unknown), required countless visits to the veterinarian for physical therapy and more than one operation for her underdeveloped hind leg. As for Trinket, age one-and-a-half, she was found on the street and required a three-week stay in the hospital because of severe mange and parasites that left her bald. And Max, age one, the purebred Shepherd, requires strenuous exercise and must undergo “socialization”, to stop bullying the three Chihuahuas.
Although Beverly Hills caters to pets with aromatherapy, pawdicures and facial hydration scrubs, Dr. Rey says, “I’m from a barrio in Brazil. I’m still acclimating to Beverly Hills, and I’m not there yet.” Amenities are better spent, Hayley says, on a healthful diet – including attention to vitamin and nutritional supplements – and on the best medical care for rescue animals.
Whether their household contains 16 paws or more, the Reys and their pets will continue to enjoy a privileged lifestyle in a fantasyland reserved for the rich and famous known as 90210.
For more information visit: www.drrobertrey.com.