Eric McCormack designed his new digs with dogs in mind. The charming and unbearably handsome thirty-seven year old star of NBC’s highly rated Will & Grace has a new, dog friendly home nestled nicely in the Hollywood Hills.
Eric and his wife Janet live with two dogs, Molly and Katie, who they rescued off the streets of Los Angeles. Eric found the precious pooches abandoned in the 95 degree heat, tied to a parking meter on Melrose Avenue in September of 1988 – just as his show was making a slpah on the airwaves.
“They are sisters, I think,” he says. Then he notices one of his beloved canines prancing happily around the yard. “We have painters working on the house,” Eric explains, “and the doors are open, so the dogs are constantly escaping.”
“Katie come here,” Eric calls. Katie comes (wouldn’t you?). “Katie sit,” he says, and the pup obediently crouches.
With order now temporarily restored, the interview continues. Eric says there was no particular reason for choosing the names Katie and Molly. “I just wanted dogs who could run in a Irish tavern if they wanted to,” he jokes.
The Toronto born actor with the graceful carriage and infectious laugh didn’t have animals while growing in Agincourt, Canada (his father was allergic), but now finds himself a confirmed lover of all things pet related. After Katie and Molly came into his life, a feline bundle of joy soon joined the McCormack brood as well: Max the Cat.
“We had the dogs for a year before the cat came along,” Eric says. “Max was also a rescue. He was a kitten – a stray we found in the street. He was only about four months old when we found him and (the dogs) took Max like crazy. They get along very well. It is amazing that the cats and dogs get along so well.”
Eric is happy with his three pets, but hasn’t given up on adding to the family tree someday. “My wife and I would love to rescue a few more dogs,” he says, “but we’d have to be careful about their temperaments and make sure they fit in the animals we already have
When asked if having animals has changed his life, Eric responds with obvious enthusiasm. “Totally,” he gushes. “Having pets centers me and calms me. I guess it is like when you have a child, it gives you something else to think about besides yourself. As an actor you tend to be very self-centered for many years as you get your career started. Now that I have a job that is relatively consistent, I get to… Well, it is just great to be able to focus on something else. Walking the dogs in the canyon all the time, it is a great release. These animals are like my kids.”
Eric’s exercise routine includes his dogs as well. “We try to go on really long treks every day.” He says. “It is a great area, where we live. Five of ten minute drive away there are some really great places to explore.” Eric and his four-legged friends do a good deal of exploring, according to the actor. “These are very, very outdoors-y dogs. They are not big by any means, but they are pretty rough and tumble. They love the water and they love to run around,” he says. “We are taking them on a little road trip today. We are going to a ranch where we are staying overnight.”
When travel plans take Eric and his wife away without their pet, Molly, Katie and Max are well taken care of. “We’ve got a terrific house sitter who’s great with the pups, and of course, Max the cat,” says Eric. “We tried a kennel a couple of times, and the people there were great, but it was just too traumatic for the animals. They’ve got abandoned issues as it is.”
When they aren’t outside, the active animals can be found lounging around the house. When asked whether his new home includes separate bedrooms for the dogs, Eric laughs. “No,” he says. “They all sleep with us. It is just a big, happy family. They start in the bed anyway, but usually end up sleeping on the floor – which we are very thankful for. There is not nearly enough room.”
As he speaks, workmen begin pounding with hammers and saws begin buzzing in the background. Eric proudly mentions the canine compatible construction of his new home. He says that a very big part of the design for the new house has been making it “dog safe and dog friendly.” Even when he and Janet first started at prospective homes, he says, Kathie and Molly figured prominently in their thinking. “When we saw the yard we realized they would have a really good ‘in-and-out” even without the doggie door,” explains Eric explains. “If we just let a door open they would have really great movement between the backyard and the house. We didn’t have that at the old place.”
Katie and Molly were also factored into the décor of the new house. “We are making sure the furniture is sturdy and durable and not so precious that we are constantly worrying about it. It’s their home too,” Eric says with a happy lilt in his voice.
“Our designer, Peter Gurski, is one of the set decorators on Will & Grace,” Eric explains. He’s just trying to play different styles. A lot of what we have now is very New England/Cape Cod in many ways. It is very traditional and not very modern. We are just trying to find a lot of different pieces and some old carpets that go together. A lot of is has to do with the pets.”
How far has Eric to accommodate his canines? “We had this couch designed and Peter wanted to put this very expensive material on it,” Eric says. “I said ‘Look, I am telling you right now, this is the couch the dogs are going to sleep on.” Peter said ‘No they can’t.’ And I told him, ‘I can’t change the way that life has been. I mean, I can try to keep them off, but I know that I will eventually give in and they will sleep on that couch. So what is the point of putting seventy-five dollar material on it?” And sure enough, it has become their couch! They sleep on top of it, like Snoopy.”
Other pet friendly features in the new home include a separate section of the kitchen just for doggie dinners and kitty cuisine. “In the old house it seemed like feeding time was a fifteen minute ordeal,” Eric says. “The wet food was here in the fridge, the dry food was in the back room, the bowls were over there and the bowls for the water – and what with the wandering around and the cutting up this and that… Now in this big new kitchen there is an area where we have this little fridge just for the dog wet stuff. I can do all three meals in about 20 seconds now. It is quite fantastic, a whole little dog area.”
Sadly, Molly and Kathie don’t visit the set of Eric’s hit show and haven’t met the other cast members’ pooches. “Debra (Messing) and Megan (Mullally) have very small dogs and they will occasionally bring them with,” says Eric. “But my girls are a little to rambunctious. They would be running around and I wouldn’t want to just stick them in my dressing room. I was the first of the four of us (the cast of Will & Grace) to get pets. I got the dogs when we started the show, Debra got hers last year, then Megan found hers. But no our dogs have never met. The show has never had a pet day.”
Eric laughs again, perhaps wondering if a Will & Grace pet day wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
By Hampton StevensFor the Best that Pet Lifestyle and Animal Welfare has to offer follow Wendy Diamond on Facebook, Twitter, and right here at AnimalFair.com!