The dogs and cats in her life would likely sing (if they could), “thank you for being a friend” to Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan.
Rue has been adopting homeless animals for more years than the show has been running. She shares her New York City home with her Siamese cat Bianca, who she calls the “queen of the apartment.” She also has 2 dogs that currently live in California with a friend-Angie, a cairn terrier and Buddy, a golden retriever-both happier as West Coast beach bums than they would be in the Big Apple. She says she’s had as many as 6 dogs and 8 cats at a time, all rescues.
Best known for her role as the feisty sixty-something southern belle Blanche Devereaux, Rue knows how to remain youthful at heart. She’s had many pets also in their golden years, and says the secret to longevity is frequent trips to the vet to check out any problems the animal may have or any changes in behavior. She says it is also important to watch the pet’s weight and eating habits.
Bianca, 12 years old (and a Leo), was rescued from the pound in 1990, and remains frisky, svelte and confident. Rue says that Bianca has been much nicer and happier since moving to New York, probably because she has become the center of attention, no longer having to share with her other four-footed siblings. Bianca enjoys dry cat food with a touch of wet food each day, and gets plenty of exercise running around their Manhattan home.
She did have a scare some time ago – when the cat came down with a condition that Rue caught in time, but that could have been fatal: an inner ear infection. “The cat was not centered, and was listing to one side,” Rue recollects. Luckily, she responded quickly to the older cat’s change in appearance and behavior. She advises, “Know your animal, and if something doesn’t seem right, go to the vet.”
Rue works to raise awareness on the importance of spaying and neutering, and is campaigning with the organization, In Defense of Animals, to revamp the New York City Center for Animal Control, where conditions are reportedly poor. Her work with spaying and neutering campaigns, In Defense of Animals and other like campaigns and organizations has been invaluable in the struggle to better the lives of animals throughout the country.
“Animals have a sort of ‘spiritual innocence’. They are not cruel. They are fiercely loving and loyal,” Rue injects. She says of her work for animal causes, “I know I am doing the right thing.” Rue also touts the human health benefits that come with having a pet in your life. She says, “it has been proven that having a pet lowers blood pressure,” and makes people healthier. “It’s like love from anyone.”
Look out for Rue on the big screen, alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. in The Fighting Temptations. The release date is not yet scheduled, but the film is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
– Jennifer Cattaui