Animal enthusiasts are the first to admit that life with a pet can have its share of drama. We asked: could the dose of drama possibly match daytime TV’s happy, crazy, scary or sad moments – the likes of which you see on General Hospital, All My Children or One Life to Live? Animal Fair Magazine caught up with some of daytime television’s most popular actors who live penned dramas every day, and asked them to share some of their animal moments filled with love, laughter and loss (without the split personalities, deception, and revenge).
Jackie Zeman has been a fixture to daytime TV for over 25 years, but is most recognized as Nurse Bobbie Spencer on General Hospital. Jackie, her husband Glen and her two daughters Cassidy Zee and Lacey Rose have a Brittany spaniel named Goldie (named after Goldie Hawn). Jackie says that the dog loves to live life on the go, always having an excuse to run and play. Jackie and her family also have some ally cats – Rex and Lily. “Lily is a red cat from a local shop. Rex, a black cat, was one of the only cats left at an animal shelter. We decided to make him a part of our family.” Jackie reflects on life with children and pets. “There are so many funny moments. One of my favorites was when my daughters would take Lily, who has a happy, perky personality, and dress her up. They’d put her in their stroller and push her around while she was wearing baby clothes, shawls, dolly hats and all.” Jackie is quickly reminded how much a part of her family’s life the pets are. “You realize that if you have children, your pets can help teach them about love, responsibility, sharing, thinking of someone else besides themselves and how to care for another being. Your pets are aware of what you do. I always tell people to be the person your dog thinks you are.”
Jackie’s costar and friend, actress Leslie Charleson has brought the character of Monica Quartermaine to life since 1977. Although she spends her days at General Hospital, off-set she is active in organizations related to health issues like cystic fibrosis, breast cancer and AIDS. The animal world is very important to her as well. She has a Tibetan terrier dog, named Feather, a tortoise named Skipper Dee and a prized Andulusian horse named Andarra. Leslie admits she has loved horses since she was a little girl. Although she always dreamed of owning a horse it wasn’t until her costar, legendary actress Anna Lee, asked Leslie to ride a horse at a charity function that Leslie decided to get one of her own. “Andarra’s breed is exceptionally beautiful and she is a horse that wants to learn new things and is very spirited, not temperamental at all.” Leslie’s horse has had a quiet claim to fame, taking part in the Rose Parade and pulling a sleigh in the Nutcracker.
But Leslie admits even horses can have a wicked sense of humor, recalling one incident when she had just finished riding around golf course and proceeded to hose the horse off – something she did as a matter of course. But this particular day things were different. “I turned the water on and no water came out of hose, then all of a sudden I was standing there soaked,” Leslie continues with a laugh, “My horse had been standing on the hose, and then decided to remove her foot at just the right time…if I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was on purpose. When I looked over at her she appeared to be smiling at the whole situation.” Leslie admits the biggest challenge as an actress and a pet owner is attempting to balance all the responsibilities. “I’m grateful to be able to take Andarra out and care for her as much as I do…thankfully I have help, otherwise it would be very time consuming to take care of her alone. It is very different from owning a dog.” Leslie reminds people who have considered getting a horse that large animals need to be exercised regularly and their feeding and grooming is much more time consuming than that of a house pet. “All animals deserve the best quality treatment and care but if you are considering making a horse a part of your life, you should first learn how to ride, and understand the cost and upkeep required. I can not stress enough that owning a horse is a wonderful fantasy but the reality is that there is so much more to it than many imagine.”
Catherine Hickland has played the manipulative Lindsay Rappaport on One Life to Live since 1998. In 1992 she married actor Michael E. Knight who plays Tad Martin on All My Children. The couple has three dogs, a miniature pincher, a Chihuahua and a Jack Russell terrier, and five cats. Catherine has noticed a difference in the personalities of those animals she has rescued from shelters. “They seem to recognize who saved them and although most rescue animals have issues which take time to work through, they end up being extremely loyal pets.” Catherine admits a house full of animals can really keep them on their toes, recalling one specific incident that involved her husband, a g-string and some very curious cats. “A fan from All My Children sent my husband a the g-string with hanging tassels, so for a laugh I asked him to try it on and he began dancing around and acting silly,” Catherine laughs. “All the cats saw were the tassels so they just went for them and attacked him… I couldn’t stop laughing, although my husband did not find it funny at that moment…” Now that’s drama at its finest!
Since 1976 Julia Barr has played the role of Brooke English on All My Children. The Emmy winning actress is committed to balancing her passion for acting with her passion for family: her husband Richard, daughter Allison, two cats Dinah and Goldie, a rabbit Louis and a puppy Lucy. In 1991, Julia became a spokesperson for The Fund For Animals, an organization that protects facilities for caring and rights for both wild and domestic animals. She recently released her first music CD, From Our House To Yours available through The Fund For Animals, www.fund.org.
Julia says of the project, “I wanted to create something to help raise money for The Fund For Animals and at the same time, I’ve been giving thought to taking my singing career to the next level. My husband and I came up with the idea of making the CD, and we decided to make it a family affair. Our daughter Allison who plays Lizzie on Guiding Light added her lovely voice to some of the selections along with my husband,” Julia says. “When we started this project, our five year old dog, Nell was diagnosed with cancer and she died during the production of the CD.” Julia decided to dedicate the project to her beloved dog and hopes the music will inspire and touch those listening to the songs. “When we lost Nell it was heartbreaking and we as a family had to work through the mourning process.” For anyone dealing with the loss of a pet, Julia says what helped her family to get through it was remembering the happy moments shared with Nell, talking to friends, looking at photos and even adding other animal companions to the family.
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