Rosie Perez: This Hollywood – And Broadway – Star’s Two Greatest Passions Are Her Pets!

Frankie And Johnny? Nah, Try Raindrops And Sammy!


Rosie Perez and her dogs.
Rosie Perez and her dogs.

Rosie Perez, the beautiful no-nonsense actress with a distinctive New York accent, is best known for her role in White Men Can’t Jump where she played the Jeopardy-obsessed girlfriend of Woody Harrelson. Now she’s on Broadway in Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, a play about two New Yorkers looking for an emotional connection. Love in the big city is tough, but the Brooklyn native has found a lasting emotional connection at home with her pets.

Rosie has a tendency of saving animals from bad situations – she always seems to go for the underdog (or cat). Raindrops, her Pit bull, joined her household unexpectedly one spring. Her nephew had gotten the dog as a tiny baby in order to impress a girl he had met on the subway. Having been taking from its mother prematurely, Rosie says “it was crying and crying and crying.” She recalls, “the dog would sit by the window and try to lick the raindrops as they fell.” Rosie would let her nephew give it to the girl as she says, “I had to keep it. I was worried about the vet’s warning that it would surely have emotional problems.”

And then they’s her cat, Dukey Girl. “This is going to sound really ghetto, and I’m not really ghetto. I was going to college and I couldn’t afford really nice housing, and I lived in the worst apartment building ever. They were all crackheads, and they had this scheme to breed cats. Who breeds cats?”

The actress adopted one of these cat who she called Dukey Girl (the cat breeders thought it was a boy and called it the Duke, “that’s how stupid they were” says Rosie). “I had her for over 12 years. I buried her in my backyard.”

While mourning the cat, Rosie began going over her neighbor’s house and met their dog, who was obviously being mistreated – beaten and abused. Rosie could not stand it. She recalls “I told the neighbor that I’m going to take Sammy for a walk and she said, ‘you are not going to take it back are you?’ and I said ‘no, I’m sorry.’ And I hid out for two weeks, I was afraid it was going to be a big fight.” Well the big fight never happened and the little spaniel named Sammy found a loving home with Rosie and her husband at the time. Worried because the dog had been traumatized so much, she had to be very careful with others around him.

But the dog clearly associated Rosie with kindness and love and never acted out against her. Sammy paid Rosie’s kindness back when her aunt who had raised her passed away. “I was in severe depression. That was the first time in my life, there was no joy. The dog licked my tears every time I cried. The he started sleeping under the covers with me.” Rosie believes strongly that the dog new she needed comfort just as Sammy did when she adopted him. “I just really think people don’t give credit to animals’ emotional intelligence.”

Rosie is single and finds the dogs a slight impediment to her dating. Sammy has a tendency to growl as prospective dates. She remembered one guy who wanted to spend the night. “I said, ‘I don’t think you should spend the night because of the kids.’ He said, ‘I didn’t know you had kids.’ And I said, ‘no I mean the dogs!’”

By Natasha Black

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