Q: How do you teach an Armadillo to cross the road?
A: Ask a one-time Hollywood makeup artist turned animal trainer in the entertainment industry.
What prompted the switch from glitter to critter? Kathryn Segura cites her life-long love-affair with animals as the main reason. After twenty years working with some of Tinseltown’s most illustrious stars, she has successfully merged her profession with her passion, and won the acclaim of industry peers.
Today, Segura is involved with two separate agencies, Hollywood Paws, the largest bureau for animal actors in the country, and PHD Animals, which also provides training for novice animal actors. In addition her pet-care company, Take 1: by Kathryn Segura LLC, offers spa treatments for cats, dogs, and horses, including lavender shampoos and conditioners. Segura chose lavender thanks to its many health benefits, mainly as a cure for fleas. On treating orphaned kittens with her products Segura describes, “It not only killed all the fleas, but the kittens calmed down enough to accept a foster mother.”
Her diverse clientele spans the animal encyclopedia from Armadillo to Zebra. On the movie Tin Cup, Segura trained an armadillo to cross the street. She hired Ben, an elephant, to stand up and wave at the camera in a Tom Petty video. She proudly exclaims, “I was able to speak to Ben and he would do everything I asked him, especially for peanuts!”
Through the years, she has worked with the likes of Rod Stewart and Liv Tyler. One career highlight was working with Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz while training Slammer, the Border Terrier who played Puffy in the 1998 hit comedy, There’s Something About Mary. Segura said Slammer excelled in his role, leaping out of open windows and attacking Stiller’s leg in a crucial fight scene. However, she gives most of the credit to the Stiller’s “comedic genius,” since many of the shots were actually filmed without Slammer, using a stuffed dog instead.
If you ever wondered how those movie directors get our furry friends to behave on the silver screen, chances are, Kathryn Segura is behind their success. Her presence on the set keeps the fur from flying! For more information on Take 1: by Kathryn Segura LLC, visit: www.take1products.com.
– Sue Schwartz