7 Famous People Tell Us What They Wish They’d Known Before Owning a Dog

On Friday, celebrities, influencers, animal enthusiasts and of course, dogs came out to show their support for The Humane Society of the United States “To the Rescue! 2015 New York Gala.”   

Held at the beautiful Cipriani in Manhattan, high-profile guests that walked the red carpet included Jon Bernthal (Wolf of Wall Street, Walking Dead), Theo Rossi (FX’s Sons of Anarchy), Prince Lorenzo Borghese (ABC’s The Bachelor), Jill Rappaport (journalist and author) Joan Jett (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts), Jane Velez Mitchell (journalist), Allie Rizzo (model), Ariana Rockefeller (designer) and Katie Sturino and @ToastMeetsWorld (Instagram star).

Image credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Humane Society
Image credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Humane Society

Related: Toast Meets the Real Griswolds

“This organization is so unbelievable. They’re the ones that make the difference with the legislation,” said Rappaport. “If we didn’t have this organization, we wouldn’t be seeing what we are seeing. I feel very honored to be with a group like this and support them.”

Huston was among those honored by The Humane Society for her support and dedication to the organization’s various causes including, ending the ivory trade, protecting great apes and chimpanzees from exploitation and abuse by the entertainment industry and stopping elephant and rhino poaching.

Image credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Humane Society
Actresses Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing Image credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Humane Society

“Part of what is lovely about being honored for something like this is it’s something we can all throw our hearts in the ring for,” Huston tells us. “Being honored for my work with animals and with The Humane Society the award is in the work. And whenever I hear positive results…my heart soars; that is the real award.”

With so many animal lovers at one event, we posed the question to a few of them, “What do you wish you knew before welcoming a dog into your life.”  The answers ran the gamut – everything from advice to how a pup changed their life to how they view the world differently were shared.
Here are a few of our favorites:

1. They make us human.

Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS
Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS

“They change everybody’s life. The way you deal with an animal is what makes you a human being,” the actor, who has two dogs named Jenny and Lily, told us. “For the most part, so you get somebody a creature that loves and protects and comforts and empathizes with; they know what you are doing and so you get a chance to do that with something that is completely different than you.  And if you can do that with a dog, you can that with anybody. We are all the same; we are all in that much need.”

— Actor James Cromwell, who has dogs Lily and Jenny

2. They are a gateway drug.

Image credit Geoffrey Woodcock
Image credit Geoffrey Woodcock

“If you love dogs, you should love pigs and you should love cows and chickens. I think it is connected to dogs. We love dogs. Dogs are the gateway drug to animal rights.”

— Journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell, who has three dogs: Cabo San Lucas, Foxy and Little Rico.

3. Rescue dogs make the best dogs.

Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS
Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS

I am the proud mom of six rescue dogs and rescue has been my oxygen since I could remember.

People need to understand rescue, shelter animals are not damaged goods. Some people have this misconception that if they are in a shelter, there is something wrong with them. It’s their situation that is wrong. They were either dumped because the owner couldn’t take care of the, they could have lost their job, they couldn’t afford it but they are there, no fault to their own. I think they are the best animals in the world, and when you save them, what a gift.

— Journalist and author Jill Rappaport, who has six dogs at home: CJ, Ruby, Buckaroo, Sweet Pea, Petey and Stanley.

4. Introduce children to dogs

Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS
Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS

I have never been bitten by a dog and have had dogs since I was two years old. My advice to people with small children is let them get used to animals early, get them familiar with animals, because they will always have friends, they will always relate to the animal world and nature. I think you have to be vigilante, but at the same time encourage your child to pet dogs.

— Actress Anjelica Huston, who has two dogs Mecha and Pootie

Related: 8 Stars Tell Us How Having a Dog Changed Their Life

5. Respect their uniqueness.

Someone said something to me that I didn’t understand before I had dogs, which was that dogs have personalities and that you have to account for their personalities in their lives. They are going to do their thing.

Image via Geoffrey Woodcock
Image via Geoffrey Woodcock

–Publicist Katie Sturino, mom to Instagram dog Toast Meets World

6. Pet stores are a big no.

Image via Geoffrey Woodcock
Image via Geoffrey Woodcock

My first dog was from a pet store. It was when I was 18, and I just didn’t know any better. I have always loved animals, and I just think that was a really good experience to have because listen, I am not better than anybody else who doesn’t adopt dogs; it was purely that I didn’t know better. I think most people that know better won’t do it. I love my dog.  She is still alive and part of my family but all my other dogs have been rescues and would never not have a rescue dog. I think I would have told myself not to go to pet stores to know that sooner. That is something that made me learn.

–Georgina Bloomberg, animal activist, dog rescuer, equestrian and daughter of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg 

7. Remember they are with you for the long haul.

Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS
Amy Sussman/AP Images for The HSUS

My  advice is that people have a tendency to really not know what it takes to have an animal and how much time and concern, which is why so many dogs in shelters. Think of it as you are making a commitment to this animal.

— Actress Ali Wenworth, who has two dogs Cooper and Daisy

Related: How Having a Dog Made These Famous People’s Lives Better

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