This week, famous actress Dame Elizabeth Taylor passed away at the age of 79. Dame Elizabeth was known as an Oscar winner and symbol of Hollywood beauty and talent who endured many illnesses, personal losses and injuries during her life. She was an AIDS activist at a time when most celebrities were distancing themselves from the disease and its impacts.
But did you know that Elizabeth Taylor was also a dog lover?
In the 1960s, when Ms Taylor was married to Richard Burton, she stayed on a yacht on the Thames River with her dogs to avoid the UK’s anti-rabies quarantine laws – because the dogs never stepped onto land, they were saved from quarantine.
For her 60th birthday, the then Ms Taylor was given a Collie puppy as a gift. The puppy was a great grandchild of Pal, the dog who starred as the original Lassie. When Ms Taylor divorced her husband Larry Fortensky, she sued him for custody of the dog.
Ms Taylor reportedly balked at accepting her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth in 1999 when she learned that her Maltese, Sugar, would have to be left at home. (she reconsidered)
In recent years, Dame Elizabeth owned a Maltese named Daisy, whose every need was catered for (hey- Dame Elizabeth and I have something in common!). She would watch the television shopping channel with Daisy and show the dog different pieces of her jewelry, telling her the story behind each piece. Referring to her relationship with Daisy, she’s was reported to have said, “Sometimes I think there is a person in there.”
Talking about her film career, Dame Elizabeth said, “Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses” – referring to her early roles in Lassie Come Home and National Velvet.
Rest in peace, Dame Elizabeth.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand