Amy Anderson wears a lot of hats. She’s a successful stand-up comedian, musician, actress, writer, YouTuber, mother, and dog lover. When she’s not appearing at comedy clubs and colleges all over America or working on TV and online projects, Amy’s chauffeuring around her six-year-old daughter, actress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who you might recognize as “Lily” from ABC’s hit sitcom Modern Family.
Korean-born Anderson was adopted by a Swedish couple and raised in Minnesota. Coincidentally, her daughter, Aubrey, plays a Vietnamese-born child adopted by a homosexual American couple on Modern Family.
Amy and Aubrey are huge dog lovers, and while Amy grew up with Bridget, a “big, goofy Irish Setter,” Aubrey is sharing her childhood in southern California with a Chihuahua named Bob Barker and Pismo, a mixed breed.
I recently chatted with Amy and Aubrey about all things dog (including why she named her female Chihuahua Bob Barker).
Dogster: Hi, Amy! I see that you worked as a professional dog walker for a little while. How did that come about, and do you have any stories to share about your experience?
Amy: I ran my own pet care service in Minneapolis in the ’90s called Amy’s Pet Pals. It was an in-home pet care and dog walking service. I did it part-time so I could pursue my comedy and acting with flexible hours, and it was a great time in my life. I had hundreds of clients in the metro area — mostly dogs, but everything else, too, including cats, birds, lizards, rats, fish, iguanas, guinea pigs, snakes … you name it! I love them all. I once had a client who bred fancy rats and she had over 50 rats.
OK, Bob Barker — when did you get her, and how did you come up with that name? And even though it’s not polite to ask a lady, could you tell me her age and weight, please?
I’ve had Bob Barker since she was a pup. She’s eight years old now and weighs in at six pounds. Don’t tell her I told you, but she put on a few ounces over the last couple of years! I always thought Bob Barker would be a funny name for a dog and when I got her, I knew it was a great match. I didn’t care that she’s a girl. I love it because it makes people laugh!
How is traveling with Bob Barker? Is she a seasoned traveler, or does she prefer to stay back at home when you are away?
Nowadays, she and our other dog, Pismo, stay at home with a dog/house sitter who they love very much. She spoils them. But Bob has been on a few trips with me and she does really well. She’s very easygoing. Pismo would be tougher [to travel with] because he has some marking issues, so … men. Sheesh.
Do you support or are you directly involved in any animal associations/rescue groups?
Not directly associated, but we did get a new dog from a local rescue. Not a big organization, just a couple of women who bust their tails to help these sweet dogs.
It’s wonderful that you adopted! Can you tell us about the new addition to your pack?
Our new dog is Pismo. He’s estimated to be around 1.5 years old and probably a Lhasa Apso/terrier mix. He’s ADORABLE! He came from a local rescue and was relinquished by his previous owners because they came under difficult financial times that left their housing situation up in the air. They were very kind and loving to him, so he’s a total sweetheart, but unfortunately, they weren’t educated and responsible pet owners. They didn’t train him and bred him with a female Chihuahua they also gave up, and there were five puppies at the time we got Pismo. The rescuers begged me to take a puppy, but I just couldn’t do three dogs! I was glad to hear they were all placed in homes though, even the mommy.
What’s up next for you, Aubrey, and your dogs?
We are currently enjoying the summer! Aubrey just finished kindergarten this week, and Modern Family doesn’t start up until August so we have fun on the agenda! The dogs will certainly get more walks now and more tummy rubs. They are also both sun worshippers, so I know they are happy campers in the summer!
I also had some questions specifically for Aubrey, which Amy didn’t mind transcribing for me:
Dogster: What do you like most about Bob Barker and Pismo?
Aubrey: She is so cute and soft, and I like watching her wrestle with Pismo. Pismo has the cutest hair!
Is there something they do that you don’t like?
Sometimes they bite me, but not hard, and they have bad breath!
Do the dogs sleep with you in your bed at night or do they have their own little beds?
They usually sleep with my mom because she doesn’t want them to wake me up too early in the morning, but I wish they could sleep with me.
Do you prefer big dogs or little dogs in general?
I like all dogs.
Do you think that your TV family (Lily and her daddies) should get a dog? What kind would you like and what do you think they should name him/her?
I don’t know!
[Since Aubrey didn’t have any ideas, I thought I’d chime in on this one. I’d love to see Lily’s dads adopt a shelter dog and name him Fizbo in homage to Cam’s (Eric Stonestreet) clown persona.]
What is the real name of the French Bulldog who plays Stella on Modern Family? Is she a nice dog and do you play with her a lot during filming? Do you have any stories about her?
Her name is Beatrice and she’s very nice, but I don’t get to be with her very much because she is on different days usually.
Amy adds: She [Aubrey] had a scene in the Christmas episode of season three where Stella was supposed to lick Lily’s nose, but Aubrey couldn’t do it because they wanted her to put a dab of dog food on her nose and it was grossing her out too much! They just had Stella sniffing around instead.
A special thanks to Amy Anderson and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons for taking the time to answer my questions. Big belly rubs for Bob Barker and Pismo!
To know when and where Amy is appearing next (and to see more cute pics of her dogs), check out amyanderson.net. Aubrey will return as Lily on season five of Modern Family starting next fall.
About Crystal Gibson: A child-sized Canadian expat in France who is fluent in French and sarcasm. Owned by a neurotic Doxie mix, a Garfield look-alike, and two needy Sphynx cats. An aspiring writer and pet photographer with a love of coffee and distaste for French administration, she can be found blogging over at Crystal Goes to Europe.
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