I recently spoke with Crystal about her beloved Charlie, her lifelong love of dogs, her animal rescue and awareness work, and how a blind comedian and his guide dog might get an invite to the Playboy Mansion. (Okay, so I didn’t really ask that last one, but now as I write this, I’m wondering why not.)
Dogster: When did your love affair with dogs begin?
Crystal Hefner: Probably as a little kid. We always had dogs, as I was allergic to cats. We were fortunate to have dogs that had puppies. I had a few rescue that were mixes. One was a (Raggle) Beagle–Rat Terrier and Dachshund mix, and another was a Shih Tzu mix. We mostly had smaller dogs never a larger one.
What did you love most about having dogs as a child?
I love the fact that they are so loyal and always in a good mood. People aren’t always like that.
Tell us a little about Charlie.
He’s the most adorable dog. He was a gift to me from Hef five years ago. Hef has had many dogs throughout his life, but he’s never loved any of them as much as Charlie. Charlie really has a strong personality. He really likes to bark at dogs on TV. Actually he will bark at dogs, horses, and goats. Anything that resembles a dog. It’s pretty funny. We have movie night at the (Playboy) Mansion, and the guests always get a kick out of Charlie barking at the screen.
What’s life like at the Playboy Mansion for Charlie?
It’s pretty great. He definitely knows this is his home. Most days he sleeps in later than we do. King Charles Spaniels can be a little lazy, but we love that about him.
I think he really enjoys the property, it’s so pretty, and there are wild birds, peacocks, African cranes, even wild cats — we’re not really sure where they came from — and Charlie gets along with them all very well.
I’ve heard about the amazing parties at the Playboy Mansion. Does Charlie get to attend them?
Oh, yes. He was with me at this past year’s New Year Eve’s party. He gets to roam around and doesn’t have to be on a leash at home. He follows me around as he likes to be close to me, and even joined me in the D.J. booth at the party.
How did Charlie end up being on the cover of Playboy? Does Charlie get to meet the Playmates?
Actually, it was unintentional [laughs]. It was the July 2011 cover. It was being photographed and Charlie just jumped in to the shot, and they like it so much they went with it.
When the girls come in for testing, Charlie will be roaming around the house. Some of them Charlie takes to immediately. He is a good judge of character. I think he likes a lot of the Playmates. A lot of them are nervous as it is their first time at the Mansion, but Charlie makes them feel right at home. Charlie probably has no idea how good he has it, and that he is the envy of every guy out there.
Besides being on the cover of Playboy, where else has Charlie been?
He rode on the float in this year’s Rose Bowl parade with me. That was a lot of fun. He pretty much goes everywhere with me. And of course Charlie was at our wedding, and even wore a little tuxedo.
Talk a little about your animal advocacy work.
I work closely with Pets 90210. We help with animal adoptions, and find a lot of dogs homes. We do a lot of adoption events, we host adoption events in parks around Los Angeles and will go to different shelters and have them put on discount adoption days. We also help raise awareness about good healthy pet care.
One fun thing we were recently involved with was we had some of the shelters ride on a float in the Rose Bowl parade with Brandon McMillan from the CBS show Lucky Dog to show off some of their rescued dogs. All of the dogs were adopted immediately. It was very satisfying work.
Did I hear that you are launching a clothing line?
I’m launching a loungewear line on the Home Shopping network with comedian Rhonda Shearer. Rhonda created an empire in lingerie loungewear, and what’s more comfortable to wear when relaxing with your dog than loungewear?
I imagine you have been in a lot of beauty pageants throughout your life. Would you ever consider judging a dog show?
Definitely — that would be fun. I love dog shows and watched part of the Puppy Bowl. We had Charlie dressed up in a referee uniform for the Super Bowl. Charlie doesn’t mind getting dressed up. He likes the extra attention it gets him!
What’s the best part of having Charlie in your life?
Definitely the happiness Charlie brings me. Charlie is always so happy to see me — that’s our dog’s greatest gift to us.
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About the author: Brian Fischler is a standup comedian and writer. He has been seen on The Today Show, published in Maxim Magazine as the Comedian of the Month, and on Top Gear USA on The History Channel. Along with writing for Dogster, Brian also writes for Cesar Milan’s website and magazine. Brian also runs Laugh For Sight, a bicoastal comedy benefit featuring the biggest names in comedy that come together to raise money and awareness for retinal degenerative eye disease research. You can connect with Brian on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @Blindgator.