We Talk to Bitsie Tulloch from "Grimm" About Her Dog, Henry
Grimm, one of the highest-rated TV series, is a cool battle between good and evil. Mixed in with the occult are ghoul-like warrior creatures. It’s not unusual to see a French Bulldog named Henry in the makeup chair behind the scenes instead of his owner, one of the stars of the show, Bitsie Tulloch. No, the canine isn’t part of the cast, but he is certainly the hub of Bitsie’s life.
Bitsie, who plays Juliette Silverton -- a perfect name for her character, since she’s the love interest to lead Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) -- constantly finds herself in the thick of things not only with supernatural forces, but also with various crime cases Burkhardt takes on as a detective.
There’s a certain magnetic quality Bitsie projects in her performance that’s mysterious, sweet, and smart. As an actress, she’s got a solid resume of TV and film credits, including the role of Norma in the critically acclaimed Oscar-winning movie The Artist. On the horizon for release next year is Bitsie’s new film, The Take, and most recently we've seen the DVD release of Parkland, a JFK assassination movie also starring Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, and Zac Efron.
Upon hearing Henry was recovering from a recent stroke, we, along with a mega-count of fans, wanted to see how he was doing and to know more about this brave little guy and his mom. Much like her TV character, Bitsie is warm and caring, and she has a heart of gold.
Dogster: First of all, how did you come up with Henry’s name?
Bitsie: No special reason, other than that I always wanted a French bulldog named Henry. But in my mind I wanted what I call a "bread loaf" Frenchie -- the little chubby cream-colored ones. But when I started looking, I saw a photo of baby Henry and immediately knew he was my dog.
Awww. Love at first sight. Being on location can be tough. Does Henry help with any emotional support?
Sometimes I get lonely, especially being on location and away from all my friends and family in Southern California, but Henry is always with me. He comes to work with me every day, has a sweet setup in my trailer, and I visit him in between scenes. The crew loves him -- sometimes I'll go back to my trailer and he isn't there because he's been kidnapped by the wardrobe girls or transpo because they love to play with him.
Having a dog has changed my life -- I always say it's the best training for someone who is considering having a child. I raised Henry from the time he was eight weeks old. It's felt at times like as much work as having a baby, especially recently after he suffered his fibrocartilaginous embolism.
Were there any warning signs Henry had prior to the stroke?
There were few warning signs other than that day he was looking pretty weak and didn't want to go outside to play or go for a walk -- Frenchies are incredibly playful and have a ton of energy so that was unusual.
What physical therapy is he going through?
A ton! In the beginning he was going to physical therapy three to four times a week. Now we are down to two days a week. He gets acupuncture, hydrotherapy, underwater treadmill, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), etc.
He was completely paralyzed from the waist down for a month, and he slowly regained feeling in his legs. He was in diapers, and I had to manually express his bladder and bowels a few times a day -- that's true love! His back right leg is still very weak. He loves his physical therapists at Back on Track Rehab in Portland, and seems to be aware that everything they're doing is helping him.
That’s fabulous! Special diet?
When I first got Henry I had him on just regular dry foods from the pet store but later learned he has quite a few food allergies (he was farting waaaay too much), so for the last three years he has been on a very strict hypoallergenic diet. Royal Canin makes a great dry food that's hypoallergenic, and I sprinkle Welactin fish oil on it for his coat. No more farting, and no allergies and a beautiful coat.
Is he a very social dog?
He's very friendly with people and dogs, and super playful. The one thing that's bad about him is he's stubborn and likes to hoard toys -- even other dogs' toys. He is (or was, before the stroke) incredibly fast and muscular, and could usually outrun even the bigger dogs. In Henry's point of view, if he gets to the ball before they do, it's his. It's totally embarrassing sometimes at the dog park and I'm constantly running after him so I can get the balls back to the owners.
I've always loved animals. My first animal was a beautiful black Lab named Bubba, who we had when we lived in Argentina. Then in the U.S. we had lots of cats -- Blanco, Malo, Lobita, Bueno, Enrique (my family speaks Spanish so they all had Spanish names). I also had two chinchillas named Cheech and Chong. And my sister and I had hamsters -- my fat one was named Gus Gus and her little one was Pedrito. But Henry has been a different story because he was my first pet as an adult, who I raised practically from birth, who I'm solely responsible for. So to me he feels more like family than just a pet.
Are there animal organizations you support?
Animal Welfare Institute, Friends of Animals, and PAWS are great charities and also score very high on Charity Watch (it's important to do your research so you know your money is being used properly).
What do you love to do most with Henry?
I love to play with him and his red laser -- he knows the word "light" and freaks out if he hears it. It's funny because the red laser is a cat toy, but some dogs go crazy chasing it. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen. He likes to race the laser up and down the hallways. Most of the time I let him win, but not always. Henry is all personality. I find the breed in general to be quite compelling -- they are playful little clowns but also very observant and smart. Henry is a lot like me; he's stubborn and sassy but super friendly and loving.
What’s been the most difficult challenge?
Coming home Dec. 4, 2013, to find him hyperventilating, shaking with fear, and paralyzed from the waist down. He had suffered his FCE (spinal cord stroke) while I was out at a concert. So that night, and then the month after that when he was in bad shape, were the hardest.
Do you travel together?
I don't like to put him on airplanes because he is brachycephalic, but when he does he sits on the plane with me to alleviate any fear and any danger of the temperature not being controlled in cargo, etc. When I go down to Los Angeles for hiatus, we drive. Henry loves car rides.
Favorite place to go?
Henry loves to go to the beach. So even though he gets covered in sand and smells like seaweed for what seems like weeks, I take him to the dog beach when we are down in Southern California. He loves any kind of water --- he always attacks hoses and barks at fountains.
Any pointers for people and their pets on care or nutrition?
Be mindful of your pet, and research the breed to see if certain dogs are prone to allergies, etc. Because I've been fortunate enough to be able to bring Henry to work with me, I spend a ton of time with him -- he's basically almost always with me. So I'm very sensitive to any changes in his mood or appetite, and I am probably overly cautious as far as getting him to the vet, especially after his FCE.
Do you like to dress Henry up in clothes or holiday costumes?
Not really, because he hates it. I might put him in something for a minute to get a picture, but then take it off. The only thing he doesn't have a choice about is his sweater or puffer coat -- he only weighs 27 pounds and the winters are cold here. He would be shivering without it.
Tell us about working on Grimm. Are you very much like your character, Juliette Silverton?
One of the reasons I always loved Juliette's character is that she's the only one who's not a cop and not Wesen, so her eyes are the ones the writers use to view the Wesen world from the POV of a "normal person." I think that balance is pretty important to have on a fantasy/genre show to ground everyone in some semblance of reality.
I love how strong and rational she is -- characteristics that have served her well as she transitions into the "Scooby Squad" to help Nick. She's not easily fazed and I think that's a crucial quality for anyone in Nick's tight inner circle. I'm extremely stubborn and impatient and Juliette has always been so thoughtful and patient with Nick. It's definitely something I've taken into consideration since I started playing the role.
Has Henry appeared in any episodes?
Not yet, but the fans are gunning for it! The fans love Henry -- they have set up Instagram and Twitter pages for him. He is too hyper to have a proper role on the show, but I talked the producers into maybe letting him walk by in the background of a shot.
They must let him at least do that! What do you want readers to know about you that you think they don’t?
I come from a military family on both sides and am proud of it and thankful to anyone who has served or is currently serving in the military.
If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That that all members of the military are respected and taken care of both during and after service, that nobody entering their twilight years has to do so alone and that they can navigate old age with love and laughter, and that nobody ever has to feel lonely or alone, that they feel loved by at least someone (furry friends count!).
About Marina Anderson: Marina is an established actress, professional freelance writer, best-selling author (David Carradine, The Eye Of My Tornado), jewelry designer (The Flying Goddess) and publicist (The Media Hound PR) for clients such as Robby Benson, Ed Begley Jr., and music icon Alan Parsons and Gary U.S. Bonds, to name a few. She is also a personal manager and career and spiritual consultant.
Her film/TV credits include Dexter (opposite Jennifer Carpenter); co-lead in the Emmy-nominated web series Sophie Chase, Law & Order LA, and Desperate Housewives; supporting and guest star roles in Dangerous Curves, Sex & Mrs X (opposite Linda Hamilton), Forever Knight, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (opposite David Carradine); the Genie Award-winning film 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould; and many other productions, national commercials, and voiceovers. Marina’s passion is helping animal rescue organizations. Look for her next book, The Adventures Of Lulu The Collie,which stars her beloved dog, Lulu, daughter to Lassie VIII, and keep up with her work by following her on Facebook.