Ah, the Life of a Celebrity (Dog)

Read an excerpt from A Famous Dog's Life, by Sue Chipperton and Rennie Dyball

Part celebrity bio, part Hollywood tell-all, the story of Gidget -- a Chihuahua best known for her work in Taco Bell commercials and the movie Legally Blonde, alongside Reese Witherspoon (who penned the forward) -- not only sheds light on the career of a celebrity dog trainer, but also offers advice on how to apply certain techniques to less famous (but no less loved) pets. Excerpted from A Famous Dog’s Life by Sue Chipperton and Rennie Dyball; printed with permission from NAL, a division of Penguin Group, USA.

It was while we were in Manhattan that Gidget also developed two of her funniest habits. By this point, we’d spent a lot of time in hotels, and Gidget developed a behavior that the other trainers and I jokingly called “mad dog.”

Gidget’s absolute favorite thing to do in a hotel was to run at top speed down a hallway. If there was a really long, carpeted hallway on our floor, I’d put her on the floor and take off her leash. Then I’d do a little play jump in her direction to get her excited, and she’d bow her little head down at me in response. Then, before you could blink your eye, she would take off and run as fast as her legs would carry her down the hallway. She’d do this over and over, running laps around the hall. The dog would just fly. You see this kind of thing all the time in dog parks. One dog will take off running, hunkered down with his back legs seemingly churning faster than the front, jackrabbit-like, as he tears around in a circle. It’s a small moment of delighted madness. Hence, mad dog! It became a never-fail habit anytime we were in a hotel, and it always cracked me up to think about people in their hotel rooms, wondering what that crazy pitter-pat sound coming from the hallway could possibly be.

With all the commuting from airports to hotels, hotels to sets, sets to hotels, and hotels back to airports, the production company would send limos -- Lincoln Town Cars, usually -- with private drivers to shuttle us around. So Gidget became quite accustomed to this mode of transportation. In Manhattan, there are usually a slew of limos sitting outside of the bigger hotels. And when a doorman would open the passenger door of one of them, Gidget would start pulling to get over there.

Ah, yes, there’s my ride. Come on, Mom, let’s go!

It was really very cute.

In fact, she got so used to walking out of lobbies and hopping into limos that she seemed to eschew other modes of travel. Every now and again we’d have a little downtime to go sightseeing while on location, and the last day of shooting in Manhattan was one of those times. So another trainer and I headed out of the hotel with Gidget at my side. We walked over to the doorman hailing cabs, and there was Gidget -- trying her best to haul me in the other direction toward an open limo door. My fellow trainer and I doubled over laughing.

“Um, Gidget, we’re taking a cab, not the limo!”

But Gidget thought every Town Car was hers and she needed to get in it. It’s a funny behavior to have attached to your dog: friendly, outgoing, gets on well with other dogs, loves the sun . . . and prefers limos.

Pick up a copy of A Famous Dog’s Life by Sue Chipperton and Rennie Dyball.

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