cavalier king charles spaniel

My Fur Baby

Years ago, when I was early in my pregnancy with my twins, I remember my aunt pulling me aside and saying that as much as I loved my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Barclay, I would love my children so much more. Well, once they were born I realized that I loved my precious Barclay the same way that I loved Emma and Jack. Barclay, and now Violet, have brought such joy and love to my life and they are part of the family. When the twins were little and in their stroller, Barclay was extremely protective and would go off like an alarm to keep strangers away from them. When we lived in our Upper West Side apartment, if the twins went anywhere near the kitchen, Barclay always barked to let me know. As they got older, his protective instincts continued to sharpen and from snuggling when they were upset to loving and training our precious Violet, living with dogs is one of my greatest joys. Over the years, I have watched my elderly grandparents smile with joy as they held my dogs. I have savored every second watching Violet and Barclay gently kiss and play with my nieces and nephews, always careful not to be too rough. My own twins have such a special bond with their “doggy brother and sister.” There is a reason why so many folks, from producers to professional voiceover actors have animals in our studios: our furry friends enhance the quality of our day and because we, as artists are happy, these animals ultimately ensure a quality finished product.

The Snuggles Help

As a solopreneur, full-time professional voiceover actor, I can get lost in my work. Having such a precious, happy, calm girl by my side is a blessing as Violet, a now five year-old Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is always with me in my studio. There has been a lot of scientific research about the calming effect of canines. A great article in Frontiers in Psychology in 2014  they explain“Dogs are known to have stress and anxiety reducing effects. Several studies have shown that dogs are able to calm people during cognitive and performance stressors.” For me, by having Violet by my side in my recording booth, I can leave my every day stress outside my booth, and concentrate on the script in front of me. Whether I am working on a new audition or a booking, it is a benefit to be calm and composed so that I can be present in the moment. The only time that I do not have Violet in the booth is when I have a live session via ipDTL, Source Connect, or ISDN. It would be terrible to have the audio ruined because she yawns or shakes her collar!

I Work In a Padded Foam Booth…

I LOVE my work, but spending hours a day working in a padded foam booth may not be as fun as it sounds, so having a precious furry friend inside is really nice.  I have made my booth as pleasant and comfortable as a gal can make a booth, but it is so nice to have Violet with me. She has a double layer cozy bed and a fe quiet toys. She occasionally kisses my leg at random. She also sporadically gets up and rearranges all of her belongings. It is very precious. I always record standing up because it is really important for the sound quality. I regularly have very long eLearning sessions. Every now in then, if I am editing a lengthy eLearning project, I sit on the stool in my booth. The very second I sit down, Violet wants to sit on my lap. She is, after all, a lap dog.

Violet is Part of My Healthy Life Plan

As a working voiceover actor, leading a healthy lifestyle is extremely important to my success. My voice is my instrument, so fitness and food choices very much effect my voice. In addition to pilates, I love taking walks with Violet. In fact, Violet is a great wellness companion, she does it all with me. Apparently this is extremely common. In Science Direct, in an article called “ Understanding dog–human companionship”,  “pet owners, particularly dog owners, are more physically active than non-pet owners.” I also want to do as much as I can for Violet so that she lives a long and happy life, so that is incentive for me as well.

The Benefits

My dog, my precious Violet, keeps me happy and calm. Having this special girl to share my days with is not a gift that goes unappreciated. Her gestures, her adorable sounds, her sweet snuggles- all are noticed and loved and adored. They also all feed my soul as both Violet and Barclay are a childhood dream come true. Vi, in turn, fuels the success of my voiceover career, another dream, and I know that so much of the success is because of the happiness that she brings. As the great Elizabeth Taylor said: “Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”