Kelly Osbourne on Traveling, Family and Her Emotional-Support Dog
Kelly Osbourne lives an active lifestyle. Between her various television gigs, clothing lines and charitable endeavors, the actress is always on the go. Living the Hollywood life requires hopping on airplanes, networking with fans and doing countless interviews, all of which can be overwhelming to the star. That’s when Osbourne looks to her emotional support dog, Polly. The tiny Pomeranian, who entered her life two years ago, has completely changed the 32-year-old’s world.
“I have a fear of flying. I also have social anxieties,” she admits. “If I can put my attention onto her, it really minimizes it. The most stressful situations can be going on and you just look at her and she just makes everything better.”
So whenever she hits the road for work, Osbourne brings her pup along for the ride. And one thing that’s made traveling with Polly dog easier is the discovery of the HotelTonight app, which she uses to search for pet-friendly hotels and is a spokesperson for.
“Knowing that I can check into hotels and it’s not going to be a problem to bring her is to great,” Osbourne says. “Even when I have her service dog license, sometimes they still give you a hard time. I’ve had to sneak her in before – put her in my handbag and I’m like, ‘Polly shush!’”
PawCulture caught up with Osbourne in Los Angeles to discuss the unconditional love she has for her dogs, the family’s tips for keeping their pets safe from wildlife and teaching her pup to wear booties for an upcoming trip to the snow.
Pet Central: Tell us about your pups.
Kelly Osbourne: I’ve got two now—Sid and Polly. They are Pomeranians. Sid I got for my 25th birthday and he was the best present I was ever given in my life. He is like my little king. He sleeps on the big pillow right next to me. I’m the only one he’ll let touch; he attacks everyone else (laughs). He’s so gorgeous. And then I’ve got my little princess Polly and Polly is a service dog.
I didn’t believe in emotional support dogs, I just thought it was something that fancy people got so that they could take their dogs everywhere with them. But it was suggested to me by a therapist and I thought, “I’ll try it” and she changed my life. Today, I was leaving my apartment and I thought, “We’re going to a TV studio. We’ve got interview after interview after interview. I’m just going to leave her at home.” And all I’ve been thinking about all day [wondering], “Is Polly OK? Did I leave enough food out for her? How long until I can get back to her?” It’s weird with her not being next to me because I’m so used to her being right there with me all the time.
PC: In what ways has having Polly changed your life?
KO: I don’t know how to live without her now. I have a fear of flying. I’ve been on a few emergency-landing planes that were terrifying. I also have social anxieties and if I can put my attention onto her, it really minimizes it and makes it easier. The most stressful situations can be going on and you just look at her and she just makes everything better.
She’s a rare breed of dog anyway. I think that she’s mixed with like squirrel and rabbit and a bit of angel. I don’t understand how she can hop the way that she does. She’s got such a personality in that when she looks at you, you know you can tell what she’s thinking. And when she’s mad at you, she lets you know. She’ll go and pee in one of my stilettos and I’m like, “Oh you little shit. Fine! Sorry I didn’t take you on your daily walk at 4:00!”
PC: What was Polly’s training program to become a service dog like?
KO: I got her and had her trained for that. She worked with this amazing guy Chris. [Her training included] all different things. You don’t say it with words because you don’t realize you say “Yes,” “No,” “Stop,” “Stay,” when you are having a normal conversation anyway so it confuses dogs. So everything is hand signals. She does this thing where we touch noses and that’s how she keeps me calm. He taught her how to do it but, I had to keep up the practice. She’s just the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
If I can put my attention onto [Polly], it really minimizes it and makes it easier. The most stressful situations can be going on and you just look at her and she just makes everything better.
PC: Do you take your dogs on all your travels?
KO: Well, I’m more of an emotional support to Sid than he is to me. He has a bit of a nervous breakdown on airplanes, so I don’t ever want to put him through the stress. He really loves my mom and dad so when I travel, he stays with them. But Polly is really great and comes everywhere. She is so small and it’s a lot easier. But because I’m a little terrified as flying, it really helps me with that.
[When I travel] the craziest things can be going on. You never know who you are going to get or who you are going to meet or what shit storm is going to brew. And if I just take five minutes and spend it focused on my dog, it can calm me down so much and take me out of my bad mood and the awful situation. Then I can just get back to work with a smile on my face and the day goes way smoother. I never thought I could love anything more that’s not human than I do my two dogs. I always used to say to my mom, “You love Minnie [Sharon Osbourne’s dog] more than you love us.” And now my dog is like Minnie! They are like my babies.
PC: What essentials do you bring when you travel with Polly?
KO: I always make sure that I have pee mats just in case because I don’t want to get charged for the carpet. A lot of dog-friendly hotels nowadays will provide you with a bed and dog bowls and they even have dog food menus on the actual room service menu, which is incredible. I won’t let them do it because I don’t trust anyone with my dog but me, but they will walk your dog for you, which is unreal. And they’ll even have poop bags, biodegradable ones in the hotel. The doorman will hand it to you as you leave. It’s just unreal. I feel like it’s France in the 1940’s. You can take your dog anywhere with you. It’s great. It makes you feel more at home.
PC: Minnie was from “The Osbournes” era. Does your family still have a ton of dogs?
KO: We can’t talk about “The Osbournes” dogs because they’ve all sadly passed since. We have urns in the house of all the dogs. You cannot say “Minnie” to my mom; she will cry. Our dogs are our lives. We are such animal lovers. It’s crazy! Anyone who has a rescue or anyone who needs help, we’re like, “We’ll take it.”
PC: And then you end up keeping them?
KO: Well that as the mistake we made in the beginning. But you can’t have too many dogs. Some dogs just need one owner and they deserve that love and attention. And you can’t be selfish. You have to find that one person for them. We have one rescue right now but my brother has fallen in love with him. And because he’s so good with my nieces, he’s going to go with them. But right now, it’s just Rocky and Bella. We had one dog that we rescued, chipped, found a home for, and then all of a sudden, the family didn’t want it anymore, left the dog, and the dog came back to us. So we have little Alfie and he’s amazing. And Charlie. And that’s the lowest amount of dogs I think we’ve ever had at my parent’s house!
PC: And your dogs fit in with that clan?
KO: Polly thinks she is a Rottweiler and is in charge of everybody and bosses them all around. I’m like, “Polly, you’re going to get bit. You need to calm yourself down. You can’t be mean to other dogs.”
PC: When the family gets together for a big gathering, are there just dogs everywhere?
KO: If we’re in LA, yes! We’ve got my brothers dogs, my dogs, my family’s dogs, whatever dog we are rescuing and getting better to find a new home for. And we’ve got cats now. And our cats act like dogs and they get along with our dogs. So Polly and Sid are really good with Mo and Tiger Lilly [the family cats].
One day I came back to my parent’s house and there was this huge cage being built. My mom had it build because there are so many eagles and hawks and coyotes. So when the cats can go outside they have a huge enclosure to play in and nothing can get to them. We’ve lost so many animals to hawks and coyotes. It’s crazy.
One time when we lived in Hidden Hills this bird picked up one of the dogs—it’s wingspan must have been well over eight feet. Me and someone who was working at our house ran over and grabbed the dog. We had to jump. We got the dog back, but she had claw marks on her. We had to rush her straight to the vet. Another time, one got bit by a rattlesnake. I got her to the vet just in time to get the anti venom. So that was one of the reasons why we were like, “OK. We need to go places where there are no snakes, no hawks, no coyotes.”
We are such animal lovers. It’s crazy! Anyone who has a rescue or anyone who needs help, we’re like, “We’ll take it.”
PC: So your apartment dogs are pretty safe then?
KO: Yeah! My apartment dogs are very safe. But it does make me wish that I did have more space. But it also is better for me because it makes me more active. Because you do have to go out and walk. I make my dog park friends. I’m a nerd like that.
PC: You’re super into fashion. Do you dress up your dogs?
KO: I don’t believe in doing that to animals if they don’t like it. Polly is a diva so she loves it. And then she’ll do her little prance around. It’s her prance of pride. She has a few little outfits that she likes to wear. She’s just experienced cold weather for the first time.
I’m trying to get her used to wearing snow booties because when she was walking on the concrete in the cold in New York at Thanksgiving, she was walking like she had stiletto heels on each paw. And I’m like, “Oh you poor thing.” So now I’m trying to get her used to wearing the snow booties and a warmer jacket. So it’s a gradual thing so she doesn’t get overwhelmed because she’s never worn anything like that, but she’s going to need it. We’re working on it for about a half hour a day. She’s now sleeping on a winter coat so she’s getting used to it. We’ve spent the last few years in summer weather so it’s her first time.
I remember the first time I took her to the beach; she was obsessed with the sand and she couldn’t get over it. But she’s never experienced snow so I don’t know what she’s going to do. It’s probably going to be really funny.
Images: courtesy HotelTonight
Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, energetic Doberman, and rat terrier.