When your dog is as famous as you… an interview with actress Alex Rose Wiesel

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Alex Rose Wiesel and Victoria Barkham

Actress Alex Rose Wiesel has starred on many television shows including Two and a Half Men, Dexter and recently the CW Network’s hit series, Hart Of Dixie. But as her career grows, so does the attention on her rescue fur pal – Victoria Barkham.

Alex’s dog has been taking over social media in Hollywood. Curious about this celebrity-duo, Animal Wellness Magazine just had to find out more…

Animal Wellness: Hi, Alex. Thanks very much for meeting with us today! Let’s start with an easy question. Why do you love animals?

Alex Rose Wiesel: I’ve always loved animals! When I was a child I wanted to be a veterinarian. We always had pets around the house like cats, dogs, birds, rats, fish and even a horse (named Dandy, who I loved). Always having animals around gave me an appreciation for them at a young age that I’ve carried with me to this point. I’ve been to some amazing wildlife learning and preservation centers recently here in California like Animal Tracks Inc., Gentle Barn, and Vision Quest Ranch that have expanded that love. There’s something so universal and accepting about animals and their understanding that draws me to them. 

Animal Wellness: You rescued your dog, Victoria Barkham, from Compton, California. Tell us the full story!

Alex Rose Wiesel: When I adopted Victoria, I was living in a three bedroom apartment with three guys in Burbank. A friend of mine from college had been posting these photos of a stray little black dog she found in Compton. The dog, which she was calling Home Girl, had a microchip and had been neutered. When my friend took “Home Girl” to the vet, he informed her that the microchip had never been registered to anyone and it seemed as if (based on the chip and the way the dog was neutered) she had escaped from the pound. I showed my roommates photos of “Home Girl” and they said she was ugly. I disagreed – she was literally the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen. There was just something about her. She was super skinny with long legs and big ears. She looked like a tiny deer. I convinced one of my roommates to go visit “Home Girl” with me. She bit both of us as soon as we met her, but we sat on the floor with her and eventually “Home Girl” (soon to be Victoria) came over to me and sat down, letting me pet her. I was instantly in love, and came back the following week to pick her up.  

Animal Wellness: Why did you choose the name Victoria Barkham?

Alex Rose Wiesel: I think human names for pets are adorable. She has long legs like a model, and she’s very feminine and fancy. She sits with her legs crossed, loves to be surrounded by plush pillows and needs all her toys in one place. Naming her after Posh Spice – Victoria Beckham – seemed perfect. Plus it makes a great dog pun with Barkham. 

Animal Wellness: Victoria has a huge following and her own Hashtag on Instagram. Has it been strange having a dog that’s just as famous as you are?

Alex Rose Wiesel: Never! Which means I’ll make a great stage mom one day. If I could give her all the attention in the world, I would. She’s a true rags to riches story, from the mean streets to having a dog bed in every room (which go unused since she’s normally in my bed). Oh, and a million Bark Box toys.

Animal Wellness: Does she know any tricks?

Alex Rose Wiesel: She does! When I got her she already knew how to sit. Since then, she’s learned how to “stay” really well! She’ll do anything for treats.

Animal Wellness: Speaking of treats… what does Victoria eat?

Alex Rose Wiesel: Since we’ve been together, I’ve always fed her Merrick Small Bites in beef and sweet potato. On special occasions she gets the Merrick canned food as well, which she LOVES (and expects anytime I open a can of anything). Those cans have the cutest flavor names.

Animal Wellness: Have you gotten her a dog agent yet, or any movie roles? She should have been in “Straight Outta Compton”!

Alex Rose Wiesel: If they ever do a Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Straight Outta Compton, she’s in! Unfortunately, due to her checkered past, Victoria isn’t always amazing with new people and animals. It’s very hit or miss no matter how much training we do. I did take her to a few commercial auditions, and they loved her! At one in particular, she was so well behaved and did a great job, but when the casting director went to pet her she snarled and snapped at him. Needless to say, she didn’t get the part.

Animal Wellness: Tell us why animal rescue is so important to you.

Alex Rose Wiesel: From my experience with Victoria, rescue dogs truly appreciate what you give them. Unlike getting a puppy, rescues have seen a harder life. Anytime I get Victoria a toy or treat from the store, she makes sure to eat and/or play with it right in front of me, like she’s showing me how thankful she is. Then she’ll hide it under some pillows or put it in her stockpile for safe keeping. I’ve never had love from a pet like I get from Victoria. I call her my dog soulmate. Sometimes I think we share the same personality – hers is just in dog form! She even talks to me in growls and snorts. She’s very vocal.  

Animal Wellness: Would you say Victoria has improved your life?

Alex Rose Wiesel: She’s definitely improved both my career and personal life. V (Victoria) is a certified support animal and travels with me often. She’s been to Miami, Detroit, San Diego, Santa Barbara and locally all over LA. She’s really good in a carrier in planes and cars, and has a dog bed in the front seat of my car as well. Our personalities go so well together, I truly feel like we’re made for each other. She always has love and support to give and is great at telling me to stop working. Like right now, as she’s shoving her face under my hands so I’ll stop talking and pet her!

Alex Rose WeiselAnimal Wellness: What is your advice to others who have a busy career but still want to get a pet?

Alex Rose Wiesel: Can you offer the pet a better life than they have now? If the answer is yes, then adopt the pet. Especially in places like LA that still have high-kill shelters. I have lots of friends that work on shows or long hour jobs but with the creation and popularity of things like Wag or disposable grass patches, having a pet in an apartment is very doable. And you’re saving a life! In my current apartment, half the balcony is hers and has a covered HoundHouse for shelter with clean blankets, food and water. She’ll go out there to sun herself in the mornings if I open the door. She loves it. 

Animal Wellness: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

Alex Rose Wiesel: I can’t imagine my life without Victoria. There’s something so special about the bond and the love we share. And I’m so very thankful to get the chance to share and gush about my baby! I love her. If you’d like to see more of V you can find her on Instagram – #VictoriaBarkham.