Why the Sopranos star, Jamie Lynn DiScala, believes fate brought her and her dog together.
Call it what you want – fate, serendipity or just good luck. When actor Jamie Lynn DiScala and her husband, manager A.J. DiScala, ran into Animal Wellness publisher Tim Hockley at the L.A. airport last spring, little did they know how much the conversation would change their lives. After hearing about the then upcoming Animal Wellness Expo, Jamie Lynn, best known for her long-running role as
Meadow Soprano on The Sopranos, and A.J. decided to attend the Rose Bowl event. They ended up adopting a beautiful 10-month-old Rottweiler mix named Hailey and the couple couldn’t be happier.
“We always talked about wanting a dog to round out our little family, but never could we have imagined hitting the jackpot the way we did with Hailey,” says Jamie Lynn. “We really believe rescue dogs appreciate their new chance. From the first day we brought her home, all she wanted to do was be good and give love. It was like she knew us her whole life.”
Jamie Lynn describes herself as a huge dog lover but neither she nor A.J. had ever rescued an animal before. The AW Expo seemed like a good opportunity to change that. They knew they would have a difficult time choosing just one dog but Hailey’s loving personality finally won them over.
“We went with open minds and open hearts and promised each other we would be patient, strong and rational. We walked around looking and playing with many dogs. But when we rounded one corner and saw Hailey, both our hearts went out to her. She was so mild-mannered and sweet. We asked to take her out and walk her around a little. She came right over and tried to sit on my lap. It was the cutest.”
Remembering their promise to be patient, Jamie Lynn and A.J. decided to do one more loop around the Rose Bowl. The more they walked and talked, the more convinced they became that Hailey was the dog they wanted. They stepped up their pace to return to the San Gabriel Humane Society’s booth, where they found Hailey, only to discover she was gone. The congenial canine had left to take part in a mini-parade to attract the attention of potential adopters. Disappointed, the couple took the shelter’s phone number and headed for the exit. Then destiny stepped in.
“Seconds before we were about to leave, we heard an announcer say ‘and here is Hailey…’ A.J. and I looked at each other and said ‘It’s fate!’ We ran up to the stage to claim her before anyone else could… and the rest is history.”
The award winning 23-year-old actor, who is also developing an impressive stage career (Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast , Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella ), says Hailey fits into her busy L.A. lifestyle perfectly, and hangs out at many of the city’s dog-friendly destinations. When Jamie Lynn is shooting on location for more than two weeks, she takes Hailey with her. For the easy-going canine, that meant three months in the Dominican Republic this past summer while Jamie Lynn worked on the film, Lovewrecked. Jamie Lynn took advantage of the opportunity to teach Hailey how to swim. “She was so afraid at first, but every day she got a little braver. Now, you cannot get her out of the pool. She even jumps into fountains.”
An experienced dog guardian, the actor can’t believe that legislators are considering banning breeds such as Hailey’s.
“It makes me so sad to hear the stereotypes about Rotties,” says Jamie Lynn. “I have had cocker spaniels and bichons that were very good and sweet dogs, but not friendly with strangers or other dogs like Hailey is. For people to say Rotties are a frightening breed and the others aren’t, strictly by appearance, is unfair.” The compassionate performer knows something about stereotypes. As a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association, Jamie speaks to people across the United States about the dangers of trying to live up to the “starving model” stereotype. She courageously gave details about her own battle with anorexia in her book Wise Girl, published in 2002.
These days, however, Jamie Lynn is totally at peace with her life, especially with the addition of Hailey.
“Hailey means the world to me. I love to cuddle with her when A.J. isn’t here. When he is here, the three of us will lie in bed on a rainy afternoon and it’s the best feeling in the world. It makes us all feel that, no matter what happens, we have everything we could ever need, right here at home.”