Secret Life Star Has 2 Not-So-Secret Loves: His Rescue Dogs
Learn how Onyx and Estrella first captured Pallo's heart and how he's not the only rising star in the family!
How I Met Onyx:
I got Onyx just after the very first job that I booked in Hollywood, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, because I wanted a dog – it gets lonely out here in L.A. I knew I wanted a Lab because Labs are so cuddly. I made a few phone calls to different shelters and one man said he had a 3-year-old named Onyx, so I decided to visit him because I liked the name. It turned out the "shelter" was in a guy's backyard filled with a bunch of other really tough-looking dogs. But then out comes this big, goofy black Lab, who just charged right at me and almost knocked me down, and I was like, "Wow this guy's a big monster!"
Onyx belonged to an older person who was going blind, and who kept him outside. Because of that, the owner would mistakenly put Onyx's food on the wrong side of the fence, and raccoons and opossums ate his food because he couldn't get to it. He was literally chomping on rocks. He was emaciated, and so food-crazy he'd get into fights with the bigger dogs at the rescue. I knew I had to take him home before he got hurt. And he's been with me ever since. Although he's old – he's 14 now – he's still got a very strong heart.
Why I Adopted Estrella:
I got Estrella about two years ago, just for Onyx. He was having respiratory problems, so friends told me to get a younger dog to keep Onyx moving. I was looking for a German shepherd, and got an email about this puppy who was all-black, 8 weeks old and living at the city pound. I went there to check her out, and she was not a German shepherd! She was in a crate with two other puppies, both of whom looked exactly like Onyx, and she was the furriest one of them all. I went to pick her up, and as soon as she was in my hands, she just rested her head on my shoulder – I just knew she was the one. We began the adoption process with her right then, and she's been with me for two years now.
She's really helped [Onyx] in his old age – she's made his last few years very active. A couple of years ago, Onyx wouldn't come to the door to greet me anymore. But with her herding him around the house, he gets up.
On Balancing a Career with Pet Ownership:
Sometimes I can get overwhelmed. It's hard if you go out of town to do a film, or if I have a day of really long auditions and I'm not home for 10 hours. But I have a dog walker that I can pay to house-sit for me if I'm gone for a long period of time. I have friends and neighbors who can come unlock the door and let the dogs out in the yard. I have resources. You need them if you have a dog – you can't keep them locked up in the apartment for 12 hours a day without attention – especially if you have just one. They're pack animals and I believe they need to feel like part of the pack.
On Estrella's Rising 'Star':
Estrella has been to set training – she can hit her mark, give paw. She was on the set with me for an NBC miniseries I'm in called The Storm. She hung out in my trailer, like a little diva dog! She'd follow me around when I was on a break, and everyone loved her.
She's been in a movie, too! I work with a charity called the Hollywood Heat Foundation, where I mentor at-risk kids. In three days we help these children make their own short film from start to end, and then we have a premiere a few months later to show the final product. We did a film called Flipping with the Stars, which is a take on Dancing with the Stars. The kids were the gymnasts and the adults were the stars, and Estrella was cast as herself. She's so cute in it! She's a little starlet; and coincidentally, Estrella means "star" in Spanish.