Interview with Carole Davis, actress and author of The Diary of Jinky by Scott Rose
The Diary of Jinky
by Carole Davis
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you trained your dog to keep a diary? A charming chien narrates The Diary of Jinky: Dog of a Hollywood Wife, and a literary star is born. Author Carole Raphaelle Davis happens to also be the charismatic actress who brought Amalita Amalfi to life on Sex in the City. She and her husband Kevin Rooney adopted Jinky from Chihuahua Rescue (www.chihuahuarescue.com). With all the love Jinky brought into their lives, Carole wanted to give voice to poor pooches in dire circumstances.
The book is more fun than a barrel of rawhide bones. Jinky delivers a K-9's point-of-view on Hollywood, New York City, France and other cosmopolitan favorites. He's got a leg up on any gossip columnist you'd care to name. Aware that his bite has potential to be worse than his bark, he anguishes over the possibility that he could have to sink his teeth into Kim Basinger. When a Chinese Crested comes to visit, Jinky says: "He looks like a cross between Michael Jackson and Andy Warhol." An accompanying photo shows how right he is. While on the Riviera, he ruminates his past on death row in a shelter: "Right now, I could wag my tail so hard it would knock the whole world over." You'll wish you had a tail you could wag while reading this book. Davis aimed to write a story that would be hip, heartwarming, entertaining and on message about saving dogs in danger; she hit the bull's-eye.
I caught up with her as she had just wrapped an episode of TV's Scrubs and was preparing for a little sojourn in Nice. Read what she has to say about her animal companions' high jinks.
How did JINKY get his name?
My husband Kevin (Rooney) gave him his name. It was a character on the Dennis Miller show, where Kevin was the head writer at the time?a character that was supposed to be a guest who would never appear. He was a fruit bat and his agent would call in and say Jinky the fruit bat isn't going to make it tonight. As soon as we saw Jinky in his cage at Chihuahua Rescue, Kevin said 'Look! He looks like a fruit bat!' We took him home that day.
What is your best guess as to Jinky's heritage?
I think he's a real mutt. Probably Chihuahua, Shih Tzu and Jack Russel terrier, so we call him a Jack Shit Hua.
In narrating the book, Jinky says "These Hollywood people never stop plugging, pushing, and clawing to appear on TV." Is that also true of Hollywood dogs? Has Jinky been on TV?
Sure, Jinky hangs around Hollywood sets all the time. And because we are in this silly business, he meets all the Hollywood players. He's the only honest guy in Hollywood; he hates phonies. He goes to all the pitch meetings, especially lately, because we're pitching Diary of Jinky as a TV show. He thinks show biz is a load of cat poop but he'll allow us to exploit him as long as it helps raise awareness of his old cell mates, the dogs who are stuck at the pound and who are going to die unless someone steps up and adopts them pronto. If David Letterman happened to invite him to the Late Show to help get the word out, Jinky would stoop to do some stupid pet tricks.
The Diary of Jinkyseems so original; did you have any specific literary inspirations?
Yes. The book was inspired by one of my favorite writers, Colette. She wrote a book about her dog and her cat talking to each other called Dialogues de B?tes. In English it's called Barks and Purrs. It was hilarious, having a smart ass French bulldog talking to a grumpy old cat about how their mistress, the writer, is behaving around the house. I read it as a child and it stuck with me.
What are Jinky's favorite foods?
He likes anything that has a good sauce on it. He'll eat a raw onion [Ed. note - Not that we'd ever recommend such a thing! Remember, folks, onions are not recommended for our canine buddies.] if you drown it in sauce. He loves going to restaurants and in the book, he talks about the 'stupid laws in America' that prevent him from enjoying restaurant food. In Nice, France, where we live half the year, he gets to go to all the restaurants and the waiters bring him delicious bowls of tasty people food. He just doesn't get why he's not allowed in the restaurants here. He doesn't spread any of the airborne diseases, like TB or horrible flu viruses like people do! And his feet don't bring in any different dirt than people's shoes do.
Dog love is very much a part of Euro-culture. You go into any world class museum and look at the grand masters of European paintings of the 19th, 18th 17th, all the way to 14th century and you'll find adorable dogs on couches, on beds, on tables, all curled up on the silken robes of the royal laps of Europe. Every lady had a lap dog and every gentleman had a big hound. They all slept in bed with their people. I grew up in France and Italy and the dogs and cats were used like hot water bottles. When you're in a 300 year old stone house with no central heating, believe me, you need a dog. It's better than a husband?it's warmer and it's faithful.
In the book, Jinky mocks humans for using umbrellas. Does this mean he would never wear a raincoat?
Jinky makes fun of people about umbrellas because they carry around these silly things in the rain, which he says feels so good on your face. But in the shower, they spend thousands of dollars on fancy fake rain shower heads. In there, they sing and like fake rain. No, he doesn't like dog raincoats; he loves water and goes in the Jacuzzi everyday. I do force him to wear crazy mommy/doggy matching outfits that I knit. He puts up with it. You can see him in his silly outfits on his website at www.hollywoodjinky.com. I'm designing a line of hand-knitted clothes for the fashionably grumpy dog.
What animal rights matters most weigh on Jinky?
Jinky is concerned for the well-being of all creatures, especially companion animals that are abused in the bio-medical research industry. Since the passing of a really ugly bill in Congress, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, we aren't allowed to expose the industry. Basically, the government has succeeded in shackling animal rights activists and environmental activists by labeling them terrorists if they expose the horror that is going on behind closed doors. Jinky also speaks out against zoos and Sea World types of marine prisons. He thinks animals don't belong in exhibits; they belong in their natural habitats or in sanctuaries when they need protection from poachers. He says that zoos are just prisons for animals.
As for exotic birds that get separated from their families in the Amazon; Jinky thinks it's mean to keep birds in cages. What kind of fun is it to sit in a jail cell that's only as big as your wings can reach, when you could be soaring in the sky and pooping on the heads of people that would put you in a cage?
But the thing that really makes Jinky mad is the plight of those like him. He was beaten up, abandoned, and homeless at the pound, with hours to live. There are millions of dogs killed in the shelter system, many of them puppy mill dogs bred for pet shops. They get dumped at the pound and no one comes to get them out. They die waiting for a loving home. This is a fixable problem. We can fix it today. So he thinks people should adopt until the shelters are empty. Jinky wants people to make the ethical choice.
How have Jinky's relations with Finley been since the book's publication?
Nothing has changed. Finley, his wife, is the boss of the house. He's strictly a 'yes dear' kind of husband. She's the love of his life, and he truly adores her. No matter how famous Jinky becomes, Finn orders him around, and he remains loyal and faithful. Unlike a lot of Hollywood jerks, he isn't going to dump his wife for a younger, hotter bitch.
In the book, Jinky at one point makes sneering reference to "disgusting black fish eggs". Has he ever tried caviar?
Yes, he's tried it, and he doesn't like it. You know the scene in Big where Tom Hanks spits out caviar? That's how Jinky is. My best friend in Paris had an Iranian boyfriend who used to bring her pounds of Beluga. He'd load up the fridge and we'd stuff ourselves but Jinky would spit it out like it was poison. I think he thinks it's awful that they have all those fish abortions in Iran. I like to imagine what he thinks, politically.
On the other hand, Jinky absolutely loves truffles. We were in the Vaucluse region of France last summer, where they have the best truffles. It was so satisfying to watch Jinky enjoy truffles after he had been beaten up and dumped like garbage at the pound by jerks. There he was, eating truffles at the table at Crillon-le-Brave in Provence! We wish we knew who the jerks that dumped Jinky are, so we could send them postcards, just to show them he has a better life than they do!
Not that Jinky has forgotten where he came from. Every time we visit a shelter, he flips out. He knows what it is. He can smell the fear.
Jinky develops a taste for fine beverages in the course of the book. What would be his current wine picks?
Jinky loves sweet wines. He goes bonkers for a good Pineau des Charentes. He'll stick his snout right into my glass. They call him Drinky Jinky.
What is Jinky's preferred form of exercise?
Shopping! No, he prefers canyons and parks; but my favorite canyon for hiking is the one at 57th and Madison in New York. But I can't stand these "No dogs" people. If a store doesn't want Jinky, I don't want to shop in it. I've actually been places where I've picked out a whole dog wardrobe but had a shop girl say "I'm sorry, no dogs allowed here." So I tell her, "They let you in!" and then I leave without buying anything. There is no dearth of shops - including Bloomies and Saks - that welcome dogs.
With that said, I am not unduly extravagant in my shopping. Whenever I drool over a pair of Jimmy Choos, I think that with what they cost, I could save nine dogs! Then I go to the sale rack.
Is Jinky a political animal?
On his blog, hollywooddog.blogspot.com, Jinky comments on lots of issues, but he is bi-partisan.
Luckily, there are lots of great, dog-loving people on the face of the earth. The more we get the message out, the closer we come to our goal of a no-kill world.