Best known for her witty jabs at celebrities on and off the red carpet, comedienne and lifelong dog lover Joan Rivers was an unapologetic queen of controversy. Unafraid of inducing major jaw-droppage every time she opened her mouth to speak, the “Angelina Jolie of barkers” made an indelible mark on Hollywood, working right up until her hospitalization and subsequent death this week.
An accomplished author, Rivers shared details about her life others might shy away from publicly disclosing in some of the 12 books she published. She was open about her struggle with bulimia, her numerous cosmetic surgeries, and that time her dog saved her from suicide.
“What saved me was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, “No one will take care of him.” It wasn’t a friendly dog—only to me. I adored this dog. He was theoretically a Yorkie, his mother cheated. His name was Spike. He was the way you want your dog to be, devoted only to you. I was sitting in this big empty house in Bel Air, with a phone with five extensions which we no longer needed. I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun.”
But Rivers wasn’t always this serious when talking about her dogs. Followers on Twitter often found one-liners about pup parenthood and pictures of Rivers’ pooches that were strictly for the lulz.
Back in NYC and thrilled to be with my dogs! As usual, here I am reaching for a kiss and Teegan turns away from me. pic.twitter.com/qSTZWiPGiy
— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) July 21, 2014
A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger. My first thought was to rescue 2 more, but I don’t want to go through menopause again.
— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) August 6, 2014
When asked in an interview what some of her favorite things were, Rivers mentioned her dogs before anything else. “Only when you love dogs very much do you let them sit on $300-per-yard French fabric.” Her love of dogs was also apparent in her charitable contributions to Guide Dogs for the Blind.
“Once they love you, that’s it. A true friend in life is a dog,” said Rivers in an interview for Chicago Now.