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Jan. 16, 2007 9:56Doggone publicityBy KELLY HARTOG
You can read People or US Weekly magazine or log onto E Online to get the latest scoop on what's happening in Hollywood. But if you want a real insider's take then you should read The Diary of Jinky: Dog of a Hollywood Wife.
Yes, Jinky is indeed a dog - a bat-faced terrier mongrel to be exact - and he's seen it all, right from the moment he was rescued from "death row" by his mother Carole Raphaelle Davis, an actress, singer, and animal activist, living in the Hollywood Hills.
Davis, who got her big break in the 1984 movie The Flamingo Kid with Matt Dillon, is a nice Jewish girl born in London and raised in Scotland, France, Thailand and New York, thanks to her father's career. "I was a CIA brat," Davis says as she, Jinky, and Jinky's "wife" Finley (another rescue terrier) hang out around Davis's pool.
Jinky refers to his "parents'" pool a fair amount in his book. It's the pool into which Davis's husband (Emmy award winning writer Kevin Rooney) once threw his laptop computer and his phone. Apparently, according to Jinky, throwing things into the pool from the upper balconies of the house is a common occurrence with his parents.
This warts and all book shines a light on how preposterous the whole "Hollywood lifestyle" can be. Jinky trains his wet nose on his parents' crazy shenanigans, all the while discussing how much he enjoys living in the lap of luxury; including long soaks in the Jacuzzi and trips to the South of France.
Says Jinky: "All my mom and dad do is complain. My mom used to be somebody, but she doesn't want to remember who that was. She was in movies, on TV, she made records and she was an underwear model. My dad is a writer, or at least he sleeps at the computer a lot...And mom and dad are just the tip of the iceberg. Their friends are all nuttier than they are. But that's Hollywood. A lot of neurotic people and lucky dogs."
And while amusing, the book definitely serves a higher purpose. The entire purpose of the book is to raise awareness of the millions of animals being killed in rescue shelters around the world every day. For most of her adult life, Davis has owned only rescue dogs, and hopes others will avoid puppy mills and pet stores and instead head to their local shelter to adopt.
DAVIS IS the first to admit that her showbiz life was completely meaningless. "All of the pursuits I had as a young woman were incredibly shallow and stupid," says Davis, who is now in her late 40s. An actress and singer who has always been on the fringes of Hollywood, over the years Davis has appeared in many films and TV shows, and has released a number of singing albums. She appeared in 1987's Mannequin and in an episode of Sex and The City, but says that were it not for her shallow excesses in her youth, she'd never have become the activist she is today. Nor is she concerned about sending herself up in the book. "I think in order for this book to work you have to make fun of yourself. I can't just make fun of everyone else," she says.
While Davis says her upbringing was "completely secular", there is one chapter in the book titled: "Rabbi Jinkleberg Quotes the Talmud," in which Jinky says, "The Talmud has a saying that could help a lot of dogs: 'If you save one life it is as if you saved the whole world.'" He then goes on to berate celebrities and others who don't rescue pets from shelters. "It's such a perfect communication," says Davis. "When people say they couldn't possibly adopt a pet from a shelter because they'd want to take them all home, I tell them, you don't have to take them all, you just have to take one. Every life is significant."
In fact, it was in France in 2004, while writing a series of articles for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal on anti-Semitism in Europe, that Davis began working on what would eventually become The Diary of Jinky. "It was incredibly depressing, I was writing about anti-Semitic crimes including a woman who was in a caf reading a Hebrew paper who had her nose broken." In order to take a break from all the terrible news she was writing, Davis began a blog about the shallowness of Hollywood, writing it from the point of view of her dog. "That was fun for me," she says, "because it was fluffy and a way to skewer the excesses of Hollywood society." The blog took off, and one thing led to another. Two years later The Diary of Jinky was published.
And while a friend of a friend in the publishing industry helped get the book off the ground, and it has received a glowing review from Jay Leno, Davis says she doesn't think her Hollywood career has helped in the publishing of the book. "I'm D-list," she states matter-of-factly. "My career as an actress is dead. When you're 40 your dead [in this industry]. Over 45 you're a rotting corpse. I've been spit out already."
Davis ponders the Hollywood obsession with youth and beauty briefly. "I'm a much better actress today than when I was making a ton of money in my 20s," she muses. "I didn't know what I was doing then and I have the movies to prove it." But none of that matters to Davis any more. Her real mission in life is to continue promoting awareness for rescue animals, for which homes are always needed.
Having been to Israel many years ago, Davis says she hopes to return. Just as Hurricane Katrina produced so many abandoned pets, she remarks, there must be displaced pets in Israel from this summer's war in Lebanon in need of homes.
In the meantime, her book is already garnering the exact type of feedback she wants. Somebody recently recognized Jinky from his Web site (www.hollywoodjinky.com) and told Davis she began volunteering at a local shelter on the strength of Jinky's tales. "That to me was huge," says Davis. "One stop by Jinky's Web site created an activist." Which, she adds, just goes to prove rescue dogs make the best pets. "After all," she says, "Jinky surpassed all of our wildest dreams by writing a book."
The New York Post
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?
What is your best guess as to Jinky's heritage?
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?
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?
What animal rights matters most weigh on Jinky?
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?
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?
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.