Ally Maki is an actress and the founder of apparel brand Asian American Girl Club. She starred on the TBS series Wrecked, is currently featured on Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, and voiced the character Giggle McDimples in Toy Story 4. Can she tell you about her dog, Jesse?
On foster failing:
I’d researched this organization called Wags and Walks and I was emailing with them about volunteering, because I thought it would be fun to spend a few hours on the weekend hanging out with pups that need to be adopted. One Sunday they emailed me and were like, Hey, would you want to come out for a few hours today and just help out?
I was only there for, like, ten minutes before they introduced me to Jesse. They said someone had just dropped him off and they needed to find a home for him for a night, otherwise he’d have to go to a shelter, and they asked if I’d take him. I was like … Sure! And he’s this little gray dog, about 30 pounds and a Tibetan terrier, and he’s got this super-unique long body. He looks like a little gray alligator. And he just comes out and puts his little head right on my leg, and I was like, Sold, whatever! If he needs a place to crash I’m down! So all of a sudden I’m loading all of his stuff into my Mini Cooper and we just left. I didn’t even do any of the help they needed, I was there for ten minutes and then I had this dog in my car. And I called my boyfriend and I was like, Umm, I’m coming back home, but with someone … who is gonna crash with us for one night. So that one night turned into forever. He’s our foster failure.
On how Jesse unveiled his true self:
He used to be completely silent. We were like, He’s so good, he doesn’t even bark! And then as soon as we signed the adoption papers he was like a different dog. He was like, Yes, I know I live here now, so I’m gonna be crazy. I’m gonna run up and down the side of the house. And of course he started barking like a crazy man. He really knew. We were like, you tricked us!
On how Jesse is a mix of Daria and Dr. House:
My boyfriend and I have made up this whole character for him. Like we spend half of our day just doing this voice … it’s kind of like he’s like Dr. House mixed with Daria and a little bit of Eeyore. He’s very dry and sarcastic, and constantly shading me all the time. We like to say he’s bullying me but in a very sweet way. Just like, Why are you here? Why are you bothering me? Why are you obsessed with me? Just our little Dr. House running around.
On traveling without Jesse:
I don’t know what I would do without FaceTime. Most of my FaceTime minutes are spent FaceTiming with my dog, like a crazy person. I always say I’m the person from Animaniacs — what’s her name, Elvira? I’m like, I’m gonna squeeze you and love you forever!!! So yeah. But it’s really nice to have a partner I can rely on to pick up the slack when I’m not there. And Jesse is so low maintenance. He loves to just hang out. We call him our third roommate. He’s like, Just feed me, walk me, cuddle me, and I’m good. He’s just like the guy who’s renting our third room.
On Jesse’s Jazz Club:
Jesse is very sensitive to the rain or the wind. He can sense the weather, like that thing in Mean Girls — he has ESPN. So we always leave on some sort of music for him, and we’d discovered this sort of jazz compilation channel. And he really, really liked it. Like, every time we turned on this jazz channel he’d lay down and be totally fine. So we ended up starting to leave the jazz channel on all the time to ease his anxiety. So now we say our house is Jesse’s Jazz Club. We come home and there’s jazz playing and he comes to greet us and he’s like, Yeah, yeah, come in, it’s happy hour.
On Jesse’s many talents:
He’s the Michael Jordan of jumping. I want to enter him into dog Olympics for jumping. We would put him in a room with a fence, and we’d go and come back, and he would be on the other side of the fence. So we were like, how is he doing this? So we tested him with different things, putting the couch in front of the door, and some chairs in front of that, just to see if he could get out of this. And we’d go into the other room for five minutes and come back and he’d be on the other side. He would win The Amazing Race. I don’t know how he does it. I bet he could solve a Rubik’s Cube in like five seconds. He’s a mastermind of getting out of situations.
He’s also an expert at walking backwards. He’ll go one foot at a time … I don’t know, I feel like that’s a unique talent. He’s also so good at scratching his booty. He does a little booty dance on the edge of the table, or the end of a chair. We’ve made a lot of memes and GIFs. I embarrass him every single day of his life.
On what surprised her most about having a dog:
I honestly didn’t think I would fall that much in love. I mean, it is crazy. I feel like an obsessive stage mother, because I really am obsessed with him, and his well being, and his talents. I always brag about him, like, Look what he can do! He can stand and he can shake, look at him roll over! I’m just surprised at how easily I became a crazy dog mom. Like I even have a tank top that says “dog mom.” Like I just never thought I would be that person. But here I am, a crazy dog mom who is like … looking up reviews of dog food. It’s a lifestyle.