let me tell you about my pet

Roland Emmerich’s Dogs Love Snuggling Time

Photo: Getty, Roland Emmerich

Roland Emmerich is the director of movies like Independence Day, Godzilla, the Day After Tomorrow, and the recently released World War II epic Midway. He is also the father of two sweet dogs named Bella and Bandito, who are feisty and friendly, respectively. Can he tell you about them?

Bella Photo: Roland Emmerich

On how Bella and Bandito came into his life:

Bella was found out roaming the streets of Inglewood when she was about six weeks old or so. We had just lost our dog — he was eaten by coyotes in our garden, so we were quite traumatized and I told my husband, “No more small dogs.” But then he said, “Oh, well we can get this dog for my niece, Alexa.” So we drive to Inglewood; this woman found Bella on the street, but she already had two or three dogs, so she couldn’t keep her, and we took her home with us. So, you know, then after three weeks my husband said, “Oh I cannot give her away!” And so we kept Bella. And she’s a real small dog, she’s like 37 percent Chihuahua.

So we took Bella with us everywhere, on vacation and stuff, but it’s very cumbersome to have a dog with you while you travel. So we said, “Oh, we have to find a big brother for her.” My husband is on a notification service from this woman in Beverly Hills who is involved in rescuing dogs. And after we had Bella for about one and a half years, we saw she had rescued a little dog called Bandito — he was thrown out of a moving car and was seriously injured. And you see him and you think, How can you throw something like this out of a car?

Bandito Photo: Roland Emmerich

So eventually we went to her, she has a rescue in Beverly Hills, and we looked at him and we fell in love. And now we’ve had him for about three or four months. And he’s maybe … he’s about three times as big as Bella. He’s a midsize dog. And we think he’ll fill out a little bit, but he won’t get much bigger. I think he’s about 27 percent Chihuahua and, like, half American Staffordshire terrier. We got both of them DNA tested, because we wanted to know who their parents are, or whatever. You know?

On how Bella and Bandito got to know each other: 

At the beginning Bella was confused. She said, Who is this other dog? She is like, Why did they get another dog, don’t they love me anymore? So what we had to do is we had to constantly play with her and pet her. And it was very hard because Bandito was so cute. But it helped a lot, and then after some time she relaxed. And now they’re best friends, all day they play. At the beginning it was a little bit tricky to feed them, because Bandito is a little bit hungrier than Bella is, and he started eating her food. She didn’t like that at all. We had to train them to know which was their food. They’re like, No, no! Don’t do that! That’s my food!  

Photo: Roland Emmerich

On Bella and Bandito’s personalities:

Bella is very feisty. She loves to fight and growl. And Bandito is a little bit like, you know, he’s a little bit clumsy. He has very long legs and he does not yet know how to use them. So they have quite different personalities. Bella is like a typical Chihuahua, she barks at everybody. And Bandito is just happy. He’s everybody’s friend. He’s excited about everybody who comes into the house, and so friendly and so cuddly.

Photo: Roland Emmerich

On their home away from home:

Most of the time they come with me to the office. Bella is barking at everybody, and they roam around. They have their little beds and their little toys, everything is there. They have everything twice.

On Bella and Bandito’s relationship: 

They play a lot with each other, and it’s crazy to see. Bandito loves to climb on her. He climbs on us, too — he’s just this dog who wants to be on top of everybody. I don’t know why. And she makes a lot of growling noises; he’s totally silent, but she growls. It’s not mean-spirited, though, because when you play with her with a toy she does the same growling noise. So she’s clearly playing.

Photo: Roland Emmerich

The problem is we have a very big garden and we live in the middle of Hollywood, and it’s surrounded by Runyon Canyon Park, and there are tons of coyotes there. So we can’t let them outside unwatched, and even then we have to put them on a leash, because … there are stories now of coyotes grabbing little dogs, even while you’re there. It’s really scary. But it’s fine, we have them on a leash and they’re used to it. And so that’s what we do.

On his favorite thing about having dogs: 

When you come home somebody is really excited to see you. I take them to the office most of the time, but for example, I was on a promotional tour for about two weeks recently, and when I came home they like freaked. They were so excited. It took like half an hour for them to calm down. So that’s cool. And they sleep in the bed, so in the morning it’s snuggling time.

Let the Director of Independence Day Tell You About His Dogs