After spending a week in London and being amused by all the breaking news stories surrounding Prince William’s holiday with girlfriend Kate Middleton at his granny’s castle in Scotland, I was stunned to come home and discover that Ellen DeGeneres, a woman who usually manages to stay out of the headlines, was tearfully defending her decision to give away a puppy she acquired from a rescue shelter here in L.A.
Is it me or should either of these stories really matter on any continent? Let William be with his girlfriend in peace, and let DeGeneres do what she wants with a puppy that apparently was having issues cohabitating with her, partner Portia de Rossi and their two cats. So, in an effort to do the right thing for everyone involved, DeGeneres gave Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix, to her hairdresser and her two daughters.
It’s not as if she were giving away a child, or abusing the little mutt. She simply didn’t have what it takes to deal with a puppy that apparently has special needs. It seems pretty clear that this was win-win.
It appears, however, that DeGeneres didn’t read the small print. Mutts & Moms, the shelter where Iggy came from, apparently has rules against anyone re-gifting their animals without notifying them first. And it also has a policy forbidding the adoption of any canines to families with kids under 14. The hairdresser’s kids are 12 and 11. So, during a “routine” home visit to see how little Iggy was fairing, Mutts & Moms owner Marina Batkis discovered that Iggy wasn’t where he was supposed to be and reclaimed him.
Since then, we’ve been bombarded with images of DeGeneres crying on her daytime talk show; little girls begging for Iggy’s return and Batkis and her lawyer appearing on morning news shows talking about how DeGeneres broke the rules.
Where’s William and Kate when you need them?
When I saw the emotional breakdown DeGeneres had on her show Tuesday, I seriously thought it had to be some kind of joke. I kept waiting for the crocodile tears to dry up and some surprise celebrity guest to pop in from stage left with a little doggy. But when she didn’t stop and Justin Timberlake didn’t swoop in from the wings with a toy poodle, those real tears became very surreal.
Ellen, I love you but you gotta stop this crying. In my mind you did the right thing. You went to Mutts & Moms, rescued a puppy named Iggy, paid thousands of dollars for someone to train him, but he didn’t quite fit in so you graciously gave him to your hairdresser and her two daughters. That was a cool thing to do.
I find it a little disconcerting, however, that DeGeneres used her show to step deeper into this small pile of dog poop instead of just handling her business with Batkis privately. And, after learning that someone from the DeGeneres camp allegedly phoned Batkis and threatened her with a lawsuit and bad press, I’m not sure DeGeneres’ intentions were entirely pure on Tuesday.
Yes, it’s awful that these kids have lost a puppy they’ve had in their lives for less than a month. And while I do think that Batkis’ rules are a little kooky and irrational, it’s her business and she can run it anyway she sees fit. She’s obviously very passionate about her animals and perhaps her motivations in this matter were born out of negative experiences she’s had with other folks in similar situations.
As we well know from recent events in the news there are people out there who willingly mistreat and abuse dogs.
So on a day when I’m more interested in the news of how Barack Obama and Dick Cheney could possibly be related, DeGeneres’ show has gone to the dogs for a second consecutive day. She was more composed Wednesday, but she’s making another plea to Mutts & Moms to give Iggy back to the kids.
“This has become so insane,” she said. “The dog just needs to go to the family … People rescue animals so that they can go to a good home.”
Apparently the hairdresser’s home wasn’t good enough for Batkis.
Despite the alleged death and arson threats the owner says she’s been getting since the story emerged, it looks like Iggy is staying put for now. Perhaps if DeGeneres hadn’t made such a big deal about it on her show she and Batkis could have worked something out.
But as Whoopi Goldberg now knows after presenting us with another perspective on the Michael Vick dog-fighting debacle during her first day on “The View” last month, the worst thing you can do these days in America is tick off a dog lover. That’s like stepping in fresh dog poop with your bare feet. You might be able to physically wash it off, but the emotional stench stays with you for days.
So Ellen, please take my advice. Let it go before you drown in it. And Marina, stop all your woofing. Kids love dogs, too.
Miki Turner is an entertainment columnist for MSNBC.com. She welcomes your comments at .