Sutton Foster currently stars along alongside Hilary Duff and Nico Tortorella on the hit TV show “Younger,” portraying Liza Miller, a 40-something single mom who pretends to be a 26-year-old millennial in order to land a job in publishing. Besides staring in the popular TV series, Foster also is an award-winning Broadway actress, singer and dancer, with a couple of Tonys under her belt.
When she’s not gracing TV screens or lighting up the Broadway stage, Foster loves to cozy up with her beloved fur babies: Mabel and Brody.
BeChewy caught up with Sutton Foster to discuss life with her two rescue mutts, how one of her dogs in particular has an affinity for keeping her on her toes and how the “Younger” set has gone to the dogs.
Tell us about your canine clan at home.
We have two rescue dogs: Mabel and Brody. They both are mutts. We think Mabel is a Yorkie/Dachshund mix. I haven’t done the DNA test, [but] I should, just because I’m curious.
Mabel was from a kill shelter in Houston. An organization rescued her from the shelter and flew her up to New York on a Saturday. I met her on a Monday and took her home.
She just turned 5, and she’s awesome; she’s a perfect set dog. I bring her to work all the time. She grew up in makeup trailers and wardrobe trailers. She is the greatest dog.
Mabel was first, and then we got Brody. He just turned 3 [and] is a pet store rescue. There was a man who owned a bunch of pet stores in New Jersey, and he agreed to relinquish his 120 dogs who were over 6-months-old. The same company rescued him.
Brody was sent to the Humane Society of New York, and they knew I was looking for another dog, so they called me and said, “I think we may have found another dog.” He is a Westie/Poodle mix. He’s our troublemaker.
What kind of trouble does Brody get into?
If Brody is not in the room, he is doing something he shouldn’t be doing. But he’s always very considerate. If he goes to the bathroom in the house, it’s always in the bathroom, or he will jump in the tub and you’re like, “I can’t really be angry with you. OK.”
And he can get on any surface or any table, and he will eat anything that he finds. Nothing is safe!
Has Brody taught Mabel some bad habits?
I think so, because Brody will get something down and Mabel will then get it. I guess because they are terriers, they both chew on things.
Brody destroys every dog bed. Mabel used to sleep with us, [and] there are little holes in our comforter because in the middle of the night she would chew it up.
Our family has expanded because now we have a human child. It’s a bit of a circus, but I will always have a dog in my life. And I love that our daughter is being raised with dogs. She’s learning how to be gentle.
Does your 1 ½-year-old daughter, Emily, love her canine siblings?
Oh, yes! One of her first words was Brody. It might have been before mom! [laughing] But Brody was also what a puppy was so she’d say “Brody” and point to every dog and call it Brody. She still hasn’t learned Mabel’s name. She goes, “Brody” and I say, “That’s Mabel.”
What’s the secret to helping to integrate the dogs with the baby?
Well, you have to remember that they are dogs. And you have to remember, especially with kids, that no matter how nice and sweet they are, they are still dogs and you have to be incredibly mindful of that.
We’ve been lucky, but we have definitely had minor incidents. Mabel has growled at Emily.
You have to be there, and you have to teach the dog boundaries. We want everyone to get along. This is a family. But you just have to be on top of it. But they all get along really well and love each other, and it’s adorable.
What do your dogs like to eat?
They both eat Stella & Chewy’s. We switched to a raw diet. Mabel used to get an upset tummy all the time, and Hilary Duff suggested switching to raw food.
Oddly enough, my brother used to have two dogs named Stella and Chewy, so when I went to the store I was like, “Oh, my gosh! There’s a dog food named Stella and Chewy!” and so that’s why we got it. Our dogs love it, and ever since we switched to the food, they’ve never had upset tummies.
Do your dogs go to work with you on Broadway and on “Younger?”
My first dog, who is unfortunately no longer with us, was named Linus. He was another rescue, a Shih Tzu. I used to invite him on stage. He was incredibly well-behaved, and he would walk to me, sit next to me on the stage and I would sing a song to him and then he would high five me and exit. I’ve never met anyone like that dog.
I tried to do it with Mabel, and there is this show tune called “Maybe This Time,” and I sang a song to her called “Mabel This Time.” I was like, “Mabel come here” and she comes on stage, and one of the orchestra members had a snack in her bag and she just went right to the bag. I was chasing her through the violins trying to find her. I eventually found her, got her, sang her the song and she just yawns, so unamused. I tried to incorporate Mabel, but Linus—no one could beat him.
“Younger” is very dog-friendly. Hilary Duff brings her pup Momo on set. But when Momo was a puppy, Mabel hid from him. When he was 8 months, Mabel was already an old lady. She was like, “I can’t be bothered.“ [laughing]
Molly Bernard brings her dog Henry, and Nico Tortorella brings his dog Sunny. So, there are always dogs. And they all kind of pair up in their little clans. Henry and Mabel get along really well, so we’ll leave them together when we shoot.
In the first two seasons they were BFFs, but as soon as I got Brody, Mabel and Brody became inseparable. I can’t bring Brody to work, though. I can’t trust Brody because he will pee everywhere. I don’t have a bathtub in my trailer! So, I only take Mabel to work, but I think she kind of likes it because she gets her special time.
You’re a big crocheter. Have you crocheted anything for your dogs?
I love to crochet. I love to make something every day. I’ll be on set for like 12-15 hours, and if I don’t bring something to do, I’m just looking at my phone. How many times can you check social media?
So, I started bringing my crochet to work, and it’s great because at the end of the day I can say, “Oh, I made this.” It’s a productive way to use my time.
I have never crocheted anything for my dogs yet. I should crochet them a sweater!
I made Emily a lot of blankets. Because Mabel chews on everything, I try to keep every crocheted item away from her because she did ruin one of my blankets. And it’s OK, but you’re like “Uh” because you put so much time into it and then a dog gets to it.
What’s it like juggling two dogs and baby?
I was going through fertility struggles, so when we couldn’t get pregnant, we got another dog. And then we ended up adopting our daughter, so it was like boom boom boom. We had Brody and the next year we had a baby, so we were like, “What have we done?” But I can’t imagine life without my dogs.
Even though he comes with a laundry list of hiccups, [Brody’s] a love of a pooch. And I’m so happy he’s with us. I feel like I don’t know how he would do in another home, so I’m really grateful that we have him.
We have a great time together, and they all keep me active. I will put Emily on my back and I will take both dogs and we’ll go for a walk. It’s good for me; it’s good for everybody. She adds another 25 pounds and I look like a little bit of a crazy person juggling them all, but we get it done.
Nicole Pajer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the proud owner of a Doberman who never runs out of energy and a rat terrier who excels at breakdancing. In addition to Chewy, she writes for The New York Times, Parade, HuffPo, Woman’s Day, Billboard, and more. Keep up with her adventures on Twitter @NicolePajer
Featured Image: Courtesy of Sutton Foster/Instagram