By Brian Fischler

Life’s not fair. Adults get to have all the fun and make all the decisions. “Growing up my family didn’t have any other pets than goldfish,” says Alyssa Diaz, who can currently be seen playing Gloria on Lifetime’s hit “Army Wives.”

“My brother Michael longed for a dog as a kid. I would often go to the pet store with my grandfather and brother and play with the puppies, fantasizing about bringing a puppy home one day. Since we lived in a small space it was hard for our family to maintain a dog,” recalls Diaz.

Now that she’s an adult and there is a little more space to roam around, she has a Maltipoo named Rico. “Rico has a distinct feature, his very long eye lashes. The first time I saw him he batted his eyes at me and I fell in love instantly. He was so very sweet and when he curled up in my arms I knew we were a perfect match for each other. My family and I adore Rico tremendously,” states Diaz.

Dogs are notorious for adapting their owner’s traits. Has Rico adapted any of yours?

“Yes, Rico can be very playful and full of energy at times, and other times he can be very mellow. He’s very intelligent and loves to be the center of attention, and knows how to get it. That pretty much sums up some of the traits I possess as well,” laughs Diaz.

On “The Vampire Diaries,” you played Kimberly, a werewolf/vampire hybrid created by the villain Klaus. Did Rico help you get into the furry werewolf part of the character?

“Yes, for ‘Vampire Diaries’ I did look to Rico in part of my research for the role of Kimberly. For example, the behavioral mannerisms of Rico and other dogs is their acute sense of smell and hearing, as well as the characteristics a dog takes on being the alpha. These mannerisms were incorporated into my preparation for the role.”

How come we never see a dog tagging along with a vampire?

“I don’t think they get along very well,” states Diaz. (Ah, so that explains it.)

Any chance Gloria might adopt a dog to hang around the Hump Bar on “Army Wives?”

“I would love that. Perhaps Gloria would adopt a Maltipoo that goes by the name of Rico,” laughs Diaz with a little wink.

I have read that you are a fitness buff. How do you keep Rico in shape?

“Lots of walks. He actually walks me at times.”

You are a very busy working actress. What is the toughest part of spending time away from Rico?

“Spending time away from Rico is the toughest part about being away on location. Since he is a family dog he stays with my parents while I am away, but our bond is so strong that when I am at home we make up for it by spending lots of time playing and hanging out together,” says Diaz.

What’s the best part about having a dog in your life?

“The best part of having a dog in my life is the pure and unwavering love and loyalty a dog can offer. Rico always cheers me up when I am down and I can always count on him to make me laugh.”

Alyssa loves to hear from her fans and fellow dog lovers. Find her on Twitter at MissAlyssaDiaz and on Instagram at AlyDiaz, where you can catch some more cute photos of Rico. And don’t forget to check out “Army Wives” on Lifetime, Sundays at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific and 8:00 Central.

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