by Nicole Pajer
When Fran Drescher’s Pomeranian Chester passed away, he left a hole in her heart “the size of the Grand Canyon.” The dog had not only served as Drescher’s companion for 19 years but had also helped to nurse her back from cancer.
Six months later, she realized it was time to move on. While searching for Chester’s replacement, the actress stumbled upon a chocolate Pomeranian puppy in a Beverly Hills pet store. “She was very tiny, and she looked like a little bat,” says Drescher, who named the small dog Esther.
Drescher’s tiny companion fit right into her lifestyle, earning a recurring role as the family dog on her sitcom “Happily Divorced”, traveling with her to various locations, and attending fancy Hollywood events like Elton John’s post-Oscar soirée.
In addition to her big screen status, Esther catches attention for being an extremely rare brown Pomeranian. “She’s a Pomeranian mixed with Ewok,” says Drescher, laughing, who adds that “What kind of dog is that?” is the question she’s most often asked, followed by, “Is that your real voice?” The actress says her dog is often mistaken for a cat, a marsupial, or a baby bear. In fact, her assistant was once stopped by an airport security agent, who warned her, “You can’t take a bear on the plane!”
The Emmy-nominated actress maintains that her 11-year-old companion is so unique that in all the years she’s had Esther, she’s never crossed paths with another Pomeranian with her coloring. “She’s very unusual, and sometimes I joke that she was sent down from another planet to observe our species,” say Drescher.
“The planet where she came from must not have dogs there, so they kind of put her together to look like a dog. They learned that dogs were man’s best friend, but they couldn’t really discern that what they put together wasn’t really a normal-looking dog because they’ve never really seen one.”
In addition to her unique appearance, Esther has a signature bark that is far from the typical dog’s. “She quacks like a duck, so at the risk of pot-kettle-black, she has a very funny voice,” says Drescher.
Though Esther came from a pet store, Drescher is an advocate for animal rescue. When she was looking for a puppy, there weren’t many rescue associations for Pomeranians, let alone small dogs.
“As much as I am a big believer that there is the right home for every dog, it was sort of slim pickings back then. I travel too much to get a really big dog and that’s all I was finding when I was looking for Esther,” she says.
Drescher adds that she’s thrilled to see a surge in rescue groups that specialize in small apartment dogs and specific breeds. “It’s becoming more specific — the rescue organizations — which is a good thing, because it helps encourage people that have specific needs to adopt a pet that is perfectly suitable for them.”
According to Drescher, Esther has a very special energy, which makes her a joy to wake up to every day. “She casts her spell on all whose path she crosses. It makes them feel very calm, happy, and peaceful,” she says. “I think that she has some kind of really old soul or something about her. She doesn’t seem like a regular dog.”
Although she never thought she’d be able to fill the void left by Chester’s passing, Drescher says that Esther has taught her that moving on is possible. “I’ve learned that there’s love after loss,” she says. “The heart has the ability to love and lose and love again in a whole different way—but equally meaningful and significant and deep and rich and glorious!”
Esther’s Healthy Lifestyle
After overcoming uterine cancer in 2000, Drescher altered her lifestyle and made an effort to focus on being healthy. The Nanny actress now adheres to a diet that is largely plant-based, organic, and gluten-free, and Esther is following in her footsteps.
“Pomeranians tend to like being vegetarians,” says Drescher, who explains that Esther eats a very “pristine diet” consisting of mainly whole foods. “The only kibble that she will occasionally eat that might be considered a dog food is a totally organic homeopathic brand that doesn’t have any animal products in it,” she says.
Though Esther used to snack on the occasional organic and free-range chicken breast, she recently developed a case of pancreatitis, and Drescher has since altered her diet to better help manage her condition. Fortunately, Esther is happier than ever with her new food regimen. “She’s thrilled! All carbs and no protein — that’s every girl’s fantasy diet!” chirps Drescher.
What’s a typical meal for Esther these days? “She has sweet potatoes and gluten-free pasta and sprouted-grain bread. She also likes tofu and black bean burgers, so that’s what she’s been eating,” says Drescher.