Jane Lynch’s Glee-Filled Life With Dogs

A Lhaso Apso runs and plays on a beautiful spring day

If you have ever been to an airport, then you have probably had a flight delayed. What is one to do to pass the time, but people watch, as you never know whom you might see?

My biggest airport thrill as a child was waiting for a plane and running into Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart, from the WWF. Hey, for a 12 year-old boy, it was quite a thrill. So it comes as no surprise to me that the airport is the favorite place of Olivia, Jane Lynch’s (“Glee,” “Two and a Half Men”) Lhasa Apso.

“Olivia is almost 13, and a piece of work. She is a people person and has no interest in other dogs. Her favorite place in the world is the airport, where all of her fans stop to pet her and tell her how cute she is. She wags her tail so hard she is almost lifted off the ground,” says Lynch.


So is it true that Jane’s Lhaso Apso is named for Olivia Newton-John? “I either wanted a daughter named Olivia, or a dog named Olivia. I got the dog first,” laughs Lynch.

“Olivia Newton-John was my favorite singer, Olivia de Havilland (is) my favorite actress, and I played Olivia in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” When I met my dog at an adoption fair, I said Olivia and she gave me this look that said, ‘Yeah, whatever lady, just get me out of here!’”

As a child, Lynch’s family had a tiny three-pound teacup poodle named Pepe La Mocco. “Pepe La Mocco was very cranky and only loved my sister. He would ferociously run to bark at whoever came in the door. The breeze from the door closing would knock him back off his little feet.”

Even if Pepe La Mocco didn’t love Lynch, she is now surrounded by the loving Olivia, and Francis, a year-old Australian koolie mix rescue dog. “Francis is six times the size of Olivia, and very sweet. He would love to be Olivia’s friend, but he is one of those dogs she has no interest in. It’s too bad,” says Lynch.

Why Adopt?

So what made Lynch want to adopt a dog? “I adopt for the same reason most people adopt, to give a doggy a home (that) needs one.”

So what advice would Lynch have for someone who is looking to adopt a dog? “Look into rescues first even if you have a particular breed in mind. There’s probably a rescue organization that specializes in the breed you are looking for,” adds Lynch.

So how did Jane come to get involved with PETA and being an advocate for pet adoption? “PETA asked me to do some PSAs for them. I love their work. I love animals and was happy to advocate for them.”

Jane is a very busy working actress who can currently be seen on Fox’s hit “Glee.” So what is the toughest part for Jane about spending time away from her dogs? “Not being with my doggies all day long is hard. Getting Francis enough exercise and arranging play dates is a challenge. My wife (Dr. Lara Embry) gets him out a fair bit though,” adds Lynch.

Along with starring in a hit TV show, Jane has also acted in dozens of movies, including “Best in Show,” a movie about (what else) dog shows. So would Jane ever enter any of her dogs in a dog show? “In ‘Best in Show,’ we never once had to stop a scene because a dog was barking. I don’t want my pup that well-behaved. I like em‘ sloppy,” says Lynch.

Having played therapists on both “Two and a Half Men” and “Boston Legal,” does Jane believe in dog therapy? “Dogs don’t need therapy, people do!” Lynch insists. “Olivia has been my therapy dog for 13 years. I have learned to love, to trust, and to think about something other than myself.”

On “Glee,” Lynch plays, Sue Sylvester, who doesn’t seem like the nicest person in the world. Does Jane think Sue might be a kinder person if she had a dog in her life? “I think Sue Sylvester would benefit from having a dog in the same way Jane Lynch has! See the above answer!”

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