Paige Howard is an actress and writer from Greenwich, Connecticut. She is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and made her feature film debut in the comedy Adventureland (2009), which starred Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg. She made her professional stage debut as the title character in the off-Broadway production of J. M. Barrie’s play Mary Rose at New York City’s Vineyard Theatre. She has done several independent films such as Cheesecake Casserole and The Employer. She has been in Medium, 90210, and can most recently be seen in the television series Happy!. She currently lives in the West Village in Manhattan with her Southern California rescue and love of her life, Beau—and her fiancé.
Did you grow up with dogs?
I grew up on a mini farm in Connecticut. My mom [Cheryl Howard] is a huge animal lover and my dad [Ron Howard] was kind of a reluctant animal lover, but he just fell in love with animals because we were always around them. Mom was constantly getting some new animal. My whole life, we’ve always had at least three or four dogs and then miniature donkeys, peacocks, cats, and goats. Lots of fun things all the time.
How did Beau come into your life?
I got Beau when I was living in California. It was at one of those times in my life when I was going through such a hard time and was in a really, really rough place. This little baby just kind of reached right into my chest and put my heart back. I found him in a newspaper. He was an hour and a half from Los Angeles—there was no picture or anything like that. I just knew. He walked right up to me, nuzzled into my side, and fell fast asleep. That’s how I knew he was The One.
“He’s a minimalist—he doesn’t like to have too many toys; otherwise, he just doesn’t touch any of them. But he’s a real ball chaser.”
I love that. A lot of people seem to get dogs when they’re going through a milestone moment in their life, good or bad.
Dogs are so unbelievably healing. For myself, I felt stuck in an abusive relationship and my self-worth was completely crushed, I was so disconnected from myself. And then I got Beau, his love sort of super-charged me and I was like, “See ya!” And never looked back. Our journey began!
When you’re in a rough place, I think we can become truly skeptical and afraid of love and almost question what we deserve and what love we’re capable of ourselves. This little pup has been such a good teacher of unconditional love.
I would sob—I would literally cry because it was so much to take in. Beau taught me that love can be intense, but it doesn’t have to be painful.
Why did you name him Beau?
It’s pretty cheesy. Beau is a word of affection in French and can be interpreted as “my love”. I really wanted to step away from relationships for awhile—Since college I had always been in back-to-back relationships. Truly, a serial monogamist. I decided that he was going to be the man in my life and I stepped away from romantic relationships for a good 3-to-4 years. I learned to be on my own, and it was so much fun! He really brought me so much courage and companionship; he was my little Beau, and he was all I needed.
Tell us about a day in the life with you and Beau.
We both wake up pretty early, so we’ll wake up and lay in bed a little bit. We always start each day with a really good cuddle—if we don’t, I’ll hear about it all day. Then, we’ll go on a little walk around the neighborhood and we’ll have breakfast. I’ll make tea and get him his breakfast. He’s a very, very, very picky eater—shockingly picky. He won’t touch fish, which surprises me. I was hoping some fish oil would help his sensitive skin, but he hates it. He won’t do it. But we’ve gotten into the routine of feeding him Stella & Chewy Raw Coated Kibble.
When I go to The Wing, he’ll hang out at home. I take a lot of meetings at my home office or I’ll do a couple hours of work at The Wing and then I’ll take Beau on another walk in the afternoon. Of course, my fiancé [Tim] is incredibly supportive and obsessive with Beau—I think more obsessed with Beau than he is with me!
Tim and I will then go out to dinner or we’ll just whip something up—I love to cook—so we’ll all cook together in the kitchen and Beau’s always there. He just follows us around everywhere. We’ll play some music or throw on some Netflix and light a fire. I’ll take a bath—my favorite kind of “me time”—and Beau will sit with me. He’s the most devoted creature on the planet.
Was your fiancé a dog person when you met him?
No, not at all.
I love when that happens.
He always says, Beau is the greatest surprise of his life. I try not to take it personally! He’s a really romantic, loving, compassionate man. It’s funny though, when he came into my life, he was perfectly fine with dogs, but he never wanted a dog himself. He was one of those people who thought everyone else was way too weird about their dogs, and now the sun rises and sets with Beau. I find it really charming and sweet.
When did you introduce Beau in the courtship process?
[Tim] and I were doing an acting class together, and he came over to do a scene and rehearse. It was the first time we had a real conversation. And it was just amazing right out of the gate. But Beau certainly vetted him the minute he stepped foot in the apartment. Tim got on the floor with him immediately and rolled around with him for a bit. Beau approved. The rest is history.
“I’m very food motivated and Beau is not at all.”
I love that you—and Beau—changed your fiancé’s life.
Yes, truly. To love a dog and to be loved by a dog is life changing.
Do you ever bring Beau on set when filming?
Absolutely. I don’t bring him all the time depending on set rules. But he’s great. He comes to acting classes with me. He’s great on planes. He’s a great traveler. He’s great on the subway. Planes, trains, and automobiles. (Like the movie.) I bring him as many places as I possibly can because he’s the best and I don’t ever like to be apart from him!
Has Beau ever performed with you?
No, not yet. Tim and I are writing something together and we were thinking about sneaking Beau onstage with us.
A show biz family! He’s a natural. Tell us about the DNA test that Beau took.
We did Embark. I just wanted to know what little things made up this amazing creature. I also wanted to get a lay of the land as far as his health was concerned. I did 23andMe for myself as well, so it was natural to do it for my little pup as well. What about you?
Yeah, we did Wisdom Panel because Artemis is a rescue, and it was surprising because everyone thought she was part-Chihuahua, but apparently she’s zero-percent Chihuahua.
Isn’t that wild? They look so much like these breeds but because of how it’s mixed together, they’re not that breed.
You must get this too, then—I get asked all the time what kind of dog Beau is. And I don’t really know; he’s a little bit of this and that. So I say, “He’s an all-American mutt”—like many of us! After doing Embark, I now know Beau is Poodle, Shih Tzu, Cavalier King Charles [Spaniel]. He’s a super-mutt!
Tell us about his grooming routine. He’s so pearly white!
The greatest shock to me is how even when he’s filthy, he still looks so white. He’s so low to the ground in New York City, so it’s mind-blowing. But he has sensitive skin, so I’ll bathe him every three-to-four weeks with Zymox Shampoo and Conditioning Rinse for Itch Relief. It’s fragrance-free and I highly recommend it. We also go to D is for Doggy for boarding and grooming, like haircuts. They take amazing care of him.
What do you and Beau have in common?
Well, we both have sensitive skin and we’re both very light and fair. We’re both righties. We both love to cuddle. We both have freckles. But I’m very food motivated and Beau is not at all. I’ll do tricks for treats any day of the week—he could care less.
Tell us about how Beau plays.
He’s a minimalist—he doesn’t like to have too many toys; otherwise, he just doesn’t touch any of them. But he’s a real ball chaser.
“Beau taught me that love can be intense, but it doesn’t have to be painful.”
Do you identify as a dog mom?
I am a proud dog mom. It’s the real deal. He is my son 100 percent, and anyone who knows me knows that. He’s the center of my world—I just love him so much.
Photography by Tayler Smith