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The Boston Globe


G Force

Adopting a rescue dog is purely an act of love

Actress-director Liv Ullmann with her husband, Donald Saunders, and their rescue dog, Chelsea. The dachshund was left at the MSPCA sick and with a crooked leg.

Actress-director Liv Ullmann with her husband, Donald Saunders, and their rescue dog, Chelsea. The dachshund was left at the MSPCA sick and with a crooked leg.


Liv Ullmann


Ullmann is a Golden Globewinning actress (“The Emigrants” in 1971) who also has been nominated twice for an Oscar. Raised in Norway, Ullmann has lived in Boston for the past 28 years. She is also an animal lover who rescued a dachshund, Chelsea, from the local MSPCA. Ullmann talks about the newest member of her family, whether she thinks Boston is a pet-friendly city, and about her ties to Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv.

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Q. Have you always had pets?

A. Yes. Growing up, I had one fox terrier and one golden retriever.

Q. When and where did you adopt your dog?

A. We adopted her 2 years ago and we’re a little unsure of her age but we decided on 7. Sometimes I wish I was an animal because I’ve never ever seen such care of an animal in the world [as at the MSPCA].

Q. What made you choose her?

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A. [The MSPCA] knew that we had lost our dachshund some years ago and my husband [Boston developer Donald Saunders] didn’t want a new one, but while I was away in Norway they did phone and said they had this incredible little dachshund and he should at least come and look at her.

Q. What happened to her before she came to live with you?

A. She had been with someone for five years and they just left a letter that she was born at a flea market. She was sick, of course. Her left leg was completely crooked. But then at [Angell Animal Medical Center], they did an operation on her. . . . Now she has a perfect leg.

Q. What are three traits you love about Chelsea?

A. She loves to sit on the lap. She is so sweet. She is very people-oriented.

Q. Why did you name her Chelsea?

A. She was called Chelsea to the people who delivered her. We didn’t want to change that.

Q. Speaking of names, is it true you were the inspiration for Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv’s name?

A. Yes. I met her, Liv Tyler, many years ago in Cannes. I said, “I heard you were called after me,” and she said, “Oh, yes, I was.”

Q. Would you say Boston is a pet-friendly city?

A. I like what we can do in Europe, France, and Switzerland, and many places. [Dogs] are invited into the restaurant and get their own dish and water. I don’t expect that here. But when you walk in the Boston Common, of course, all the animal people talk. . . . I absolutely feel it’s a dog-friendly city.

Q. What is your advice to those thinking of rescuing a pet?

A. I think it’s very, very important to take it as seriously as when you are adopting a child. Make the dog feel very safe and very good in your environment. . . . Just know that you are going to receive so much love and affection. . . . It’s love that doesn’t ask for anything in return.

Q. On a personal note, are you working on a project right now?

A. Yes, I’m doing a movie next year in Ireland as a director.

Interview has been edited and condensed. Kristi Palma can be reached at kristi.palma@globe

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