By Jennifer Kennedy
Warm, funny and always relevantly entertaining, Tichina Arnold shines on the CBS Monday night hit comedy “The Neighborhood,” but her English Bulldog Alice likes to steal the show on Instagram videos. The talented actress and singer and her equally talented singer and songwriter daughter Alijah don’t mind though. Alice is the star in their LA home even though Tichina has amassed a 2 million+ Instagram following thanks not only to her current role on the CBS-TV comedy but for parts on Everybody Hates Chris, Little Shop of Horrors and Martin.
Tichina tells PET LIFESTYLES that her 17-year old daughter, Alijah, and her dog have a true sibling rivalry - and a loving relationship! When she recently bought a gorgeous blue rug, Alijah asked if she could put it her bedroom. They soon discovered it was missing. After searching high and low, they discovered that Alice had decided it was hers. She felt it was nap-worthy and brought it into a different room to sleep. In true sister form, Alice and Alijah fought over the rug for days, dragging it back and forth.
Who won the battle of the blue rug? Our money is on Alice. Tichina laughs, “Alice is the most stubborn dog I’ve ever had, but she is a great dog. She’s determined to get her fair share - or more - of love. She will walk up to you to make sure you know it’s time to pay attention to her.”
Whenever possible, Alice goes where Tichina and Alijah go. She loves to jump into the backseat of the car to take Alijah to school. As the musically gifted mother and daughter belt out song lyrics, Alice bops her head to the beat. Hip-hop is her favorite.
Tichina first encountered English Bulldogs as a child walking down the street with her cousin. The dog broke from the leash and chased them. As she giggled and her cousin ran, they marveled at how fast an animal with such short legs could run.
Years later, when she appeared on “Celebrity Wife Swap,” she was paired with a family that had a house full of pets. Her favorite was an English bulldog named Alice and they became fast friends. This experience led her to adopt two of her own, first Marley, then Alice.
When Marley died, she recalls how she helped Alice mourn for six months before she could grieve herself. Tichina adds, “Unfortunately, as dog parents, we have to brace ourselves that we are going to outlive our pets.” The actress has ashes and paw prints for every dog she’s owned and cites loss as the hardest part of pet ownership.
Despite the pain, Tichina knows it’s well worth it. “I’ve never been without a dog. I don’t know what life is like without a dog.”
As an adult her first pet was an American Pit Bull Terrier named Storm that she remembers fondly as the sweetest 100-pound lap dog. Over the years she raised three litters of puppies. At one time, she owned four Pit Bulls, a Chihuahua, and a Shih-Tzu. All six dogs shared the bed with her each night.
She’s thrilled to have turned family and friends into dog lovers. The actress proudly states, “I’ve had people come into my house petrified of dogs, especially Pit Bulls. By the time they left, they wanted one.”
Tichina feels, “Everyone deserves a pet. Be open to the right one for you. A pet invites empathy into your life, allows you to feel comforted and to experience love no matter what. Once you have a pet in your life, it changes you - and how you approach every day - for the better.” Take Tichina’s advice and see for yourself how having a four-legged creature around makes a difference you’ll genuinely appreciate.
Follow the adventures of Tichina (@tichinarnold) and Alice on Instagram and Twitter.