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Before Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford had children, her dog Oliver taught her a thing or two about taking care of a baby.

But when the actress, 42, picked up the terrier she describes as “kind of an Australian cattle dog” 15 years ago, he also gave her something in return.

“My dog Oliver definitely saved me,” she tells me. “He was a little puppy. We rescued each other. I think we think we rescue dogs or we rescue animals, but they really rescue us in the end. They keep everything in balance. I’ve lived in homes and felt so safe knowing that if he heard anything, he would bark. He protects my kids, he’s with us all the time. He keeps the house calm and loving.”

She continues, “I think animals are so in tune with nature and we have so much to learn from them that we haven’t even discovered yet. Especially in our eco-system.”

Now that Hermes, 4, and Helena, 2, are in the picture, Oliver knows his place.

“They love him,” she says. “It’s perfect timing because he was a little bit older when I had kids, so he was much more calm. He got so much attention when he was a puppy – he was kind of my first child. It was good practice. Now, he’s calm, he gets it, and his pace is the same as ours. I used to throw the ball for hours for him. For hours. He had a lot of energy. Now he’s at our pace –good with the kids. He’s great. He sets boundaries. He doesn’t let them jump all over him, but he is totally sweet with them.”

Even at 15 years old, friendly Oliver still enjoys being the center of attention.

“He loves to roll around. We were just in the Hamptons, and he was rolling around in the grass – we bought him this little toy. He was rolling all over, rolling around on the grass. He’s silly. And then he runs around with it in his mouth. And then he puts a dog bone in his mouth, and a tennis ball, and then he tries to put the toy in it, and then he prances around the house as if he’s trying to show everyone all of his toys. Everyone’s like ‘Oliver, that’s too much! You can’t do that.’”

Wait, he can put three things in his mouth at once?

“No, he can put the dog bone and the tennis ball, but that’s it. He can’t put the toy [in his mouth]. And then he walks around looking like ‘can somebody take the toy? Can somebody carry the toy around for me?’”

Aww!

Here’s my pic with Kelly:

Pick up the OK! on newsstands now for an Entertainment interview with Kelly Rutherford. The cover line is “Kim’s Big News: It’s Baby Time!”
Look out for Kelly supporting her many favorite animal charities, such as the Humane Society of the United States Presents Chefs For Seals event.
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