Melissa Villaseñor gets paid to make people laugh on “SNL.”
While her work as an “SNL” cast member is quite enviable, it’s still a job. And at the end of the day, it’s nice to have “a little pal” to come home to.
At the suggestion of her co-star Cecily Strong, she decided to adopt a dog from the same shelter that Strong got her dog, Lucy, Best Friends Animal Society.
Before even meeting the dog in person, Villaseñor fell in love with a photo of a little puppy that was found on the street. “I immediately was like, that’s my doggie,” she said.
In March, she brought Penny home.
Having grown up with all kinds of dogs at home, from a lab mix to a german shepherd to a schnauzer, the breed wasn’t something that mattered. It was important, however, to adopt a dog.
“I think there’s just so many dogs out there that need a home and they’re all sweet and they just all deserve a home, Villaseñor said.
As part of her commitment to finding animals a good home, Villaseñor partnered with Clear the Shelters and designed a t-shirt starring her and her dog Penny. 100% of the net proceeds go to Greater Good and Clear the Shelters funds.
Villaseñor is a self-described “yarn fanatic.” For the t-shirt design, she drew a yarn-like version of herself to represent how she felt “messy and wonky.” Penny is seen as herself as she’s what “grounds” her and serves as her comfort and is her “little protector.”
In these challenging times, she’s grateful that Penny’s always there. “There’s one day you’re feeling good and the next you’re like, boom, I’m a mess today,” Villaseñor said.
Recently, Villaseñor dealt with the passing of her uncle, and she described how Penny somehow knew that she was grieving and offered her comfort by placing her head on her knee.
“She can really feel when something is gloomy and I think that’s just amazing,” Villaseñor said.
Penny has also taught her to appreciate life more, in general. When they’re out walking together, Penny will often stop to smell the flowers. Penny also loves to hop and run in the grass. Seeing how fun it is for her, she now walks barefoot in the grass and notices how nice it feels on the bottom of her feet. Villaseñor also says Penny helps her to be present and even spontaneous.
“I just love seeing Penny run around, especially at a dog park or my parent’s backyard. Just seeing a dog jump for joy gives me the most warmth and happiness,” she said. “I think that’s something that I’d like to see every day.”