Gary And Carrie Fisher: A Love To Remember
Carrie Fisher — film-star, author, advocate, and all-round badass — has passed away aged 60. Carrie will always be remembered as Princess Leia, who recently revealed her “intense” affair with co-star Harrison Ford during the first installment of the Star Wars franchise.
If you need to cry it out, forget reruns of Han and Leia and skip right along to Carrie Fisher’s real true love: her dog Gary.
Gary was perfect for internet fame: lopsided tongue swinging in the wind, impeccable posing ability, and a love for his mom that could melt the heart of a White Walker.
But like Fisher herself, Gary was no one-trick puppy.
In addition to playing Princess Leia, Fisher was a mom, a puppy-parent, an author, and a serious advocate for promoting awareness about mental health. She wrote multiple books on the subject (and if you hadn’t already, you should add them to your Amazon cart now), and if she hadn’t discovered immortality as “the other” Skywalker, perhaps she would have discovered it based on her writing merits alone.
Diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 29, Carrie was frank and open about her struggle to maintain the ups and downs that come with mental illness. Like many other sufferers of mental illness, she turned to a four-legged friend to help her out.
Enter Gary, a French Bulldog therapy dog, who accompanied Carrie pretty much everywhere. From red carpets in Cannes to book signings, where Carrie went — Gary followed. And more often than not, he often stole the show, as he did here on this Good Morning America interview:
And here again, when Gary got to meet BB8 at a special screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and had a bit of a diva moment ...
And again, when Gary met Warwick Davis (aka Wicket the Ewok) at a 2016 celebration of Star Wars at Disneyland and was duly unimpressed.
Although it’s unknown who tweeted and ‘grammed on behalf of Gary, Carrie and her daughter Billie Lourd (of Scream Queens fame) have been documenting Gary’s adventures for the last three years on social media. Whoever wrote Gary’s tweets certainly had Carrie’s flair for biting wit and merging political commentary with comedy — all while keeping the tongue-in-cheek Star Wars references flowing for the fans.
Saw a screening of #TheForceAwakens. Why are their no dogs in space, JJ? That big walking carpet doesn't count.— Carrie Fisher's Dog (@Gary_TheDog) December 4, 2015
As a therapy dog, Gary got an all-access pass to Hollywood events. But in 2013, Fisher revealed that perhaps the “therapy” part of Gary’s title was mutually beneficial: "Gary is mental also," Fisher told the Herald Tribune. “My mother says Gary is a hooligan. Gary is like my heart. Gary is very devoted to me and that calms me down. He’s anxious when he’s away from me."
In 2016, Fisher, amongst others, campaigned to end the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China and attended a gathering in London to protest against it.
“There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end. But stopping the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and ending all that suffering is easy. All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops. These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone’s best friend.”
After Carrie was hospitalized, Gary and Billie kept a vigil at her bedside until she passed on Dec. 27.
Saddest tweets to tweet. Mommy is gone. I love you @carrieffisher— Carrie Fisher's Dog (@Gary_TheDog) December 27, 2016
Whatever legacies we leave behind in life, the love of our dogs is pure and simple. They just want to love us and be loved in return. Therapy dogs can make a dramatic improvement to the lives of those suffering either physically or mentally.
Gary and Carrie stood as a reminder to everyone impacted by mental illness that even in the darkest days, happiness is just around the corner. If you’re feeling extra emotional about Fisher’s passing of , consider giving a small donation or volunteering with a charity that supports dogs, such as the Humane Society or Paws With A Cause, who provide the training and means for those with disabilities to have a therapy dog.
In the same interview in which she discussed Gary the therapy dog, Fisher also had some words of wisdom for others suffering with mental illness who are afraid to pursue their dreams.
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
Good-bye, Carrie. Gary, and us, will miss you greatly.