It was a German Shepherd co-star that gave actor Will Smith his love of dogs – despite being initially nervous…

“I wasn’t nervous about many things and I did like the look of dogs, but I never got too close to them. I don’t know why, really, because I don’t recall ever having a bad experience with them. Now, I can recall having very many great experiences with them – and a lot of fun.

“When we were shooting a movie called I Am Legend, I had to work closely with a German Shepherd called Abbey, who was playing the part of Sam, a young dog given to my character by my screen daughter who died in the story. So, Abbey and I spent a lot of time together. She was big and bouncy, but looked great, and I wanted to get close to her.

“Abbey’s owner and trainer, Steve Berens, patiently introduced us and gave us confidence in each other. That was it! I was with her all the time and we became the best of friends. I liked having her around and when the movie production ended, I wanted to keep her. I was no longer nervous of any sort of dog and kind of fell in love with her. Steve was also attached to her, though, and so she stayed with him. He did say that we had bonded really well, which was nice to hear. It was the end of the movie, but the start of a different approach to dogs for me.”…

Read the full interview by Bernard Bale in the February issue

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