Joan Rivers’ Dogs Permitted to Visit Her Hospital Suite Before Her Passing

by Patrick Mahaney on October 16, 2014

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on as Joan Rivers’ Dogs Permitted to Visit Her Hospital Suite Before Her Passing

9_10.lgI really hope that this will be the last of the celebrity animal lover memorials I’ll be writing for some time. First, we lost Robin Williams,
then went Lauren Bacall. Now, one of the pioneers of media, comedy, and women’s opportunity in Hollywood has left us. Yes, Joan Rivers has vacated the high profile stage that was her life.

Personally, I feel a loss as I have been a devoted fan of E!’s Fashion Police since its inception. In fact, I’m bummed that the show is now on indefinite hiatus. I looked forward to watching each episode and frequently saw my clients on the red carpet getting critiqued by Rivers. Additionally, I’ve seen Rivers perform stand-up comedy on a Caribbean cruise and must say she’s one of the funniest comedians I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience. After Rivers went into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a surgical procedure, she was placed on life-support at Mount Sinai Hospital. Life support was eventually turned off when it was deemed that Rivers would not recover normal function nor survive without mechanical assistance.

Rivers’ daughter Melissa released a statement on September 4, 2014 saying “she passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends.” Reported, some of those family members included Rivers’ canine companions. NY Post columnist Cindy Adams, a long time friends of Rivers, told HollywoodLife “Mount Sinai even allowed her dogs in for a moment to kiss Mommy.”

Joan and Her Dogs

Over the years, Rivers has had many dogs. I notably recall Rivers posing with her Yorkshire Terrier Spike in a Milk Does a Body Good magazine advertisement where she claimed skim milk wouldn’t contribute to her “problem thigh.”  According to, Rivers called Spike “Half-Yorkie, half rat” and revealed his hobbies to be karate-kicking at fire hydrants and sleeping and his favorite food to be rare roast beef sandwich without mayonnaise or mustard.

Additionally, there was another Yorkshire Terrier, Veronica, who accompanied Rivers and Spike during their appearances on QVC shopping channel to help promote her jewelry line. Rivers revealed their on-set habits in stating “Spike usually stays on the show with me the entire time. Veronica comes on second. Sometimes she’ll nap, and sometimes she won’t.”

Rivers also reportedly had a Boston Terrier named Lulu (Lulabell), who also made occasional appearances on QVC and was a gift from her fiancé Orin Lehman.

When Spike passed away, Rivers reportedly got her first Japanese Chin named Max. According to the Cesar’s Way article Joan Rivers: Remembering Max “Max was a rescue who had been through two bad homes. He was as happy to find me as I was to find him. I live alone, and my dogs are my best friends. It’s funny as I always get these rescues of breeds that I am not a big fan of, but once I get to know the dogs I absolutely love them.” After a lengthy illness, Max passed away and his burial was featured on Rivers’ reality show “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best.”

By Rivers’ side at Mount Sinai were Teegan, a Japanese Chin that came into her life after Max’s passing and Havanese about whom few details are known.

According to the Cesar’s Way interview, Teegan had some behavior problems when he first became a member of Rivers’ home. Evidently, “Teegan is a rescue and when we first got him he would growl at everyone. He was very feisty. When you bring in a rescue you get to watch their personality change as a lot of them have been through so much. A lot of them are scared or timid at first, but as the relationship develops there is trust built, and their personalities change.

Teegan and I are now at a point where we both realize how lucky we were to find each other. Teegan is so happy that he found a home. Everyone comments that Teegan is the sweetest most adorable dog. It took a little bit of training. He really had to know that I was the alpha, it’s not enough to say: “Well, I pay the rent.”

It’s great to hear that a successful and wealthy entertainment personality like rivers would go through the route of rescuing a purebred dog instead of simply seeking out a pet store or breeder to make the purchase of her canine companion.

Rivers was involved in animal philanthropy causes and financially contributed to Guide Dogs of America, an organization which has reportedly repeatedly given dogs in training the name Rivers.  She also worked with Lucy Pet Foundation, which provides mobile space and neuters across the United States.

Besides Teegan and the aforementioned Havanese, Rivers is survived by a Jack Russell Terrier and a Border Collieboth of whom reside in California.

May Joan Rivers rest in peace and her legacy and philanthropic deeds live on for years to come.

Photo via Joan Rivers Instagram

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.
Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.


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