When officials wouldn’t let him add the name of his beloved late dog Loki to the star, he told them where they could stick their star.
Recently, when he planted his hands and feet in the wet cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, officials were only too happy to let him write the name of Loki.
"Dogs saved my life," he said. "I wouldn't be here without Loki."
In the 1980’s and early ’90’s Mickey showed all the signs of becoming a Hollywood legend on a par with James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Robert De Niro. But then it all fell apart for him. He became difficult to work with, unpredictable, even dangerous. There were signs of mental illness and substance abuse.
In what seems to be a pattern of self-destruction, he returned to his early career as a professional boxer. Although he won six out of eight fights against minor opponents, he suffered significant injuries that required reconstructive surgery to his face. Unfortunately as he said, he “went to the wrong guy to put my face back together.”
He lost his wife, his friends, his career.
At one point he was sitting on the floor of his closet with enough drugs to end his life when he looked into the eyes of his Chihuahua mix, Beau Jack.
The dog was looking at me going, "Who's going to take care of me?"
That was the point when he began to turn his life around. He adopted more dogs, including Loki, a daughter of Beau Jack. He became active in animal welfare issues and eventually was able to make a remarkable recovery of his acting career.
From the depths of his depression, his dogs brought him back to the world of living.
Stanley Goren, one of my favorite writers, gives a scientific explanation of how dogs help defeat stress and depression in an article on Mickey in Psychology Today citing a study that showed
...the person's blood pressure lowered, his heart rate slowed, breathing became more regular and muscle tension relaxed-all of which are signs of reduced stress. Source
Reviving a career that most people thought was dead, Mickey won a role in Once Upon a Time in Mexico in 2003 and Sin City in 2005. In 2009 he won the Golden Globe for The Wrestler, playing an aging wrestler attempting a comeback. He beat out Leonardo DiCaprio, Frank Langella, Brad Pitt, and Sean Penn for the award.
In his acceptance speech he thanked among others his dogs.
I'd like to thank all my dogs, the ones that are here, the ones that aren't here anymore, because sometimes when a man's alone that's all you got is your dog, and they meant the world to me.
Mickey and Loki were inseparable until she died at the age of 18. She accompanied him on the set, to Hollywood premieres and galas. He even paid over $5400 to have someone fly with her to England where he was on location because he missed her so much.
He said of Loki,
She's like a giant Xanax, you know? I'm not going to get religious on your ass, but I truly believe God created dogs for a cause. They are the greatest companions a man could ever have.
There are many medications on the market to help people overcome stress and depression.
But the thing with dogs is, they don’t have unpleasant side effects.