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the inner dog




Designer Kari Whitman and Madison

By Mallory Messina

Celebrity Interior Designer Kari Whitman moved to California at a young age and started her career as an actress. She quickly decided to put her ambition and design talent to work, becoming one of the most sought after Interior Designers in Hollywood. Her work with celebrities like Emilio Estevez, Jessica Alba, Mario Lopez and Mandy Moore has garnered her the title the "Duchess of Design".

With her list of clients, a successful design firm, KWI (Kari Whitman Interiors), a line of paint called "Wall Makeup" and a new series, "Designer to the Stars: Kari Whitman", premiering on WE tv in March, you wouldn't think she'd have time for anything else. But since being blessed by the love of a rescued pet, Kari Whitman has devoted a big part of her time to her non-profit organization, "Ace of Hearts", which is dedicated to rescuing dogs and placing them in loving homes. Since its founding, Ace of Hearts, with the help of Kari and other celebrities such as Christina Aguilera and Jewel, has rescued over 1,000 dogs!

Kari takes her work with rescued pets home with her, where she has two four-legged babies, Lucy and Madison. Madison, who is featured with Kari in this Inner Dog, is a 5 year old American Bulldog-American Staff mix. Madison was very sick when she was found wandering the streets as a puppy, but Kari promised Madison she would keep her if she would get better. They've been together ever since, and we are excited to feature Kari and Madison in this Inner Dog.

What is her idea of perfect happiness?

Madi’s idea of perfect happiness is sitting back on her hind legs, facing me, her paws on my shoulders, eyes staring deep in mine, as I rub her belly. To Madi, it’s heaven.

What is her favorite treat?

Madi isn’t that into food. She’d take petting or any form of human affection over a bone any day! She’s a lover!

If she could change one thing about herself, what would it be?

I think Madison would change her udders. She has acquired a little tummy in her age!

What is her most treasured possession?

Madison is fickle with toys…She’ll get into a toy for a day, but then she’s over it. She, however, owns me, and I’d like to think that I’m her favorite possession!

What is her most endearing quality?

Her ability to love unconditionally!

Assuming there is such a thing as reincarnation, what or who might she have been in a former life?

I think Madi is the reincarnation of my dog Ace. She is so much like him! Ace was a dog I rescued from an LA shelter. He died at age 14 of cancer, and I started my foundation Ace of Hearts in his name. (

Is there anything that embarrasses her?

Madi gets embarrassed when she goes poop, or what we like to call “poopsie-doops.”

What is it that she dislikes most?

The sight of my suitcase, which means I’m leaving for a trip.

What is her greatest fear?

Like many dogs, Madison is terrified of the vacuum cleaner.

What is her greatest accomplishment?

Madi’s greatest accomplishment to date is surviving Parvo as a puppy. Parvo is a terrible virus that infects puppies, but Madi was a fighter and made it through!

What is her favorite place?

On my lap in the car, by my side in the bed, at my feet when I’m at my desk—anywhere near me!

What does she really like in other dogs?

Madi loves unneutered males—she rolls over and shows them her goods!

Does she have a motto?

All you need is love.

Photographs by Cami Johnson,