21 December 2018
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Ariel Winter knew her lines: “Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit.” But her co-star, a brindled hound mix named Tigger, didn’t budge.

It was the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and Ms. Winter, a dog lover, had come to Animal Haven, a shelter on Centre Street in Lower Manhattan that finds home for abandoned dogs and cats.

In town to promote “Modern Family,” the popular sitcom she has starred in for 10 seasons, Ms. Winter had taken the afternoon off to volunteer at the shelter and record a public service announcement.

In Los Angeles, where she lives, Ms. Winter works with the Westside German shepherd Rescue and American Humane. Four dogs (Casper, Chloe, Cash and Cleo) populate the Culver City home she shares with her boyfriend, the actor Levi Meaden.

“Our house would be filled with dogs if it was up to me,” she said. “But four is our max right now. We try to give them all enough attention.”

At Animal Haven, she wanted to do whatever was needed, with one request: no cats. “I’m allergic,” she told Tiffany Lacey, the executive director of the shelter. “I’m not going to get hives or anything, just a seriously stuffed up nose.”

Ms. Lacey said that cats were kept in a separate area and handed Ms. Winter a purple volunteer shirt that clashed cheerfully with her plaid pants and red boots.

For her first job as volunteer, Ms. Winter, who has a sweet, bright voice and the outsize eyes of an anime character, was assigned to romp with Delilah, a 4-year-old silver terrier mix rescued from Puerto Rico. “Oh, girl!” Ms. Winter said as she scratched her ears. “So sweet.”

Delilah had other admirers to greet, so Ms. Lacey took Ms. Winter on a tour of the kennels downstairs, comfortable rooms brightened by a skylight. She waved to the dogs in each berth as she heard stories of their rescues. (more…)