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Marnee Carpenter, who plays Catherine Martin in Clarice, adores working with the dog who plays Precious on the show, a Bichon Frise named Kendall

By Kelli Bender
April 02, 2021 03:43 PM
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Precious the dog in Clarice
Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS

Amongst the silence of the lambs you may hear a bit of barking.

CBS's new crime drama Clarice explores what happens to FBI Agent Clarice Starling following the events depicted in the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs. Agent Starling isn't the only character from the movie to appear in the series; Buffalo Bill's snow-white Bichon Frise Precious also returns.

In Clarice, viewers learn that Precious, after being pulled from Buffalo Bill's home, is adopted by Catherine Martin, the senator's daughter kidnapped by Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs and saved by Clarice at the end of the film.

Actress Marnee Carpenter takes on the role of Catherine Martin for the character's return in Clarice, which also means she is the cast member who gets to spend the most time with Kendall, the sweet and professional pooch that plays Precious in the show.

"Catherine and Precious are together pretty often so it's nice to see Kendall on set each time," Carpenter tells PEOPLE.

Thanks to their numerous scenes together, Carpenter and Kendall have formed a sweet bond that the human actress says helps her "stay present" while filming the show.

"She's great, especially since this is her first professional acting job! She definitely wants to play and is really patient with me when we have to sit in one spot for a while," Carpenter shares, noting how comfortable the dog is around all the chaos on set. "We had one scene where I kept having to scoop her up over and over again to rush out the door, and she never made a fuss."

Precious the dog in Clarice
Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS

Carpenter helps Kendall put forth her best performance as well.

"Kendall and I definitely know each other very well now. I know how to help her settle in, and I feel like she knows the difference between me just being myself and when I have to step in as Catherine," she says.

"I'm always impressed that Kendall seems to naturally sense when she needs to quiet down for a take," Carpenter adds. "Many film animals are used to doing this frequently, but she's new to it all and picking it up fast with the help of her handlers."

As a lifelong animal lover, working with Kendall is especially comforting and fun for Carpenter, who says days on set with the dog "make me feel at home."

Precious the dog in Clarice
Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS

Carpenter has had pet pooches all her life, starting with a greyhound named Toby that her family rescued from a race track. Since moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting, Carpenter has fostered 40 dogs, helping the shelter pets find their forever homes. Unsurprisingly, one of those adopters ended up being Carpenter herself.

"I've got my rad sidekick Tilda who is a 12-pound, 8-year-old spitfire. She was one of my many foster dogs initially. I brought her home a couple of years ago to help me train another foster dog who was a bit reactive with small dogs," she explains of her current pet. "Not only did she help him mellow out, but low and behold, we just couldn't leave each other's side. She didn't have an easy road, and I'm so proud of how far she's come. She's so brave and has continued to help me train many dogs since."

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Along with her career as an actor, Carpenter also owns an "in-home training service that focuses on adjusting dogs to their adoptive homes." Working with Kendall offers Carpenter the opportunity to blend her skills as an actress and dog trainer.

"In working on Clarice, I've been most excited to help with Kendall and make sure that we achieve each shot together. During the pilot episode, we were able to adjust one scene to help her get one move across the room just right. It was so rewarding to have a solution in mind and see it play out on camera. I'm just happy that she's comfortable with me. Earning a dog's trust is the best feeling," Carpenter says of collaborating with Kendall.

She hopes that animal lovers watching her and Kendall work together on screen as Catherine and Precious are inspired to adopt a pet of their own to partner up with.

"Or foster one because that's really awesome too," she adds.

To see more of Kendall/Precious and Carpenter, watch new episodes of Clarice on CBS on Thursdays at 10 p.m.