The Beautiful Life actress says walking her pups helps keep her life in check

By Carlos Greer
Updated September 14, 2009 04:42 PM

Many celebrities rely on bodyguards and a coterie of assistants to keep them in touch with reality, but Mischa Barton’s entourage comes on twice as many legs.

“All kinds of things keep me grounded,” says the 23-year-old star. But it’s “my dogs and having to wake up and walk them every morning, and having to walk them before bed at night,” that really keeps her in a normal routine, Barton tells PEOPLE Pets. She’s even been photographed in costume tending to her doggy mom duties, including walking Pomeranian-Shih Tzu mix Ziggy and Charlie, a mixed breed rescue pup whom she adopted in 2005.

The actress is in New York to film her new CW series The Beautiful Life, though, lately, her own life’s been far from pretty. In July, she was reportedly hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. Barton says her close friends in the city have been her safety net, and that, eventually, the media madness will subside.

“I think, for the most part, I’ve been growing up in this city, and the people who do know me just know what I’m like,” she says. “And I’ve got a lot of good friends and the people in the press, who have seen me grow up, know me too. Eventually that comes across and people will eventually get over this thing for punishing people for being human.”

Click here to read more about Barton’s recent struggles and her new show on