The actor’s many pets, including a tortoise, have taught his children to connect to the earth

By Vanessa J. Diaz
Updated May 03, 2011 06:30 PM

Like many parents, Patrick Dempsey can’t pick a favorite among his kids –or his furkids, for that matter. The Grey’s Anatomy star has rescue animals by the dozen (literally), including dogs, miniature donkeys, cats, and even a tortoise, but he loves them all equally.

“All of them become part of your family,” Dempsey told at IWC Schaffhausen and Peter Lindberg’s “A Night in Portofino” event last week. “They become a part of the kids’ lives in a profound way. It’s a big extended family.”

Having so many animals does require that Dempsey and his family spend lots of time with all of them. “We have the rounds,” he said. “We go around and make sure you say hello to everybody during the day. The donkeys, and certainly the tortoise.”

Even Dempsey’s 4-year-old twin boys, Sullivan and Darby, love the animals. As a parent, Dempsey makes this a priority. He said, “The way of life is really connecting them to the earth and being understanding of what it is and what’s it’s about – the garden and the land.”