The actor deals with vampires at work, and a fluffy West Highland terrier at home

By Reagan Alexander
Updated March 01, 2011 08:30 PM

Sam Trammell is a dog lover, which isn’t a surprise given that his True Blood character, Sam Merlotte, is a shape-shifter whose preferred body is that of a collie. Trammell infuses the role with doleful eyes, the eagerness to please, and the loyalty reminiscent of man’s best friend.

What is surprising is the fact that, after spending his days dealing with vampires, witches, and werewolves, Trammell curls up with a beast far different from anything that would turn up in even the darkest parts of Bon Temps.

“My girlfriend and I have a little West Highland terrier named Flossy,” he told at Rolling Stone’s Oscar party. “[She’s] actually almost like a cat.”

Trammell points out that the fluffy white terrier he’s grown to love came as part of a package deal, as did the pup’s cutesy moniker. “My girlfriend got the dog before we met, so it’s a bit of an adoption for me,” he said. “She actually decided on the name, then found the dog to fit the name.”

Walking into a situation as the “third wheel” with a Westie – a breed known for having strong will and lots of energy – Trammell had his hands full from day one.

“Flossy needed a little structure and a little disciplining,” he said with a laugh. “She was crazy.”