Comedian Ellen DeGeneres returned to her television show on Tuesday after taking a long weekend to escape a national uproar over an adopted puppy, saying she hoped the drama would not discourage people from adopting pets.
DeGeneres, one of the country's best known entertainers, sobbed on television last week as she recounted how an animal rescue group took back a puppy she had adopted but then given to her hairstylist's family without the animal agency's permission.
The on-air tears stirred an outpouring of public support, and footage of her begging for the agency to return the dog, Iggy, was replayed endlessly. DeGeneres later made a public appeal for an end to death threats that had been reported against some of those involved.
After taking a long weekend to recover from the shaggy-dog tale that went too far, DeGeneres returned to her show on Tuesday saying the reaction to her crying on air had taken her totally by surprise, making headlines from Australia to England.
"I have always cried since I was a little kid. I am a sensitive person, I cry. I cry at commercials, I cry at stories, I cry at anything sweet, I cry at babies," she said.
"You don't want to keep in a good cry because then you get bloated ... there is nothing wrong with having feelings and I think more people should cry."
DeGeneres invited various guests involved in pet adoptions onto her show, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and online pet adoption website petfinders.com.
"There are so many dogs and cats out there that need homes and they just need to end up in a good home," DeGeneres said.
"That is all I care about ... I don't want anybody to be discouraged from this."
DeGeneres said the crew on her television show had also been left distraught over the incident.
"People on the staff are upset because we are a family," DeGeneres said as cameras panned to crew members fake-crying into their hands and tissues.
DeGeneres, host of this year's Oscar awards, said she adopted the shaggy-haired mixed breed dog in September, but the little dog did not get along well with her cats, so she gave Iggy to her hairstylist.
The agency from which she adopted the dog, Mutts and Moms, reclaimed the dog on the grounds that DeGeneres violated the adoption agreement, which required her to return the pet to the agency if she chose not to keep it.
"I've rescued so many animals over the years ... this came out of the blue," she said.