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Katherine

Bestselling author, animal activist and daughter of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and correspondent Maria Shriver used to be the kid who came home with random animals to adopt. Katherine Schwarzenegger would bring home salamanders, minnows, ducks, rabbits and pigs. Both her parents grew up on farms, so the family recreated this environment for the next generation in Los Angeles, which was interesting, Katherine revealed. She always had a heart for animals as a child and later in life, well, it was no different.

Between fighting for animal rights and being named an ASPCA Ambassador, Katherine wrote Maverick and Me to encourage kids to choose adoption. The book tells the story of Maverick, an abandoned puppy dumped on the side of the road. His fortune starts to turn when a vivacious big-hearted girl named Scarlett meets him at an adoption event. Scarlett is so moved by Maverick’s story that she and her mother decide to give him the forever home he is looking for.

Scarlett unquestionably sounds like Katherine.

“I have always wanted to help animals,” said Schwarzenegger who fostered 8 puppies to find homes for. “Just when I thought I was done I got a call to take in a 2-week-year-old puppy (Maverick) and it was such an incredible experience. I learned so much about myself and it’s been such a responsibility and a gift. That’s why I wanted to write this book.” Dog rescue and pet adoption weren’t talked about years ago as pet shops were the main source for consumers to purchase a pet.

Katherine hopes when it’s time for kids to get their first pet that they would prefer to adopt rather than going to a breeder or to a pet store to purchase a pet. “I didn’t have that option when I was younger. When I got my dog Maverick, I saw how little kids would react to him. He had this story of being found under a freeway, getting sick at a really young age and [being saved]. It was such an interesting story for kids. It’s such a cool thing for kids to get a dog or cat with a story.”

Katherine SchwarzeneggerMost animals sold in pet stores come from breeding mills and more stores are being banned by cities. Animal advocates like Katherine say store sales fuel the puppy mill industry, where dogs are bred and raised in inhumane conditions. The numbers remain grim as 4 million dogs are born in U.S. puppy mills every year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. When people stop buying from pet shops the need for puppy mills will cease.

“It’s become a bigger deal. I personally feel that there is so much awareness around dog and cat rescue or animal rescue in general,” she added. “People are finding dogs that work for their families, or work for them in their lives and they’re bonding with dogs who are really being given a second chance at life and having a future in a better home filled with love.”

Some people have misconceptions about adopting and that they can’t get a little puppy or they can’t have a fluffy dog. This is false. Katherine stripped down these distortions.

“In fact, rescue groups often have a variety of pets, including puppies and both purebred and mixed breeds. For kids, their first pet is such a big deal. It’s something you remember your entire life.” A dog will teach adults lessons as well.

“I always tell all my friends to get a dog before you have children. It teaches so much about planning and just the overall responsibility of thinking about something else other than yourself, which for people in their ’20s is a hard concept to wrap their heads around.”

But it’s worth it.

“The unconditional love you get from an animal has been an incredible gift to me.”

Maverick and Me will introduce children to the concept of “adopt, don’t shop” and is available from Worthy Publishing.

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