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Sherrie Buzby/PetSmart Charities

So we were already sold on Josh Duhamel starting with his All My Children days, but then his production company Dakota Kid Media went ahead and produced the sweetest eight-part web series for PetSmart Charities, Rescue Waggin’®: Tales from the Road, following a group of rescue dogs’ as they journey from an over-crowded shelter into the arms of loving families hundreds of miles away. Needless to say, now we’re all in. Josh chats with OK! about the passion project and how his dog Zoey has adjusted to having baby Axl in the house.

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OK!: How did you get hooked up with PetSmart charities?
Josh Duhamel: We did an event a few years ago in New York promoting PetSmart Charities’ five millionth pet adoption. I was just starting my production company and I thought what a great idea it would be to help promote Rescue Waggin’ by showing it from the perspective of the dogs. The whole thing is about the dogs that are in these shelters around the country that are so overrun that they have to euthanize them, up to four million a year I believe.They go to these shelters that are so overrun that they can’t support the dogs, scoop them up and take them to parts of the country to shelters and humane societies where there are families who are looking for dogs like these.

Josh-Duhamel-Pet-Smart

Sherrie Buzby/PetSmart Charities

OK!: How did you go about really trying to show it from the dogs’ perspective?
JD: You never really know what kind of footage you’re going to get when you start one of these. It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into it and thank God we have a great partner in PetSmart Charities and I’ve got a couple of people who are really, really good and have done stuff like this before. We started in Carthage, Missouri at a shelter there. It used to be a kill shelter where they’d have so many (dogs) that they’d have to put them down. One day this lady who works there said, “I can’t do this anymore.” She contacted Rescue Waggin’ and now they no longer put animals down. They find placements for these dogs, which I think is really great. We had a little dog named Meatloaf who could just as easily have been put down. He was such an amazing little guy it made me think there’s probably millions of dogs out there who never get this chance.

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OK!: Did you have a childhood pet? Have you always been passionate about animal causes?
JD: No, this all happened accidentally. I never even had a dog until I was 30 years old. My mom never let us have one. And then when I had my own house when I moved to LA I got Zoey and I bought Zoey from a breeder. Immediately afterwards this woman I was working with on Las Vegas said, “What are you doing? Why did you buy this? You could have gotten a perfectly good dog at a rescue.” I didn’t know! So then when it was time to get a friend for Zoey that’s when I was introduced to pet adoption and that’s when we met Meatloaf. He was just the coolest little guy you could imagine. I never set out to be an animal rescue advocate, it just sort of happened.

OK!: Since you didn’t have a pet growing up, do you feel it’s important for your son to have a dog?
JD: Well he doesn’t really have a choice because we already have one. But he loves Zoey. He’s already fascinated by her. He’s learning how to sort of throw in her direction a little bit, not really throw, he sort of holds it and drops it. She loves that. She sees him totally as a future ball thrower.

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OK!: How has Zoey adapted to having a baby in the house?
JD: She’s very curious about Axl. At first she didn’t care less and then I think she was more confused as to what is this new thing in our house. And now that she knows he’s here to stay she’s not jealous, she’s a really sweet dog, she just makes sure she gets her attention, too. If you’re holding him she’ll squeeze her nose right in between you and the baby just to make sure we know she’s still there.

The first two episodes of Rescue Waggin’®: Tales from the Road are available to watch now at petsmartcharities.org.

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