Mediaplanet: What inspired you to become an advocate for pet adoption?

Rachael Ray: I don’t have any kids, so John and I consider Isaboo our child just as we did with our pup Boo before her. I wanted to create a way to help find families for other animals in the shelter system.

MP: If our readers are looking to get involved, how would you suggest they start?

RR: I think to get started you can begin doing some research and scoping out your local animal shelters to get some more information.

I think it is so important that people support their local shelters and help provide needy animals with a home. There are so many different types of adoptable animals, and we've seen firsthand through our partnership with the ASPCA and other organizations how suddenly these animals can bring joy to your life. Your local shelter should definitely be your first stop if you're thinking about bringing an animal into your family.

If you are not looking to bring a pet into your home, there are other ways to help, especially through volunteering. Check with your local shelter to find ways to donate your time to help meet their needs.

PAWESOME PALS: Rachael cooks a healthy meal with her trusty sous chef, Isaboo.

MP: How do you know what type of nutrition plan (i.e. grain-free, high protein) is right for your pet?

RR: You need to be wary of the food you are giving to your pets especially because every pet is different. The first step would really be to listen to your veterinarian about what is going on with your pet and their digestion systems. From there, you should research the food products. 

MP: What advice would you give a new pet owner to ensure your home is a happy and healthy environment?

RR: My advice would be simply to provide the most loving home possible. Pay attention to your pet too. Make sure you realize the food and other things that your pet either enjoys or dislikes. It’s important to cater to them and provide them the things they love.

MP: Do you have any advice for how a working pet owner can balance between their busy schedule and caring for their animal?

RR: Before becoming a pet owner, I think it is important to evaluate your time and make sure that you are able to give this animal the love it deserves. I have a very busy schedule, but Isaboo is always part of my day and John even takes her to the office several times a week.

MP: How do you know if pet adoption is right for you?

RR: This is really a personal decision, but it is usually the moment you lay eyes on one of these beautiful shelter animals when something clicks inside. After you have evaluated whether you’ll have the time and resources to care for these pets and provide them with a loving home, you’ll know.

MP: Are there any unforeseen challenges you think our readers should be aware of before adopting?

RR: If you have determined that you can give a loving home to a shelter animal, then there shouldn’t be too many unforeseen challenges. The one surprise is the love that this animal will bring to your home and family. Isaboo is my child and has brought an immense amount of love that John and I never thought possible. When you change the lives of these beautiful animals, they change yours in return.