We’ve been in love with Melissa Joan Hart since her days on “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” These days, the “Melissa and Joey” actress and author of the forthcoming "Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life" is all grown up, a mom of three and a serious pet lover. We asked her what life is like around her house.
Tell us about your pets! What do they mean to you and your family?
My boys are adventure lovers and find “pets” everywhere they go, although we release them by the end of the day. But the ones that stuck around were our two doggies, Copper and Mater. Our “pet” snapping turtle, Dusty, we found in our yard two years ago. He was rehabilitated and released in the pond by our house.
Are your kids animal lovers? And is it important to you to raise your kids as animal lovers?
They adore all animals and are obsessed with learning about all types of wildlife and habitats. I think it’s important to teach them kindness to all of God’s creatures.
Do your kids pitch in with any of the pet care?
They get a quarter every time they feed the dogs, but with that incentive, the dogs have been gaining a lot of weight recently.
Have you faced any challenges caring for young children and pets at the same time?
Often the pets get neglected by the adults or roughed up by the little ones. Once the kids go to bed, we try to show the dogs some good attention and remind them that they are important to us too. Both worlds come together best on a family walk or when the kids and their friends throw the ball for the pups endlessly in the yard.
Why are you an advocate for animal rescue?
It’s important to remember that there are lots of lonely pets in shelters nearby that need good homes and love. The boys get so upset whenever we watch “Lady and the Tramp” and the doggies are in the pound. Someday, when we are ready for a new pet, we will take a trip to our local shelter for a new family member.
"Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life" is out from St. Martin’s Press on Oct. 29, 2013.