Growing up in North Dakota, Josh loved being around wildlife. However, he didn’t get a pet until he was older and out on his own. “My mom didn’t want animals in the house that she would have to take care of,” he says. “I respect that. It’s so much smarter than getting a pet, not knowing how much work is involved, and then giving it up to a shelter.”
Josh is making up for lost time. He and his wife, Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, are spoiling their dachshund Zoe, and Josh is volunteering with PetSmart Charities’ Rescue Waggin, a pet transport program that moves dogs from overpopulated shelters to cities where they have a better chance of being adopted.
In addition to helping transport dogs, Josh is the executive producer of an eight-episode web series profiling PetSmart Charities’ Rescue Waggin. His production company, Dakotakid Media, will be releasingRescue Waggin: Tales from the Road, a series of eight webisodes that can be seen starting on March 3. Celebrity pet adoption advocates making cameos in the series include Kristen Bell, Bret Michaels, Adam Shankman, and Katherine Heigl.
Josh is a passionate animal advocate and spends much of his spare time raising awareness about the importance of pet adoption. He got involved with PetSmart Charities a couple of years ago as a volunteer with PetSmart’s 5-Millionth Pet Adoption program. “It was there that I learned about Rescue Waggin,” he says. “Animal shelters are overrun with adoptable dogs that don’t get adopted. Up to four million dogs get killed each year at kill shelters. Rescue Waggin goes in and scoops up these dogs, and takes them to no-kill shelters where they have a better chance of finding a forever home.”
The dogs in the program run the gamut from puppies to seniors, and from mixed breeds to pure breeds. “The series follows a few of the dogs from their history to the moment they enter the shelter to when they are adopted,” he says. “We talk about the importance of adoption and spaying and neutering. One of the dogs, Porter, is a beagle who was found wandering the streets with a broken scapula. Instead of putting him down he became a dog with three legs. The family that adopted him didn’t seem to notice. What they did notice was this great dog bounding with energy and love. Porter would have been put down if it wasn’t for this program.”
“At the end of the show with Porter, we see him sleeping soundly in his new family’s home,” says Josh. “We learn about the dogs and about the families involved. It’s fun, and in many cases touching. I’m proud to be associated with PetSmart Charities. Last year alone, through their in-store adoption centers and events, PetSmart Charities has found homes for more than 400,000 dogs and cats.”
Josh’s love of animals is being passed down to his son Axl. “He is five months old, and enjoys playing with Zoe, who is 8. He is already forming a bond with her. She is so gentle around him. He drops a ball, and she brings it back to him. I think she is teaching him how to throw.”
“And my wife, Fergie, is a huge animal lover. She thinks she can talk to any animal.”
When he is not spending time with his family or volunteering to help animals, Josh is currently working on a movie called Lost in the Sun. In it, he plays a small time criminal who kidnaps a child. The two spend four days traveling to Mexico, and get to know each other. “I’ve never played a baddie before, and it’s fun. This one has a heart of gold.”
To watch Rescue Waggin: Tales from the Road, click here.