Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt has been an animal lover for as long as she can remember. And for several years, the author and daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver opened up her home to serve as a foster mom for puppies. While she found the majority of them happy homes, there was one that she couldn’t quite part ways with. So, in 2014, Schwarzenegger Pratt became the proud new parent of a pup named Maverick. The tiny pup even inspired his new mom to write “Maverick and Me,” a children’s book that follows Maverick in his adventures.
Chewy caught up with the 29-year-old writer who walked us through the “dorky” way she and her pup like to celebrate special occasions, the initial meeting between her “protective” dog and new husband Chris Pratt, and which of Maverick’s quirks make him extra special to her.
How did Maverick come into your life?
A: I've always grown up around different animals and been a huge animal lover my entire life. I rescued my little dog Maverick several years ago … and it's become such a huge passion of mine to be able to be a voice for the voiceless and to spread the word about animal rescue.
Tell us a little bit more about Maverick. What's he like?
He’s very protective when it comes to food. So that tends to be the biggest standout.
He’s definitely different looking. He's a little brindle dog and he has one ear up and one ear down. Everybody always is commenting on his little ears because they're so funny looking. And he always looks like he's paying attention and ready to get his picture taken. He’s definitely a feisty little dog.
I’ve had him since he was little and I decided to officially adopt him. I had gotten him originally as a foster dog and I was still trying to find him a home. I realized very quickly that, when I would meet different families to help him find his forever home, I was really attached to him and I wanted to make the decision to officially adopt him and and keep him in our family, in our home. And it was the best decision that I've made.
Do you remember the one moment when you realized, OK, this guy needs to stay with me?
A:He was 4 weeks old when I got him. And he was definitely very sick when I first got him. [Editor’s note: Maverick had parvo as a puppy, which Katherine wrote about on her blog at the time.] So, I think that the whole experience of really needing to give him some extra TLC and taking him to the vet definitely developed a closer bond to him. [Being] really attached to him helped me to grow close to him and want to keep him in my life.
Did he get along with your husband Chris Pratt right away or was that an adjustment?
A:He is very protective of me, but they got along very well right from the start. So I'm super lucky about that.
Dogs love their routines, but things like the holidays can throw them some curve balls. How do you help to keep him calm throughout the chaos?
A:I definitely try to keep a consistent walking schedule and making sure that he’s out and about and being well taken care of. He also has a special place in our home where he can go when he feels overwhelmed so he feels safe and secure.
And then of course, over the holiday season, I love being able to spoil him with all the amazing things that I can buy for him like holiday sweaters and some plush toys. So that's another great way that I like to spoil him and give him some extra love over the holiday season.
What's the dorkiest thing that you've bought for him?
I picked up a matching pajama set. That would probably be it! Because that's something that I fully intend on wearing on Christmas morning and matching with my dog. That would probably be the craziest thing that I've gotten for him.
Every year, I have been able to … get a holiday sweater. My sister and I do a full photo shoot with him underneath the Christmas tree. And, so, I fully intend on continuing that tradition and doing it again.
And this year you're going to have matching pajamas for you and Maverick.
A:Of course. I mean, that sounds like heaven.
What does Chris think of that plan?
A:Everyone's very supportive of all of my dog adventures and matching outfits.
Was Maverick your first dog you’ve had on your own as an adult?
A:Yeah. He is first is my first dog that I got on my own that was 100 percent my responsibility. So, it taught me a lot and it's taught me about responsibility, but also about unconditional love and patience. And it's been such a rewarding and great experience for me.
I think that the biggest adjustment with having my own dog as an adult was being 100 percent responsible on your own for the pets and not having your family home to be able to rely on. It's really your responsibility and your pet 100 percent. So, that was a little bit of an adjustment for me, but it was a great gift and a great learning experience. And every day it's a great joy to be able to have Maverick in my life.
Does your dog understand your dad's heavy accent?
A:I think so! He seems to get along with him very well. [Laughs]
Are you still fostering dogs?
A:No, I'm actually not right now, but I definitely want to get back into it. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to do that and be able to find animals homes and to be able to find them loving and safe places for them to grow up in and to be loved. I really hope to continue to do that one day. I had fostered around seven puppies before Maverick and found them all really amazing and loving homes. I really enjoyed being able to do that.
Do you have any friends that are pet obsessed, and what are your gift suggestions for them?
Yeah, I have a ton of friends that are pet obsessed people. I’m also giving them matching pajama sets and plush toys.
What is your dog's favorite thing that you ever purchased for him?
A:Honestly, I feel like he loves the sweaters. I get one for him every year. I think he secretly loves them even though he struggles to get into them sometimes. But he really loves them and enjoys them. And that's his favorite thing.
Why did you name him Maverick?
A:I named him Maverick because when I first got him, he was really sick and he had to have a lot of extra TLC when he was a puppy to survive. And I wanted to name him something that I felt was a really strong name so I settled on Maverick and it worked out very well.