Chatting to People Pets about her latest animal welfare initiative, the Just One pet products brand, Katherine Heigl joked that family life with seven canine companions and two small children is not always easy! "Yeah, I wouldn't recommend that," she said with a laugh. "I really love these dogs, but it's a lot with two little kids."
Katherine explained that she only became aware of Los Angeles's growing pet overpopulation problem after purchasing her first three dogs – Romeo, Stella and Weezer. She began rescuing other dogs as a result.
"The first dog I rescued was my dog Piper, who is pretty much the most amazing dog on the planet," she said. "It was a chance thing. I was walking down the street in my neighborhood and there was a woman with these two beautiful puppies that had been rescued from somebody's backyard... I just thought, 'This dog is beautiful, and I can take another dog,' and so I did, and then the train started rolling."
The revelation lead to the creation of the Heigl Foundation which she co-founded with her mother Nancy.
"My mother and I just felt that we had gotten so much from our pets over the years, how much loyalty and love," she continued. "They're kind of like my best friends, and I just thought we need to do something to help all of their kind. That was the impetus for Just One."
Katherine said that she hoped both her daughters, 4-year-old Naleigh and baby Adalaide who is 8 months, would also become animal people and that both were off to a good start.
"Naleigh, from the moment she came to us, was surrounded by dogs. Especially when she was really little, 1-1½, they were her best friends. She would hang out with the dogs and dress them up in her little party clothes and put necklaces on them and play tea party with them. I love it so much that she will always have this source of comfort in her life if she's an animal person."
And while Adalaide's time with her furry family - which also includes hound Oscar and shepherd mixes Tamber and Flora – is monitored, she's has also become a hit with the brood.
"Oscar is kind of obsessed with the baby. She'll sit in her bouncy seat and he'll kind of come over, tail-wagging, and just lick her entire face. It's one of those things where you're like okay that's fine once, but now you need to move away from the baby," she said.
With the holidays fast approaching, Katie revealed she is looking forward to spending quality time with all nine of her little ones, daughters and furbabies alike.
"The dogs get maybe a few treats, but they don't get like gifts or anything," she noted with a laugh. "Naleigh's at this fantastic age where Christmas is something she looks forward to and totally gets now... It's pretty much my favorite time of year so I'm really just reveling in it and enjoying it."