a woman talks to her dog
Rachel Bloom and her dog Wiley promote adoption with videos and public service announcements for the Shelter Pet Project. Photo by the Shelter Pet Project

If you watched the Golden Globes back in 2016, you couldn’t miss her: Collecting a Golden Globe for best actress in a television series, musical or comedy, Rachel Bloom was visibly ecstatic, motor-mouthed and breathless, practically leaping from the screen.

Some were bemused, but those who were already familiar with Bloom knew that boundless enthusiasm was just, well, her. And why not? The actress, singer and comedian has a lot to be enthusiastic about: She released three musical comedy albums and parlayed the satirical songs and music videos into co-creating, writing and starring in the acclaimed TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for four seasons. After two nominations in 2016, the show just recently nabbed Emmy nominations for its theme song, as well as song “Antidepressants Are So Not a Big Deal.” (Update: She won for the latter!)

Now Bloom is lending her boundless enthusiasm to another project near and dear to her heart. In videos and PSAs for the Shelter Pet Project, a collaboration between the Humane Society of the United States, the Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund, Bloom shows off her rescue dog, Wiley, and encourages people to adopt. In this edited interview with Animal Sheltering senior editor Bethany Wynn Adams, here’s what she had to say about the campaign, which also features actor Olivia Munn and NFLer Logan Ryan.

a dog gives a woman his paw
Photo by the Shelter Pet Project

Have you always loved animals? What inspired you to donate your time to the Shelter Pet Project?

Having a dog for the first time changed my life, and Wiley brings my husband and me infinite joy. Part of what makes her so special is the fact she is a shelter pet— she’s scrappy, a mixed breed, resilient—so when I hear about people reluctant to rescue animals because you “don’t know what you’re gonna get,” it makes me incredibly sad.

Did Wiley take naturally to the camera?

Halfway through, the cameraman realized that Wiley was the more photogenic one of us, and we spent a solid hour doing a photoshoot with just her on a chaise lounge. She loved it.

You’ve occasionally incorporated pets into songs like “I Steal Pets,” in which you’re a lonely teenager who steals other people’s pets, and “F*ckton of Cats,” in which your character decides to give up on romantic relationships and instead get lots of cats. What inspired you to write these songs? And, considering “F*ckton of Cats” ends with you being mauled by a cat, how do you really feel about cats?

“I Steal Pets” was a way for me to talk about my middle school experience (very sad) through the lens of pets dressed in costumes (very silly). The silliness contrasts with the sadness in a nice way to make you go “aww” in multiple ways in that video. In “ F*ckton of Cats,” Rebecca has decided to give up on life and gleefully embrace a stereotype that we both explore and take down through the song. There are a lot of cat owners who worked on the show, and they loved that song because it both explores the stereotype that they fully own and goes beyond it. And for the record: I love cats, but my husband is allergic. (Actually, we just found out he’s technically allergic to our dog as well, but he uses a nasal spray for that and it’s a whole thing.)

You’ve been open about your obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. Studies show that pets alleviate anxiety and depression. How have your own pets helped your mental health?

Wiley puts everything into context. If I’m stressed out, especially over something regarding work, I look at her and realize that she doesn’t know my name, she doesn’t know what I do, and she certainly doesn’t know what the words “not enough money in the budget” mean. A symbol of the universe, she is indifferent to trivial matters. She is fully present in her joy and sorrows and, in turn, looking at her being present keeps me present.

Also, wook at that widdle face.

If money or time were no object, what would you do to help animals?

If money were no object, I would adopt all of the animals and give them to all of the people for free. If some of the people didn’t want the animals, I would have a spacious animal house for them. This animal house would be unrelated to the film except for there would be a hamster named John Belushi.

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