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Q&A with Scandal's Bellamy Young

The actress tells us about her hit show, her rescued pets and why she supports the Shelter Pet Project

All Animals magazine, September/October 2015

By Emily Smith

While at a shelter picking up her next dogs to foster, actress Bellamy Young met a tan Chihuahua mix she thought would be the perfect second dog for her mother. But Mom knew best.

Young took the dog, now named Bean, home to North Carolina for Christmas and presented him to her mother. “She took one look at us and said, ‘That’s YOUR dog.’ And it was true,” Young says. 

Young, who plays first lady Mellie Grant on ABC’s Scandal, recently teamed with The Shelter Pet Project to help others make the same connection. The PSA campaign, a project of The HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council, encourages people to visit their local shelter first when looking for a pet. 

“There are so many incredible animals just waiting for someone to love,” she says, “and they just need a little help connecting to their special person.” 

In this edited interview with deputy editorial director Emily Smith, Young talks about adoption, her rescued cat Sadie and life on the set of her hit series. 

Why is pet adoption so important to you?

I’ve always shared my life with rescued animals; I can’t imagine living without that unconditional love in my day. And I’m adopted myself, so adoption is obviously near and dear to my heart. I feel like no life is disposable. We all have so much love to give. Adopting a pet from a shelter is an absolutely transformative experience: It heals you. 

How did you know Sadie was the right pet for you?

Sadie was in the North Central shelter in L.A. when I found her. I was walking the halls looking to see who my cat was—you always know in your heart who’s meant for you—and I turned a corner, and there she was, yelling her head off as if to say, “What is TAKING you so long?! I’m over HERE.” 

Are there other animal protection issues that are important to you?

All facets of compassionate, mindful living move me. For me that means I choose not to eat animals or use things that have been tested on them or support companies that profit on animals’ pain, such as circuses. I try to be aware of what I’m taking from the planet and what I’m giving back. No one’s perfect, no one gets it right all the time, but we all have to do our best.

What are some of your favorite snacks to eat on the set?

It’s tricky on set because you don’t want to choose anything that will be awful if a little of it gets stuck in your teeth! So kale chips, for example, are a great snack but not at work. I choose raw almonds and apples, usually, or a little quinoa with flax or olive oil and sea salt. If I want sweet, I always want Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I like to bring bags of them as treats. I’m a peanut butter cup pusher!

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