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Q&A with Max Scherzer

The Washington Nationals pitcher on shelter adoption, his own adopted dogs, and why he helps animals

All Animals magazine

Max Scherzer, ace pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, relaxes on a couch at his offseason home in Arizona, flanked by his two adopted dogs.

To his right, sitting up straight with her tongue hanging out, is Bo. Like Scherzer, she has one brown eye and one blue eye. Lying to his left, enjoying a good head scratching, is Rafi.

For Scherzer, giving animals like these a voice is important. “It’s making sure,” he says, “that every pet is protected.”

Scherzer and his wife, Erica, haven’t been shy about lending a hand. They’ve fostered dogs, and recently, they helped promote the HSUS Pets for Life program, which assists pets and their owners in underserved communities. Scherzer spoke with All Animals for this edited interview.

If you could pass on one message to your fans regarding animals, what would it be?

That you can adopt a great animal from any shelter. You don’t have to have this special breeder, this special kind. These two girls, we don’t even know what they are, and yet they’ve been the best thing for me. And I’m thankful every day to have these two.

Why is the issue of spay/neuter important to you?

These two girls were about to be euthanized, and we were able to adopt them. And, obviously, pet overpopulation is a problem that we have, and spay and neutering can really help curtail that.

Help pets in need: Donate to the Pets for Life program »

When you’re speaking out for animals, how much does having your own pets drive that work home?

Knowing how we rescued them, and where they came from, and seeing their personalities come out, it just shows that anybody can adopt an animal from any location. These guys have big hearts. They show it every single day. And it’s a reason why, if you’re looking to get a pet, go to your animal shelter and adopt.

What’s it like coming home to these girls after a game?

It’s fun with these two. It doesn’t matter if it’s a great game or a bad game, just seeing them and seeing their personalities and seeing what they’re interested in always puts a smile on your face. It can really help even after a bad game, because sometimes you need somebody to cheer you up.

The team hosted a calendar shoot at Nationals Park last season to benefit Washington Humane Society. What was the best part about bringing your dogs to work?

Getting to see Bo in a photo shoot’s always a special adventure. And then the occasional accident in the outfield probably didn’t help. Our grounds crew probably didn’t like Bo having that little accident out there, but that was pretty funny to see.

Are there other animal issues close to your heart?

The other issue I’ve been involved with is endangered species conservation, specifically tigers. I’ve been a University of Missouri Tiger. I’ve been a Detroit Tiger. And we’ve done everything we can to help raise awareness and funds to help protect the few tigers we have left in the world.

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