Actress A.J. Cook has a lot going on these days, like starring as Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau on "Criminal Minds" and her growing family, which includes husband Nathan Andersen, son Mekhai and a new baby boy on the way.
Another beloved member of the family is Zara, Cook's Yorkshire terrier. In the latest edition of Stars & Their Pets, Cook chats with HNGN.com exclusively about how she chose Zara, what traits she shares with the dog, and her love for working on "Criminal Minds," whose 10th season will come to a close on May 6.
Tell me about Zara? How did she come into your life?
My husband and I had been married about a year and a puppy seemed like the next logical step in our relationship. I found Zara in a shopping cart full of puppies. We made eye contact and I fell in love. She had the best personality out of all the puppies.
Are there any similarities between you and Zara?
Both Zara and I love sleep! We also like to cuddle up with a warm blanket.
What are some of her favorite things?
She loves a good belly rub and riding in the basket on my bike down at the beach.
What is a day like for her?
Zara's day consists of sleeping, eating and trying to survive with a toddler in the house!
What does Zara do that really makes you laugh or smile?
Watching her come up with new escape tactics to get away from my 2-year-old son.
How did she adjust to your baby?
She's adjusted really well to my son. They have a sibling relationship. They play together all the time. No matter what my son does to her, she has never once nipped at him. She's pretty protective of him.
Does Zara control the household?
Zara most certainly doesn't control the household. She had a little more control before the baby, but now she has just surrendered.
Does she travel with you?
She's tiny, so she is easy to travel with. She loves road trips.
Do you ever take her to set? If so, how is she treated there?
I used to take her to set all the time, and she always looked bored out of her mind sitting in my trailer. Lately she has been hanging at home a little more. My son keeps her entertained.
If Zara was going to make a guest appearance on "Criminal Minds," what would her role be?
She would be the local detective that's incredibly eager to help find the bad guy.
What does Zara really mean to you?
Zara was my first child before having a child. She's always excited to see you, even if you leave the room for five minutes. She's my little guard dog. She's part of our family.
How excited are you to be back on "Criminal Minds"?
Feels like coming home. I've really missed working with all of those guys. It's a great place to work!
Tell us one other thing that you would really like to do in your career.
I'd really love to take things into my own hands someday and create my own projects.