'The Blacklist' Star Amir Arison on How He Found His 'Absolutely Perfect' Rescue Dog

Amir Arison, who made his Broadway debut in The Kite Runner in July, is the spokesperson for the 2022 Clear the Shelters pet adoption campaign

Amir Arison
Photo: Courtesy Amir Arison

Amir Arison knows love at first sight.

In 2017, after years of happily admiring others dogs and thinking of getting his own, Arison, 44, decided it was the right time to adopt a pet.

When he started his search for a furry friend, The Blacklist star thought he wanted a 15- to 20-lb. pup that didn't shed — but then he saw Reina.

Arison came across her photo on the website of a Los Angeles-based rescue. She was part of a litter of puppies rescued with their mother.

"She was the runt of the litter — a mix of, like, six different things — and she sheds," Arison tells PEOPLE. "She's everything I didn't want, and yet she's absolutely perfect."

The actor brought the puppy home less than 24 hours after spotting her picture online. Today, Arison and Reina are best friends. The little dog greets him each morning with kisses and cuddles and adores spending time by his side.

"Reina wakes up every day just happy to be with me. It's like, one look and all your troubles disappear, [and] you can't imagine life without them," Arison, who made his Broadway debut in The Kite Runner in July, says.

A self-described "dog guy," Arison has long been an advocate for animal rescues, so when NBC Universal asked him to be the spokesperson for this year's Clear the Shelters campaign, he didn't hesitate.

"You promote the things that matter to you," says Arison.

For the campaign, Arison is helping Clear the Shelters promote pet adoption and will host the initiative's television special, which starts airing on August 26 (check local listings).

"We save pets and we make people happier," says of why partnering with Clear the Shelters was an easy decision.

Since 2015, Clear the Shelters has helped more than 700,000 pets meet their forever families, including helping arrange more than 140,000 pet adoptions in 2021. This year for the campaign, NBC and Telemundo owned and affiliated stations are partnering with more than 1,000 shelters to promote pet adoption and raise funds for animal-welfare causes.

Clear the Shelters 2022 runs August 1-31. For more information, go to cleartheshelters.com.

Related Articles