Why Sarah Michelle Gellar Adopted Her Rescue Dog After Having 'No Intention of Getting Another'

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is partnering with Freshpet, exclusively tells PEOPLE the unique journey that led to her adopting her rescue dog Franz

Sarah Michelle Gellar Shares How a Dog-Sitting Experience Led to Her Adopting a Rescue Pup: 'Had No Intention of Getting Another'
Photo: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. already had their hands full, raising two dogs and two kids at once — but there was something special about rescue pup Franz.

As Gellar exclusively tells PEOPLE, "We had no intention of getting another dog."

"A friend of ours was housing the dog because the owner couldn't take care of the dog anymore, and they were looking for a home. And I was like, 'No, no, we have two. I've got two kids, two working parents, and two big dogs. I can't do this,'" the Cruel Intentions star, 45, shares while promoting her partnership with Freshpet. "And literally, they said, 'Can you just watch the dog for an hour?' And they know that's it. That was it. This dog was meant for me."

"What was amazing was, I left for a project the next day and brought the dog with me," she continues. "It's that weird thing of speed dating and then going on a vacation together, which is like, we didn't know each other, and now we're in this hotel, the two of us. It's a little bit like, 'Oh, now what?' I guess you have to get to know each other now. It was such a great bonding experience."

Gellar now feels like her three dogs are like three additional children, though her real-life kids with Prinze Jr. — daughter Charlotte, 13, and son Rocky, 10 — think she's much "stricter" with them than the family's beloved pets.

"My kids always say that I'm stricter with my children than my dogs," she explains. "When my children mess up, I'm the first one to punish you, but the dogs, you sometimes have to remind me to punish them."

Gellar adds, "Now, my husband and I are arguing over the Halloween costumes because I can't dress my children in Halloween costumes anymore because they have these things called opinions now, which is a whole other conversation, and so I get to dress the dogs."

Sarah Michelle Gellar Shares How a Dog-Sitting Experience Led to Her Adopting a Rescue Pup: 'Had No Intention of Getting Another'
Sarah Michelle Gellar

Addressing whether or not her family will bring home another dog soon, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum says: "That's the running joke in our household."

"There are four people in our household and three dogs. And every time we go on a walk, somebody doesn't have a dog," she continues. "And they're like, 'We just need one more, so everyone has a dog.' But not today."

Gellar will soon help out a big group of furry companions, courtesy of Freshpet's fifth annual Fresh Start initiative.

The Fresh Start project aims to celebrate and reward no-kill animal shelters by distributing more than $150,000 to such facilities across the United States that enter this year's initiative. Gellar will serve as a judge, helping to select 16 shelters that submit to the program.

Teasing her involvement with the organization, Gellar says: "I love the idea of what Freshpet's doing."

"I got lucky, is how I got involved," the actress says. "I think anyone that knows anything about me knows that I'm a huge dog lover, and I do a lot of work with the Lange Foundation, which is my local no-kill shelter."

Gellar adds that she is looking "forward to getting all the submissions."

"The work that these shelters do is so selfless that the idea to reward them for that and bring light to what they're doing," she concludes. "Please send us submissions. I honestly can't wait to see them."

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