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Talking dog parenting with Chris Evans


By Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

The Internet is obsessed with him. His playful smile. His big, soulful eyes. The fact that he has no bad angle in photos.

His owner is also actor Chris Evans, which makes the pair’s selfies ten times more “like”-able on Instagram.

Named after a character from the movie “Oliver & Company,” Dodger is a boxer-mix that the Marvel star adopted in 2015. One half of a “pair of dysfunctional codependents,” Dodger has at least as many admirers as his famous owner, who this week announced a partnership with dog food company Jinx in a move that’s as on-brand for Evans, one of Hollywood’s most prolific dog dads, as one could get.

In a conversation with CNN, Evans talks about how Dodger inspired his new business venture, which will have him playing “an active role in the business and creative direction of the brand,” according to a press release, and the humbling pleasures of pet parenting.

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

CNN: I was told Dodger was going be here, and I see him roaming about.

CHRIS EVANS: Yeah, yeah. He’s back there.

Not exactly a keep-him-on-your-lap-during-a-Zoom dog.

No, he might take up the whole frame.

I’m a passionate dog mom myself, so I wanted to ask you a little bit about your journey as a dog dad, and what inspired you to get involved with a company like this.

I mean, we’re always looking for different partnerships and ways to expand and have fun creatively beyond acting. I had actually been giving Dodger the Jinx treats for a while, and he loved them, and then my business manager brought me this opportunity. When you actually sit down with the company, you get to know the people, it’s so nice to meet people who have a shared passion and who kind of seem like they’re really doing something good in the world and actually helping. Then on top of it, it’s a great product. It’s an easy thing to get behind. This just made perfect sense to me.

What’s fascinated me since getting our dog a little more than a year ago was the incredible responsibility I feel for her well-being and health and how her being OK directly affects my mood, too. Tell me about your own experience as a pet parent.

I mean, it’s one of the trickiest things. My previous dog before Dodger had a lot of issues. He was an American Bulldog, so there was a lot of allergy issues and eye issues. And, you know, they can’t tell you how they’re feeling, and that’s the most difficult thing. So making sure that you’re at least starting with the foundation of good nutrition is a good first step. It’s incredibly important.

Your love for Dodger is very well known. What has that relationship taught you about yourself? I don’t have kids and, as far as I know, you don’t have kids either. But it teaches you a lot about what it means to care for another being.

I mean, it’s the responsibility of it, you know what I mean? It’s that you always have to be conscious of (the fact that) you’re building your life around that. Whether you’re gonna be out for a while, or if you have long meetings, you always have to carve out time to go on walks, things like that. So, it’s a challenge. It’s an uphill battle, but I’ve always actually enjoyed that. You know, it takes my mind off of me.

Do you take Dodger with you when you travel or when you’re filming?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Dodger’s been on many movie sets and, he loves being on set. He’s a real social butterfly and everyone on set loves him. He’s good; he’s a great mascot.

You’re gonna have to give me some tips because my dog is not good around other dogs. She’s fine with people, but like other dogs, no way.

You ever go to the dog park?

No, because she would battle dogs that are like 10 times her size. She’s nine pounds but has a big attitude.

Sure, sure.

Have you always been like a big dog kind of guy?

I mean, I like all dogs — really, truly. Big, small, anything in between. I’ve never really said I only want big dogs. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up with a really small one after Dodger just because there’s much more ease of traveling with them. But, no, I think some of the smaller dogs have some of the best personalities.

What do you think is special about Dodger specifically? Cause people have such a love for your relationship. What’s special about him to you compared to some other pets you’ve had?

There’s just something about him that feels like he’s just brand new, like a brand new soul. There’s something about him — it’s very fresh and vibrant and alive and loving and joyful and clean. And, I mean, both metaphorically and physically. He’s a very clean animal. But he’s just, I don’t know. There’s just something very bright about him, you know? His eyes are wide open. His heart’s wide open. He’s just a really sweet creature.

Isn’t it astounding? How when you’re in a bad way, and you just see the world through their eyes suddenly? How much of a change it can be on your day at any given time?

I mean, it’s an incredibly refreshing reset. I mean, Dodger, I would argue is a relatively famous dog, and he has no idea and he has no clue and he never can know. What a beautiful way to move through the world. What a clean way to move through the world. I mean, I’ve seen friends who have kind of come up in fame and change and you know, you even have to keep tabs on yourself in that capacity to make sure that your priorities are in check, but Dodger never has to. It’s not the makeup of a dog. I’m in awe of what a dog is. I’m very humbled by what they offer us. The fact that it really can’t be corrupted. You know what I mean? There’s no part of me that has to worry that any of this is gonna go to Dodger’s head. What an amazing thing.

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