Kaitlin Olson Says She 'Always Connected with Animals' More Than People: They 'Fall Into My Life'

·3 min read
Kaitlin Olson
Kaitlin Olson

Courtesy Kaitlin Olson

Kaitlin Olson has opened her home to some adorable temporary roommates.

The Emmy nominee, 45, tells PEOPLE that animals tend to "fall into my life" as she works with the Animal Wellness Foundation to help place foster animals in forever homes. "I was one of those kids that always really connected with animals and liked them more than I really liked people," she says.

"I just remember driving in the car with my family and seeing some dead animal on the side of the road and just sobbing," Olson adds. "I could not take it. I still don't love it. But I mean, as an adult, I'm like, 'Yeah, that happens.' I remember it just absolutely destroyed me as a child. And both of my kids are the same way."

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She fondly recalls growing up on a farm surrounded by animals. "I had a cat that used to let me put him in a Cabbage Patch Kids baby carrier and dress him up in clothes and walk him around," Olson recounts of one of her first pets. "He absolutely loved it. And he was my baby."

Olson has imparted her love for animals onto her sons Axel Lee, 10, and Leo Grey, 9, whom she shares with her husband, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia costar, Rob McElhenney, 44. "I'm always looking for opportunities, especially with my kids, to volunteer and to be of service and do some active, selfless things," she says.

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The Hacks actress has recently been using her family's spare bedroom to foster animals and help shelters make room for more pets in need. Two bonded kittens, named Noel and Charlie, are currently taking up residence in KO's Foster Room, and Olson has been documenting the pet fostering experience on Instagram - and using her platform to help them get adopted.

"The whole thing, it came about just because we seem to be the house where animals just kind of wind up when they need help," Olson explains. "And I keep putting them in this one spare bedroom/bathroom that we have that we don't use very often. And it just occurred to me that I didn't need to wait for the animals to fall into my life. I could actually go out and become a foster. I think it's so good for my kids to be involved, too. And they love animals so much."

With two dogs of her own, Olson can see how her foster cats interact with the pups, as well as her kids - valuable information for the kittens' potential adopters. She hopes to offer her foster animals "a stable place to get comfortable, and thrive, and live until we can just keep finding homes for them."

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When not tending to her fosters, her Bernese mountain dog/Poodle mix, Simon, and her French bulldog, Luke, keep her on her toes. The latter has been responsible for a few emergency trips to the vet in the past year. "He's trying to kill himself," she jokes.

"He is so sweet and so cute, but he's just so naughty," says Olson. "My other dog listens no matter what you tell him to do. Luke is just like, you'll tell him not to eat something, and he'll just look right at you and eat it anyway. And that something could be a bee or crayons - or apparently, he's allergic to red peppers, which I didn't know. I find out because he'll just start convulsing and vomiting and having diarrhea everywhere. So it's super fun. He's a fun project."

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