Find out what drew Katherine Heigl to her new TV show State Of Affairs, how she became the spokesperson for Remember Me Thursday, and about her ranch life with with 36 pets, as she chats to Parade magazine.

Katherine Heigl As Charleston Tucker In State Of Affairs Katherine Heigl As Charleston Tucker In State Of Affairs

Why did you become spokesperson for Remember Me Thursday?

Every day 10,000 dogs and cats are killed in shelters for lack of a home. Thursday is a day for all of us to remember those who died without a home as well as to refocus our efforts on finding homes for those dogs and cats that are sitting in our shelters right now who need homes or are at risk for becoming another statistic. Remember Me Thursday is our chance to honor those animals who were killed and do right by them by adopting our next pets.

What influenced you to care about animals?

I grew up with companion animals, which were part of my own family and extended family. I was raised to value their part in our lives and to treat them with compassion and respect. When my mother and I realized what was happening in our shelters, we decided to do whatever we could to stop the senseless killing of so many valuable, individual beings. After a year or so of financially supporting several smaller local rescues we created a foundation in my brother Jason's name. He died at 15 in a car accident and, like my whole family, loved and respected all animals. We wanted to do something that we believed in strongly and honor his memory at the same time. Thus, the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation was formed.

Can you tell us about the pets in your life?

We have a ranch in Utah where we keep our 8 dogs, 4 cats, 9 horses, 2 donkeys, 2 pygmy goats, 2 miniature horses, and 9 chickens. I just adopted the fourth cat a few months ago, when I was at the local shelter. And while I love all of my animals, I travel with Gertie, my rescue Chihuahua. Gertie came from East Valley, a Los Angeles City shelter and was slated to be euthanized on the day I got her. She has no teeth, and her tongue is perpetually falling out of her mouth. I was helped getting her out by a wonderful rescue group that struggles to save as many Chihuahuas as possible - Kinder4Rescue. She's a reminder that life can change on the turn of a dime; she went from certain death to a loving home just because I chose to adopt!

What drew you to the character of Charleston Tucker in the NBC series State of Affairs?

Charleston Tucker is the CIA briefer to the President (played by Alfre Woodard). She's a complex character who is driven by a strong sense of patriotism, but who is confronted with challenges of determining who is telling the truth and who is trying to manipulate the situation for their own goals.

It's a fascinating story about the CIA and the CIA briefers who inform the President and the top government officials about daily national security threats. It's also my first time Executive Producing. The entire process has been fascinating to see the show develop and get to know all of the characters on and off the screen. I love that Charlie is a strong woman - she's got power and secrets and passion - just like many of the women I know.

As the mom to two girls, I think it's important for them to see that women can be leaders and be independent. I was drawn to her energy and the amazing fact that no show had ever exposed the position of the briefer to the POTUS, whose job I think is just fascinating.

Will there be any animals on the show?

One of our characters has a pit bull that is featured in many of his scenes. And we are trying to get a guest role for Gertie, but it's still up in the air. You'll have to stay tuned to see if her tongue makes it to the show.