Interview of the Week: Mika Brzezinski

Most of us know Mika Brzezinski as a journalist, commentator, and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe but she has another noteworthy title: devoted animal lover. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, animals have provided us comfort, companionship, and stories about them have generated immense interest from our ODP readers. It’s why we wanted to sit down with Mika and ask her about how animals have shaped her life and how their emotional support helps her balance out a hectic schedule.

ODP: Your love of animals is very well known, and many people in addition to watching you on tv every morning turn to your Instagram to get a daily dose of cute from your pets. How did your love of animals develop?

MB: From my family growing up! We had tons and tons of animals! 

I had a pony named Strawberry that I rode all over McLean, Virginia bareback and no bridle. Just wild.  We all loved her so much…she was an actual pet. We often brought her into our house for Christmas dinner and special occasions (see photo below). We had two geese, named Lem and Luscious. We had a bunch of chickens. But I had a special “pet” chicken…a black chicken named Rose. I would tuck her under my jacket and ride Strawberry to the nearby 7-11. We also had big German Shepherds and cats and a rabbit named “Bunny Sadr” named after the Iranian leader.  We would put all these animals in our station wagon and drive all the way to Maine every summer. It was a smelly car.

I love animals and the chaos they create!!!

Mika, her parents, and Strawberry the pony on Christmas.

ODP: You have a busy career and a bustling family. Why has it been important to you to have pets despite your many commitments?  

MB: They provide chaos and perspective. Our cat Meatball is such a loving social guy, he really helps me calm down.

ODP: Your book, Know Your Value is intended to empower women to achieve the recognition they deserve. Dogs are such special animals because they make humans feel so loved and seen, have yours helped you feel good about yourself on tough days?

MB: Wow. Great question. Yes and yes… But even more so for my girls.  My dad’s dog Daisy is with me now because my mom is here and she and I really connect.  I feel we both know someone is missing and we are always kind of watching and waiting for him. 

My girls each have a dog.  Carlie has a huge (and I mean huge) Bernedoodle named Hobson.  Emilie has a rescue named Cali — we don’t know what she is…maybe a Havenese.  Both these great dogs have seen my girls through!

ODP: Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  What do you think President Trump’s policies allowing the imports of trophy animals like elephants and his rolling back of protections for endangered species says about his Presidency?

MB: They say he is a callous being with no sense of value and empathy.

ODP: How many pets do you currently have and what’s one pet that you’ve never owned that you would like to?

MB: We have three, four or five pets depending on the day.  We have a beautiful Maine coon kitten coming in a week to partner with Meatball.  I have always wanted a little goat.

Thanks to Mika for taking the time for this interview and for all the wonderful pics of pets past and present!

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