In celebration of our dog contest and our overall love for all things dog, we thought it only appropriate to interview Maria Menounos: entertainment superstar, host of EXTRA and a passionate advocate for animal issues. We sat down and asked her a few questions about the five loves of her life… her dogs! Read on!

We hear you have four dogs! How did you choose their names?
I actually have five dogs now! Apollo (a white German Shepherd), Athena (a standard poodle), Baby and Benjamin (both bichons) and Winnie (a miniature poodle). As a Greek, of course I had to name at least a few of my dogs after Greek gods. Benjamin was a name Keven came up. Baby was inspired by my other friend’s poodle named Baby, and Winnie just came to me!

What about their personalities?
Except Winnie, all of them are fairly old. Athena was rescued from a puppy mill and experienced a lot of abuse in her past. After I rescued her, she found love in our family, which essentially saved her life. Apollo, much like his namesake, is the protector and thinks he’s king of the hill. But even though he’s a large dog, he has the sweetest spirit. Baby is a big dog trapped in a little dog’s body. She’s always the first one on alert when visitors are around. Benny likes three things: to eat, to be held and to pee. But when you show him affection, he’ll be your best friend forever. When I first rescued Winnie, she was very timid and mangy. With time, she’s completely come out of her shell and is now quite the diva.

Why are dogs (especially rescue dogs) so close to your heart?
As an animal lover, it breaks my heart when I see them abused or abandoned. I immediately want to take them in, which is why I have so many — they are gifts from God!

Do they all sleep in your bed at night? Who kicks? Who snores?
At times it’s all of them, but it changes. Baby and Benny are partners, so if one of them is in our bed, the other one has to be, too. They even spoon in bed! Apollo lasts in the bedroom for about a half hour, and then just wants to roam around. Winnie loves to snuggle, but if you move at all during the night she’ll jump up like it’s playtime. Thankfully none of them snore, but Apollo sometimes has dreams about running. It’s quite funny to watch!

Some say owners and their dogs tend to look alike. Do you think you have similar features to any of your pooches?
Well I have five so I don’t want to play favorites, but I would say I share a similar personality trait with each of them. Winnie is spunky, Apollo is always in charge, Athena is gentle, Benny is fun and Baby is ambitious.