'Modern Family' Star Jesse Tyler Ferguson Gives You The Perfect Reason To Get That New Puppy

There's no doubt you recognize the actor above from ABC's hit comedy Modern Family. Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays Mitchell Pritchett, who is just one of many hilarious characters on the show. But the five-time Emmy nominee isn't just recognized for his acting abilities. Jesse Tyler Ferguson is an animal advocate, who recently teamed up with Purina ONE and Petfinder for the Purina ONE Difference Campaign. "Obviously, I'm an animal lover and advocate of adoption and rescuing, so I'm really thrilled to team up with Purina ONE," he says via phone.

The ONE Difference Campaign shines a light on animals in shelters who are in need of rescuing and celebrates people who are making a difference in the lives of pets. Ferguson has always considered himself an animal lover, but it wasn't until he and his husband Justin Mikita became pet owners (they have two dogs: a four-year-old Maltese-Yorkie mix named Leaf and an eight-month-old newly adopted Maltese-Poodle mix named Fennel) that he became an even bigger animal advocate. He says,

I was always a lover of dogs and really all animals, but growing up I never had any pets, so it wasn't until four years ago when Justin [Mikita] and I adopted Leaf that I had my first experience of being the owner of a pet. I really fell in love with being a proud owner of a dog... It wasn't until after I adopted Leaf that I realized how truly they do become a part of your family. I certainly have been bitten by the dog bug.

The Broadway alum also has advice for others who aren't sure about rescuing. "I think a common misconception about pets that are in shelters is that they sort of have emotional problems and that's kind of what I assumed," he says. "It wasn't until after I visited shelters and became very entrenched in the process of adopting a pet and rescuing them that I realized they just want to find their forever home and they are so willing to love. I think they truly know that they've been rescued and they are the greatest companions. I can't imagine doing it any other way now."

This isn't the first time the actor has given back for an important cause. In 2012, Ferguson and Mikita founded Tie the Knot, a foundation that sells bow ties in support of marriage equality. In association with Tie the Bar, all proceeds from sales of these stylish and unique bow ties go directly to organizations supporting LGBTQ rights. Even though the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-sex marriage equality on June 26, 2015, Tie the Knot continues to benefit and fight for LGBTQ rights.

The actor is beyond grateful for his life and to be in a "very blessed position" thanks to Modern Family. Because of the popularity of the show, he can give back in amazing ways. "If I can use that platform and that exposure for things that I care about, like pet adoption and LGBT rights, that's sort of the icing on the cake."

He continues, "I'm very fortunate to have a job that I love so much. But, the fact that I can also bring attention to all these things that matter so much to me is just an incredible bonus."

Images: Casey Rodgers/Invision for Purina ONE/AP Images