Blake Cooper plays a hero on the big screen, but at home his selfless acts are real. The 13-year-old star of The Maze Runner, opening Sept. 19, rescues a variety of animals with his family from their farm in Georgia.
“The first I remember was a Jack Russell. My mom was taking me to preschool, and we saw him running along the road in the rain. We stopped and called him into the car,” he says.
When no one came forward to claim the dog, the family decided he could stay and named him Jack.
“He’s an awesome dog, 13 now and still pretty spry,” Blake says.
Since Jack, the Cooper family — which includes mom Shari, dad Mike, and siblings Zach, Wade, and Maddy — has rescued Sonic the Pomeranian through Craigslist and Dreamy the French Bulldog, whom a breeder needed to retire and place in a loving home for health reasons.
“When we took him in, he was so skinny and had digestive problems,” Blake says. “Dreamy has gained at least 15 pounds. He’s fat now.”
There are also four rescue cats living on the farm. Sprinkles and Tigre came from Craigslist, and the family adopted Blu and Mufasa at a local kill shelter.
Blake and his family also took in a miniature donkey named Diamond after her owners divorced and did not keep their nearby farm.
“We call her Donkey, though,” he says. “She’s the coolest donkey ever. She protects against coyotes.”
Rounding out the rescues are a bunny named Charlie Pat, who was not doing well living at a college fraternity house, and a Jacob sheep scheduled to be euthanized after being used as a subject in gene therapy testing, also at a nearby school. The family raises the rare breed of sheep on their farm and was more than happy to bring Sophia into the flock.
Blake did not get to work with any animals in The Maze Runner — in which he plays Chuck (shown at top), the life-saving sidekick of main character Thomas in a dangerous, post-apocalyptic setting — but hopes to in the upcoming Amazon series Cocked.
“There’s a Labradoodle in the cast. I really hope I get to work with him,” says Blake, who will portray Xander, the son of Sam Trammell’s character Richard in the show about a family who owns a business manufacturing guns.
And while the young actor feels he has found his chosen career, there will be a break for college. Blake would like to incorporate animals into his studies, as well.
“I like marine biology. I might major in that, or at least minor in it,” he says. “I just love animals.”
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