Natalie Morales Adopts a Dog She Met on Today

Natalie Morales (center) with her family and new dog Zara

Courtesy of North Shore Animal League America

09/23/2011 AT 6:00 PM ET

As news anchor and cohost of the Today show, Natalie Morales has a job full of surprises. But the biggest one of all came this week, when she walked into a backstage production area and met a dog named Zara.

“Zara, she picked me,” Morales tells PEOPLE. “I was playing with her and petting her, and she was so good with me already. I think she sort of said, ‘Hey, I’m coming home with you.’”

Zara had come to Today with North Shore Animal League America to participate in a segment about pet safety and travel. The 1-year-old “muttigree” with a little spaniel and a little Lab had been rescued from a kill shelter in Georgia, and having already been trained, she showed off some tricks when she got to the studio.