We all love animals, of course, or we wouldn’t be gathered around the virtual water cooler of PetCareRx. Just imagine if you had the means and the fame to take your love of animals to the next level. Would you donate millions of dollars? Would you use your platform to get the message out there about the animal issues that touch your heart the most? These 12 celebrities use their star power to care for animals beyond our wildest dreams.
1. Betty White
Many of us know and love Betty White from the “Golden Girls” and more recently for her Emmy-Award winning performance as Elka in “Hot in Cleveland.” But Betty is also a fierce animal lover, which she’s demonstrated as a longtime trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.
White has stated in numerous interviews that she’s been crazy about animals all her life and that she probably got her passion for animals from her parents. White is an advocate of zoos’ efforts to conserve endangered species in the wild. Her book, Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo, contains photos and stories of White’s favorite animals.
2. Glenn Close
Like many of us, Glenn Close is a huge dog lover, however, there’s a factor that makes her love run even deeper than most. Close’s sister, Jessie, suffers from bi-polar disorder and relies on a service dog for support.
Close’s mental health advocacy group, BringChange2Mind.org, stresses how helpful service dogs are for those living with mental illness. Close also supports Puppies Behind Bars, which helps prison inmates train puppies as service dogs. Close has served as a presenter for Broadway Barks, a yearly charity event in New York City that promotes pet adoption from shelters.
3. Kaley Cuoco
Best known for her role as Penny on the CBS comedy series “The Big Bang Theory,” Kaley Cuoco is a vocal advocate of pet adoption, even closing out her hosting of the 2011 Teen Choice Awards by saying “Please adopt your animals!”
Cuoco, who has three rescued Pit Bulls, has adopted several dogs from shelters over the years, and has said that she can no longer visit shelters because she wants to rescue every dog she sees. Cuoco may even open her own shelter one day.
4. Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan, former James Bond actor and supporter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), painted a picture of his family’s adopted pets, Shilo their dog, and Angel Baby, their cat. But this isn’t just any celebrity doodle; Brosnan’s adorable and funky painting is featured on California’s Pet Lover’s license plate, with most of the proceeds going to statewide spay and neuter causes.
Brosnan says, "This license plate will provide much needed funds which will enable people who couldn't necessarily afford to spay or neuter their pets to do so."
5. Leonardo DiCaprio
Since 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has been working on several environmental and animal issues, including wildlife and habitat preservation, healthy oceans, water access, climate change, and disaster relief.
DiCaprio’s foundation is currently taking action to protect the habitats of tigers, orangutans, and elephants. DiCaprio is also passionate about stopping overfishing and preserving species of threatened sharks.
6. Ricky Gervais
Outrageous comedian and animal lover Ricky Gervais is very outspoken on his deep love for animals, as well as various animal rights issues, including hunting and animal testing. Gervais was named PETA’s 2013 Person of the Year for keeping his 5.58 million Twitter followers (at the time of this writing) educated about how people commonly and unwittingly abuse animals, for example, by supporting household brands that are not cruelty-free.
Gervais was quoted as saying: “Animals are not here for us to do as we please with. We are not their superiors, we are their equals. We are their family. Be kind to them.”
7. Rachel Ray
Celebrity chef and talk show host Rachael Ray’s web site has the typical section headings you would expect, such as Food, Recipes, and Home and Family. But there is another surprising section of her web site dedicated entirely to pets! Alongside homemade pet food recipes, Rachel shares tips on pet care and cute pet photos.
As she is a dedicated animal activist, she donates a portion of the proceeds of her signature line of pet foods and treats to animal charities.
8. Bob Barker
You know him as the host of “The Price Is Right”, but vegetarian Bob Barker was influenced by his animal-rights-promoting wife, Dorothy Jo. After Barker’s wife died in 1981, he felt compelled to pick up the mantel of promoting animal rights, most famously with his sign off at the end of his show: "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered."
Barker’s contributions to his cause are varied and many; his DJ&T Foundation has given millions to animal rescue and neutering programs since being founded in 1994.
9. Kim Basinger
In 2013, movie star Kim Basinger narrated a video for The Humane Society of the United States in an effort to bring to light to the fact that each year in the United States, 65,000 dogs are tortured via use in lab experiments. The video shows disturbing undercover footage of dogs being subjected to dental experiments at a Georgia Regents University facility. Basinger has famously posed for anti-fur campaigns by PETA.
10. Ian Somerhalder
Ian Somerhalder is best known for his roles on TV shows “The Vampire Diaries,” “Smallville,” and “Lost,” but he’s also a committed animal advocate with the formation of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.
Somerhalder’s foundation is dedicated to the support of broad issues like environment and habitat, and pet specific causes, such as ending animal cruelty, the training of abandoned animals into assistive and therapy guides, and the support of no-kill animal shelters.
11. Sarah McLachlan
Canadian singer-songwriter, Lilith Fair music festival founder, and ASPCA spokeswoman Sarah McLachlan can be heard on a heart-rending commercial for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in which her hit single “Angel” plays in the background.
McLachlan also contributed a song called "Shelter" to the star-studded album "In Defense of Animals Benefit Compilation,” which was released in 1993.
12. Ellen DeGeneres
Talkshow host and co-owner of Halo Pet Foundation Ellen DeGeneres says, "At Halo we want to promote healthy living for pets and eating good food is a big part of that. So, we agreed to donate one million meals of Halo (pet food) to shelter pets. I mean, imagine, an animal in a shelter, in a cage, lonely – a good meal is kinda all they have to look forward to, until you adopt them!"
Ellen also loves promoting The Gentle Barn, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates needy animals, and Animal Tracks, a sanctuary in Southern California for abused or misplaced exotic animals that can't be returned to the wild.
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