Celeb Pet Rescue: The Stars Who Are Real-Life Heroes to their Furry Friends
We always see celebrities being spotted walking with their pets or uploading pictures on the internet with their furry friends, but did you know the amazing stories of how they came together? Some of their stories are downright inspiring. It might surprise you to hear that they don’t all just buy animals, even though they have the money. Many celebs are fierce animal rights supporters and animal rescuers. From heart-breaking stories about personal rescues to heart-warming stories about selfless adoptions, we’ve got it all here. Read on to discover the harrowing tales of how these pets ended up in the loving homes of some of the world’s most famous people.
1. Zooey Deschanel
Deschanel’s boyfriend wanted to get her a dog for her birthday so the couple went to a number of shelters to find just the right one. She fell in love with a fluffy white dog named Zelda, but little did she know that her sister was in the cage just next to her.
“They saw each other and it was like sisters being reunited and they started licking each other’s faces,” the actress told Ellen. Not wanting to separate the siblings, she adopted them both! Deschanel has long been a supporter of animal rights. She has hosted a number of events for humane societies and has advocated against the testing of products on animals.
2. Selena Gomez
Singer and actress Selena Gomez is practically the caped crusader of animal rescue. To date, she has adopted at least six dogs and each one has an emotional story behind their rescue. Her dog Willie was found by her stepfather, abandoned and malnourished, in a backyard after the owners moved away.
Willie was initially taken to a shelter, but after learning that he was going to be euthanized, Gomez adopted him. Fina, another one of her dogs, was found in a parking lot and needed medical attention. She took Fina in and got her the medical attention she needed. She even adopted a homeless dog while on set in Puerto Rico.
3. Charlize Theron
Academy-Award-winning actress Charlize Theron’s dogs are part of her family. They even help raise her children! She rescued both of her dogs, Berkley and Johnny, from the streets and confidently states that she couldn’t ask for better nannies.
“My children absolutely adore them and they adore my children and I cannot imagine my family without them,” Charlize said. “What’s better than opening your door and two friendly faces are just happy to see you no matter what? That’s what Berkley and Johnny do.”
4. Kaley Cuoco
Big Bang Theory Star Kaley Cuoco is a well-known animal rights activist and animal rescuer. She is a mother to a whole pack of dogs, as well as a horse. The actress has also been obsessed with Pit Bulls since she was a kid.
“I just found them to be so incredible. I realized what great dogs they were, and how horribly they were seen. And I just didn’t want that to happen anymore. So it became a passion,” Cuoco says about Pit Bulls.
5. Jake Gyllenhaal
Actor and dog lover Jake Gyllenhaal can regularly be seen walking down the streets of New York City with his dogs Atticus and Boo Radley. He named his dogs after characters from the classic American novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Gyllenhaal is known for holding his little dog Boo in awkward positions. Photos of him holding little Boo have gone viral all around the internet and inspired a massive wave of memes. Both of the actor’s dogs were rescue animals he adopted from shelters.
6. Josh Hutcherson
Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson adopted his adorable Pit Bull name Driver from a rescue group called Hands Paws Hearts. Driver was found with a broken leg and missing two toes when he was brought in. The abused animal underwent surgery and the shelter nursed him back to health.
Once Driver was healthy enough to be adopted Hutcherson swooped in to save the day! Now both actor and dog are living happily ever after as best friends. Driver frequently accompanies Hutcherson on set while he’s filming, just for moral support. The two are inseparable.
7. Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried is both the owner of a rescue dog and ambassador for Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization. She and her Australian Shepherd named Finn are best friends. The actress even includes him in every acting contract she signs.
If Seyfried can’t bring her dog to the set, she’s just not interested in the part. “He cuddles with me and he listens to me, and he loves me and he looks at me all the time. I can’t imagine my life without him,” she says.
8. Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds was out on a mission to get a new dog for his paralyzed friend Steve. He found his friend a nice chocolate Lab but ended up falling in love with one of the dogs himself. “I saw this big, dumb-looking retriever staring up at me,” the actor said.
“I whispered to him, ‘Hey, let’s get the hell out of here.’ And he jumped up, like he spoke English fluently. He came with me, he jumped in the car, and we’ve been best buddies ever since,” Reynold told People Magazine.
9. Kristen Bell
Actress Kristen Bell has long been an animal lover and dog rescuer. When Bell was growing up in Michigan she fostered animals from the humane society and became a vegetarian at the age of 11. She has three rescue dogs- Lola, Shakey and Sadie. Sadie was rescued from Hurricane Katrina.
“I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled with—dogs and cats, for example—from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat. I always loved my Brussels sprouts!”
10. Jane Lynch
What is Jane Lynch’s biggest love in life? Her dogs of course! She wanted either a daughter or a dog named Olivia. And, well… turned out the dog came first. “When I met my dog at an adoption fair, I said Olivia and she gave me this look that said, ‘Yeah, whatever lady, just get me out of here!’” the actress joked.
Lynch fell in love with her second rescue dog at an adoption event. She wasn’t planning to adopt that day and even left the event, only to turn around to go back for the dog she fell in love with.
11. Emma Stone
After a year of dating, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield decided to take the next step in their relationship: getting a dog! Initially, the couple just wanted to foster a dog together to test the waters but once they meet their Golden Retriever named Ren, they just had to adopt him.
The duo searched long and hard to find the right dog for them and they finally found Ren at an even sponsored by Spot! Dog Rescue of LA . Stone and Garfield fell in love with the pup at first sight. Ren came from a high-kill shelter.
12. Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom has a knack for rescuing dogs off the streets all around the world. He rescued his dog Sidi while on location in Morocco filming Kingdom of Heaven. Bloom also rescued an injured stray dog in Shanghai, China during the filming of the movie Smart Chase: Fire & Earth.
The actor found the dog and took him to the vet to get fixed up. Bloom posted photos of each step of the rescue on his Instagram account, personally helping the vet wash and give him a haircut. Recently, Bloom has been seen accompanied by a small brown dog named Mighty.
13. Chelsea Handler
Any fan of Chelsea Handler knows that she is a dog fanatic. Her pooches regularly make appearances on her talk show. All of her dogs have been rescued from shelters. One of her dogs, Chunk, was due to be euthanized because he was deemed to have behavioral issues, but Chelsea jumped in and adopted him first.
The comedian is a strong advocate for animal adoption. According to her, pets add more to our lives than we do to theirs. “I love my dog and I will never be able to say how much value dogs bring to your life,” she added.
14. Anne Hathaway
Popular actress Anne Hathaway adopted a chocolate brown Labrador named Esmeralda, but why stop at only one dog? Of course, Esmeralda needed a buddy, so Hathaway adopted another rescue dog. This time she found a small-mixed breed dog.
Hathaway named the dog Kenobi, after the Star Wars character, since the actress just loves sci-fi movies! According to a source close to Hathaway, Kenobi is “such a little gentleman. He’s a calm, sweet puppy. Which is why he’s going to be a good companion for Esmeralda.”
15. Kellan Lutz
Model and actor Kellan Lutz is probably best-known for his work acting in the Twilight series but what you might not have known is that he is an avid animal rights supporter and has rescued two dogs himself.
Lutz is known for his incredibly muscular body, but do you want to know his secret? It’s his dogs! “Walking both of my dogs is the biggest workout ever,” said the actor. Lutz also appeared in a PETA advertisement telling people to “Adopt, don’t buy.”
16. Miley Cyrus
Singer Miley Cyrus is known for being a character with a large personality, but she also has a huge soft spot for all things furry and four-legged. Just take one look at her Instagram posts! All in all, she has 13 pets.
Together with fiancé Liam Hemsworth, they have multiple rescue dogs, cats and also a pig. Her house must be a zoo, but we would expect nothing less from the unpredictable musician. Cyrus found one of her dogs in a box left in front of Walmart and tweeted that she didn’t understand how people could be so cruel. “There are times when I think we don’t rescue them but they save us.”
17. Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle is a huge dog lover. She has two rescue dogs and the first was all thanks to Ellen. The actress and soon-to-be royal, was in a dog shelter when she ran into Ellen and her wife Portia. Markle was trying to decide if she wanted to adopt a dog when Ellen told her, “Rescue the dog!” and she just couldn’t refuse.
Markle’s first rescue dog, Bogart, was sadly too old to make the move from Toronto to London, where she now lives. As the trip would have put his life in danger, she was forced to leave him behind. Bogart now lives with a new loving family.
18. Ed Sheeran
Famous musician Ed Sheeran has a soft spot for all things cat, so much so that he adopted one of his own. “So basically this one-month-old kitten was gonna get put down so I adopted him and called him Graham,” Sheeran said via Twitter.
Graham is also somewhat of a celebrity. Sheeran made the kitten his own Twitter profile and the internet just can’t get enough of the lovable ball of fluff. To date, Graham’s Twitter account has almost 70,000 followers.
19. Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman, the Wolverine himself, is a huge animal lover, specifically of dogs. He has adopted two little fur-balls and can frequently be seen walking them around town. He also loves to share pictures of himself with the tiny pooches online, causing a virtual hurricane among fans.
Jackman jokingly admitted in an interview that his dogs were far more famous than he was, saying that he frequently has fans coming to just see his dogs. He also admitted that when he is away he misses his dogs dearly and keeps in touch. “I do Skype my dogs. I love that too, the whole Skype, Facetime thing. Technology is great,” the actor confessed.
20. Kelly Clarkson
This American Idol isn’t just a pop diva, she is also an avid animal lover. She jokingly refers to her Texas home as “Eddie’s Rescue Ranch” because of all the animals she has collected over the years. To her, they aren’t just animals; they’re part of the family.
When she last counted, she had at least 30 dogs, 14 horses, four goats and two pigs (though the numbers have surely grown by now). Now that’s a lot of animals! But not to worry. Her ranch is certainly big enough to hold more furry friends.
21. Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock deserves an award for her animal rescuing. She stands out on this list not just for rescuing at-risk dogs, but rescuing special-needs dogs. The actress has three little Chihuahua dogs, all with special needs. One of the dogs was born with only two legs.
Another lost a leg in an accident and the third only has one eye. “Any dog that is missing something is welcome in our house,” Bullock says. “If we can’t handle them, we find them a home. But they seem to find us.”
22. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston is no stranger to our furry four-legged friends. She and her husband, Justin Theroux, have multiple rescue dogs. All were adopted from animal shelters. The famous actress pampers her pooches like you wouldn’t believe. She even takes them to the doggie spa!
“We were there (at the shelter) for three hours, and I’m telling you, I…almost [walked] out with three puppies. It’s so hard. That’s why we named her Sophie, because it was Sophie’s Choice. I was crying – it was so hard,” said Aniston.
23. Hilary Swank
When Hilary Swank isn’t winning Oscars for her acting, she is out rescuing dogs. The actress spends much of her time volunteering at animal shelters and rescue organizations. All of her dogs are rescues and she also fosters dogs until they can be adopted.
“I am a really big advocate for speaking up for animals that need to be adopted, and when you think about the statistics, to me, there is no other option but to adopt,” Swank says. She has helped thousands of dogs find permanent homes and even started the Hilaroo Foundation to help with the rescue and rehabilitation of animals.
24. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg fell in love and adopted an adorable special-needs pup named Bear after he was featured on The View, which she co-hosts. Bear is both blind and deaf, but his kind and loving nature won over the actress’ heart instantly.
But the pup wasn’t Goldberg’s first rescue. She also adopted a Russian Blue kitten named Vinny. The poor helpless kitty was thrown out of a moving car and rescued on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. Special needs animals make for some of the best pets, so don’t rule them out when adopting.
25. Beth Ostrosky Stern
Beth Ostrosky Stern, wife of Howard Stern, is a self-declared “crazy cat lady.” The couple has at least six cats of their own that they have adopted from animal shelters and they have fostered over 100 kittens. Wow! Any tips on how to get rid of all the pesky cat hair, guys?
“It’s crazy. Right now we have…I have to count…17 kittens in the house,” Beth told interviewers. Howard even admitted that rescuing animals has helped their marriage significantly. The couple’s passion for rescuing animals came after the loss of their beloved bulldog named Bianca.
26. Katherine Heigl
Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl is a huge advocate for adoption. Apart from her two adopted daughters, she has adopted an incredible 36 animals, the majority of which stay at her ranch in Utah. That includes eight dogs, three cats and a wide variety of farm animals.
The actress’ Chihuahua, Gertie, was next at the shelter to be killed. She adopted her even though she had no teeth and was severely underweight. Now Gertie is flying around the globe and living a life of luxury. What a life! Heigl says that she has always loved and cared for animals and grew up in a household with two dogs and two cats.
27. Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood was driving down the highway when she spotted something on the side of the road. It was two dogs. “My guess is that the dogs were thrown out of their car by their owners on the highway,” the singer stated. One of the dogs sadly had already passed away.
Underwood took the other dog, who was badly injured, straight to the vet. Within just a matter of days, the dog was nursed back to health and a new loving home was found for her. The singer loves animals so much that she even opened an animal shelter in her hometown in Oklahoma called Happy Paws Animal Shelter.
28. George Clooney
George Clooney’s first rescue dog, a black cocker spaniel named Einstein, was due to be put down the same day that the actor adopted him. He truly saved Einstein’s life. The cocker spaniel was an obese stray dog in a crowded shelter, as he was older than most of the other dogs. His chances of getting adopted were slim.
Together, Clooney and his wife have rescued three dogs. Another one of the couple’s rescue dogs, a Basset hound named Millie, was found outside a restaurant begging for scraps of food. Every time they adopt a new dog they have a ‘meet and greet’ just to make sure all the pets get along.
29. Tori Spelling
Much like Miley Cyrus, Tori Spelling’s house is also somewhat of a zoo. Well, actually more so. The Beverly Hills 90210 and reality TV star has quite the eclectic collection of rescue animals. Among them are two dogs, a chicken, a goat, two ducks and even a pig.
But the farm animals stay outside, right? Nope. All the animals are welcome in the house and even cuddle up in bed with the Spelling family. Apart from adopting animals herself, Spelling frequently supports animal rescue events.
30. Wendie Malick
Wendie Malick, best known for her acting roles on Just Shoot Me! and Hot in Cleveland, might not have any children, but she has plenty of animal children to take care of. At her home in Santa Monica, located in the Santa Monica Mountains, she and her husband have lots of animals.
The actress has three dogs, two horses and a cat. And they all have plenty of space to roam around. “They are so lucky that they can live free on 40 acres,” Malick said. While admitting that she isn’t perfect herself she says that we all need to be more sensitive and kinder to animals to prevent cruelty.
31. Simon Cowell
Turns out that tough American Idol judge Simon Cowell does have a soft spot: his little doggies! The reality TV judge and producer has three tiny Yorkshire Terriers named Freddie, Squiddly and Diddly. Cowell adopted the pooches in 2013 and is head-over-heels in love with them.
“I love my dogs so much. I take them on holidays, I let them sleep in the bed and sometimes one gets in the bath with me,” he told the Daily Mail. Watch out Cowell! The world now knows your weakness.
32. Jason Mraz
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz went viral in 2014 after he adopted an adorable little kitten named Prancer. The singer rescued Prancer from the San Diego Humane Society and cat lovers everywhere rejoiced. Prancer’s sister was adopted by one of Mraz’s frequent music collaborators, so the two will get plenty of family time together.
Mraz adopted Prancer on January 2nd and we cant think of any better way to start the new year. The singer jokingly tweeted that he intended to use his time wisely that year, “cat-gazing mostly.” After all, what could be more entertaining than watching cats?
33. Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper saved his German shorthair named Samson from a kill shelter just a few weeks before the dog was scheduled to be put down. He then fell in love with a chow-retriever mix named Charlotte who he also adopted.
“I lucked out, I got two great rescues…I’m sort of a hybrid of both my dogs. Samson is stoic and makes me earn it and Charlotte loves me undyingly. They’re my kids,” the actor told People Pets.
34. Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert has tons of rescued animals. Rescuing animals started out as just a side hobby, then she founded her own organization called Mutt Nation. The organization helped rescue pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Apart from having more dogs than she can count, she also has chickens, pigs, horses and cats.
Lambert found her Chihuahua-Pug dog, called Delta Dawn, at a local Sonic Drive-In. The little thing was badly malnourished and the singer took her in and nursed the dog back to health. She adopted another one of her dogs, Cher, from a shelter. Cher was found in a dumpster when she was only around four weeks old.
35. Lea Michele
Glee star Lea Michele was known as the resident cat lady on the set of the show. She found and rescued her cats Shelia and Claude from the Paramount lot, along with some other kittens. Michele took her kittens home and even found loving homes for the other abandoned kitties.
Then just a few years later, after her breakup with co-star Cory Monteith, she adopted a dog named Pearl. The actress regularly uploads photos of her and her furry friends online and fans just can’t get enough of the cuteness.
36. Ian Somerhalder
Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder and his wife Nikki Reed have a very large family of furry rescue animals. At last count, the couple had three cats, two dogs and two horses. He says that his passion for rescuing animals comes from his childhood.
Growing up in the bayous of Louisiana, Somerhalder would rescue small pelicans and otters. Together with his mother, they’d nurse them back to health. The actor even started his own foundation, which he named the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, to “support projects that protect our habitat and nurture our furry friends.”
37. Jon Hamm
For Jon Hamm, rescuing his dog Cora changed his entire life. He admitted that he went into the shelter planning to foster a dog, but when he met the Shepard mix, he knew that he had to adopt her.
“It has changed my life in such a positive way,” says Hamm. “Pets can bring to us a sense of love and pride and all of those wonderful things.” He recently teamed up with shelterme.tv to spread awareness of animal adoption and says he wishes more people would “take advantage of pet rescue.”
38. Rachel Bilson
Actress Rachel Bilson has rescued many at-risk dogs. She loves her dogs so much that she even shares custody of two of them with her ex, Adam Brody. The actress’ newest dog is an English sheepdog named Lambert.
Lambert is very large and shaggy. He is about half as tall as Bilson, which creates some pretty hilarious problems for the petite actress. “He tried to go after another dog, and the only thing I could do to keep him from dragging me into the street was basically to sit on top of him,” the actress told People.
39. Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba is crazy about dogs. She rescued two dogs from shelters and is simply in love with them. She even brought in an interior designer to make her house dog friendly and create space for them to play, including their own personal playground.
Alba told People Magazine that her two dogs greatly helped her during her second pregnancy, both in terms of staying happy mentally and staying fit physically. Having pets really does pay off! Go out and adopt. Read on, the next celebrity is sure to surprise you.
40. Kevin Bacon
Celebrated actor Kevin Bacon has had many dogs throughout the years, all of them rescued from animal shelters. Bacon is a huge advocate for animal rights and adoption. He frequently hosts and appears at events for animal rights and rescue.
Bacon, and his wife Kyra Sedgwick, loved their dogs so much that they even had the dogs’ DNA tested to find out their exact breed. One of them turned out to be purebred. In fact, around 25% of all shelter animals are purebred, so even if you’re looking for a specific breed, check out the local shelters first. Take a hint from Kevin Bacon when he says “adoption is the only option!”
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