Oscar Winning actress, Hilary Swank, loves dogs. Her rescue dog Kai, a Jack Russell stray she rescued, is often seen accompanying the actress on her travels. Swank was recently in Bucharest fighting for the stray dogs of Romania and supporting the efforts of the animal welfare foundation Vier Pfoten.
Vier Pfoten has set up projects that encourage interaction between stray dogs and institutionalized people. Swank believes that what Vier Pfoten is doing is a healing process and a relationship teaching tool.
She told the Associated Press, “I believe that is so healing to these kids who don’t trust people anymore. The unconditional love of an animal is very healing and teaches them about not just unconditional love but about a relationship, about responsibility, about anger management.”
The fight over what to do with stray dogs in Bucharest has caused fierce debate. Over 35,000 strays walk the streets. Some want the dogs euthanized, others want the dogs put into shelters, and others want the strays sterilized.
Swank believes that sterilizing the street dogs and using them to help disadvantaged people is the best way to fight for the dogs. She plans to utilize this method in the U.S. with her charity called Hilaroo. Her charity, which is partially named after her late dog, Karoo, will bring children and animals together.
She said, “I’ve seen firsthand how it changes the path of the soul, for the animal and for the child.”
Swank urged the people of Romania to neuter unwanted dogs and cats rather than kill them before leaving the capitol city of Bucharest. She made clear her stance on “No-Kill” policies saying, “Hopefully (we are) getting to a place where we have “No-Kill” universally and just a more caring attitude in general to all animals.”
The Oscar Winning actress has been an advocate of animal rights for most of her film career. She supported Paws for Style in 1999 to benefit The Humane Society of New York and she became ambassador for the annual Iams Home for the Holiday’s campaign to promote pet adoption in 2009. The campaign ran from October 1, 2009 to January 4, 2010 and because of Swank’s passion 1.4 million animals were adopted during that time.
Swank begins work on the HBO movie, “Martha and Mary,” next month. Swank and her co-star Brenda Blethyn will play two women trying to eradicate malaria.
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