In honor of the Hollywood award season starting this month, we’re counting down our top five celebrities who love dogs and support them using their star power. These celebs have made our list by not only saving dogs, but by inspiring their fans and social media friends to do the same.
1. Katherine Heigl
The former “Grey’s Anatomy” actress earns the top spot on our list for her continued efforts to save dogs. In 2008, she founded the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation in an effort to end animal cruelty and abuse. As part of her foundation’s efforts, it maintains an internal rescue group, the Heigl Hounds Of Hope, that is dedicated to finding homes for medium to large dogs from high-kill shelters.
Throughout the years, Heigl has done a lot to spread goodwill toward dogs. A couple years ago, she started an “I Hate Balls” campaign targeted to raise awareness about spaying and neutering, “a simple and extremely effective means of stopping the killing of animals in shelters.” The actress has also donated $1 million to help spay and neuter efforts in Los Angeles County, and even rescued a Pit Bull that had been hogtied and left to die in a muddy field in Bakersfield, Calif.
2. Ian Somerhalder
A 2013 People’s Choice Award nominee, “Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder wins over the ladies with his good looks and warm personality. Though most people know him as the undead vampire Damon, Somerhalder has nothing but warmth for animals in need off the screen.
In 2012, the actor launched the Ian Somerhalder Foundation to educate and collaborate with people and projects to help the planet and its creatures. The foundation works to help dogs by transferring and retraining abandoned pups into assistive and therapy guides. It also supports several “no-kill shelters” and is currently working toward opening its own animal sanctuary.
Somerhalder earned the second spot on our countdown because of his promotion of animal wellness on Twitter. The actor was even a supporter of Lennox and has adopted several rescue dogs over the past few years.
3. Betty White
Who doesn’t love this “Golden Girl?” Betty White has done a lot for animals over her long career, giving her a well-deserved spot on our list.
For more than 40 years, White has been involved with the Morris Foundation, helping to sponsor animal health studies that have resulted in major breakthroughs in animal pain management.
4. Ellen Degeneres
Our favorite talk show host has a love for all things animal and is often seen chatting up her celebrity guests on “Ellen” about their dogs. Also a People’s Choice Award 2013 nominee, Degeneres recently told Modern Dog Magazine that she “cannot imagine not going home to animals.” Both of her Poodles have been rescues: Mabel was a former senior show dog who needed a better home, and Wolf was saved from a street-peddler on Sunset Boulevard. Degeneres is also a strong supporter of the Humane Society of the United States, who she designed a T-shirt for.
Wait, Ke$ha, with the dollar sign in her name? Yes, the last spot on our countdown goes to the eccentric singer known for her party anthems and outrageous wardrobe.
While she may not seem like your typical animal advocate, she’s actually a strong supporter of saving street dogs. As the Humane Society International’s first global ambassador, Ke$ha leads a “Street Dog Defender” campaign to promote respect, protection and compassion for animals around the world.
The singer also recently posted a call to action on her website encouraging her fans to help the street dogs in Latin American and the Carribean. The singer wrote, “My family has adopted a number of street dogs from Latin America and they are some of the sweetest animals. But for most street dogs, life involves a constant struggle to find food, shelter and safety… help me help these neglected and abused animals get the humane treatment they deserve through spay, neuter and treatment programs through the Humane Society International.”
Who’s your favorite celebrity dog supporter? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @ilovedogsinc.