Updated: December 25, 2015 11:12:41 pm
Many of us may think of celebrities exclusively as on-screen heroes, but there are several who are also real-life heroes to animals. October is “Adopt a Shelter Dog” month, the perfect time to recognise these champions for animals and possibly even consider opening our own hearts and homes to a dog or cat in need at an animal shelter or on the streets, instead of buying an animal from a pet shop or a breeder. For those of us with the time, space, patience and resources to do so, as so many stars have done, it can be an extremely rewarding act of compassion.
Take, for instance, actor Trisha Krishnan. While filming in Hyderabad, she found an injured puppy wandering the streets. She quickly rushed the pup to a veterinarian and then took him home for good. Cadbury, as the pup was named, spent his life basking in the actor’s loving care, and she considered him as precious as a son. She later went on to adopt another bundle of joy called Zorro from an animal shelter.
Bollywood actor Sonakshi Sinha began saving animals as a child. Her late dog, Nancy, who was rescued from a construction site after her family had died, was Sonakshi’s grateful and devoted companion for 14 years. Likewise, Dino Morea’s precious pup Slidey was rescued by his parents after his younger brother saw the sweet dog being attacked by a gang of kids on the streets of Bangalore. Dino quickly intervenes whenever he sees others abusing animals and has also adopted another adorable Indian pup off the street and named him Ganpat.
Imran Khan learned how much joy rescued animals can add to their guardians’ lives when he adopted Tony, whose previous owner had abandoned him to the streets without even bothering to remove his leash. Imran and Tony also helped Peta raise awareness of the importance of animal adoption. Sadly, Tony has since passed away, but Imran now rescues cats off the street. He and his mother also run a foundation to help animals.
Badminton superstar Ashwini Ponnappa grew up watching her mother rescue injured birds and her aunt rescue cats, which fostered her desire to become a veterinarian. She may not have ended up in a white coat, but the gold medallist and her family found a way to help animals nonetheless: instead of patronising pet shops or breeders (which exacerbate the homeless-animal crisis), Ashwini and her family opened their hearts and home to Indian community dogs who had nowhere to go and gave them a life of comfort and care. Ashwini also uses social media to raise awareness of the importance of animal protection.
Actor Raveena Tandon-Thadani is no stranger to animal adoption, either. She’s welcomed four dogs and a cat into her home, all adopted from the streets or an animal shelter. She also helps any animal in distress and has also rescued an owl, a rabbit and even a monkey. Sunny Leone has two adopted dogs (whom she calls her babies) and does whatever she can to help animals in need. While shooting in Goa, she arranged for medical treatment for an injured community dog. She and her film crew also helped a kitten who had been cruelly dumped into a garbage can. Esha Gupta does her part, too: she adopted two dogs, and after seeing a video of a man beating a community dog, she offered a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who could identify the abuser. Comedian Kapil Sharma takes his dog, Zanjeer, who was adopted from an animal shelter, to the set daily, and his co-stars consider the dog an honorary cast member.
Adoption is so rewarding that Pamela Anderson also adopted an Indian pup, who had been rescued from a construction site, while she was in India filming Bigg Boss.
These celebrities know that right now, millions of dogs and cats without homes have no choice but to roam the streets in search of shelter and food. They often fall victim to deadly diseases, abuse from cruel humans and lethal injuries from careless drivers. Meanwhile, shelters are full of animals and unable to meet the constant demand for more space. So the next time you see a community dog or cat or pass by an animal shelter, think about what you can do to help. By adopting an animal, you’ll become a superstar in your own right and garner a lifelong fan.
The author is Associate Director of Celebrity and Public Relations with PETA.
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