This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on Pet360.com as: Profile on True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten and Her Role with Best Friends Animals Society and NKLA.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to profile the partnership between Best Friends Animal Society® and HBO’s True Blood star Kristin Bauer van Straten, which aims to educate the general public about the importance of population control and animal rescue efforts.
As an advocate of canine and feline spay and neuter procedures being routinely performed on a domestic and international basis (see my work with Amazon CARES via the Vets Abroad category on my website), I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits animal-welfare education efforts have on society.
Via Best Friends Animal Society®, the No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative has emerged, which strives to make Los Angeles the biggest no-kill city in the U.S. NKLA provides spray/neuter services in some of the most in-need communities around Los Angeles and has played a vital role in facilitating over 23,000 canine and feline adoptions in the past 12 months.
The following YouTube video shares the heartwarming story of Bauer van Straten’s adoption with her rescue dog, Asher:
Here’s my Q/A session with this high-profile actress who has chosen to devote her celebrity to humanitarian causes:
How did you become involved with Best Friends Animal Society® (BFAS) and their No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA)?
I’ve been a supporter of Best Friends sanctuary in Utah for a long time... the best thing about donating to them is the magazine of all happy stories that you get! Just a couple years ago, at a PCRM fundraiser (who do great work for animals who are victims of experimentation) I bid on a trip to Best Friends and won! For years now I’ve been in touch with them to find time to schedule my trip! That led us to talking about what else they are doing, which is NKLA. Since I have volunteered in the shelters in Los Angeles and have four shelter animals in my home, I am honored if I can help anyone in any way who has the goal of saving lives.
What are your personal goals in establishing the relationship with BFAS/NKLA?
I want to see more wonderful kind loving animals, like the four I’ve adopted, get to live the life they deserve. We have enough homes we just need to adopt, not shop!
You describe Asher as being underweight when he first came into your life. Besides needing to put on a few pounds, did Asher have any other health concerns as a result of living on the streets of Los Angeles?
He had the driest itchiest skin and scars on his back, but he didn't seem to care and he was very handsome. He got a few baths, which he did not enjoy, as he is not a water breed (whatever he is). Asher had to wear a T-shirt for a bit so he did not scratch himself, which he actually seemed to like. He's always been healthy, happy, and calm — unless there is a squirrel in his trees.
From what shelter was Asher adopted?
Carson in the county of LA (the shelter where I volunteered).
As a busy professional on one of television’s hottest shows, does Asher (and other pets) play a special role in your life that helps you to emotionally recover from your acting and other responsibilities?
A friend of mine once said to me, I just like a dog's energy. I then realized that I do, too!I think animals live in the moment and know how to love unconditionally, especially canines. Humans just aren't hard wired for such love. I’ve watched a lot of Cesar Milan, so I’m cognizant to not dump my human stress on to them. I try to slow down and tune into their pace, which is always "now" or sometimes "now?" or "now?!" It's never worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Worry can be contagious and I don't want to teach it to them. I want to learn from them how not to worry — they are masters of the moment.
Have you adopted any other animals from shelters? If so, what kind of animals, ages, etc.? Any unique stories of overcoming hardship before they were adopted by you?
I have adopted from rescues that pulled my dogs from the shelters. I have adopted from the Amanda Foundation and Doberman Rescue in the past. In my current family I have Ozmund, a lab mix, from the Forte rescue and two cats from Pet Mania in Burbank.
Did you grow up in the company of companion animals? If so, are there any special tales of the relationships you had with these pets or working animals?
I grew up with a dog, many cats, many many horses and an ornery rooster. When I went to college I found a cat, then another cat...then a dog...and I couldn't just leave them in the street. I had to make sure they were taken care of, which is just my nature. I am in awe of all that nature has created and want to be surrounded by it. The miracle of nature is what balances my life. I can’t imagine one day without my friends of other species.
Are there any animals that you work with on set of True Blood? If so, did you establish any emotional connections with the animals during filming (or post-production)?
Just the homosapiens on True Blood. I haven't worked with any other animals on this set. On "Once Upon a Time" I had a unicorn, which was really a pony painted black with a horn stuck on his head (who was treated very well).
I’d actually never want to work with a more exotic animal, as I know all too well how exotics got here and it's not by permission from their healthy, living parents with a first class ticket to stardom. It's a very sad tale occurring far from a natural life where nature built them to live freely. I’m an entertainer and it is not for everyone, I think it should be your choice.
That is why I do all the work I do for animals, both here and afar: choice. I believe in the God-given right to chose the life you were built for and no one was created for neglect, caged living, forced performance, and being put to death for no fault of their own. That shame is on us that this still happens every day. We can do better as a species and clean up this situation we've caused in creating so many homeless animals. It is in our power to change. It is our choice. If we choose to do so, we can do better.
Thank you Kristin for all of the work you do in supporting animal welfare causes, especially on a local basis with NKLA.
Image via s_bukley/Shutterstock.com
Video via YouTube
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