Hollywood's 10 Favorite Pet Rescue Centers: Where Ellen Pompeo and Bradley Cooper Adopted Their Dogs

1:46 PM 6/18/2018

by Lesley McKenzie

Jessica Chastain, Jon Hamm, Jane Lynch, Hilary Duff and more stars have all adopted pets from these popular spots.

Ellen Pompeo, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Chastain_Split - Getty - H 2018
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When Glee’s Jane Lynch and her partner, Jennifer Cheyne, came across a picture of an abandoned cattle dog named Arbuckle on dog-rescue nonprofit A Purposeful Rescue's Instagram account in November, they knew they had to do something. 

"He was 116 pounds and he had sores all over his belly — probably from lying on concrete and his belly rubbing on the ground — so he was a mess," says Lynch of the 8-year-old hound, who was more than 40 overweight due to an untreated thyroid condition (he’s now down 23lbs). After donating to his costs and waiting until he was fit enough to handle stairs in their home, the couple adopted the now Insta-famous pup (66,000 followers and counting), adding him to their existing brood of three rescues. "A lot of people don’t want to adopt the older dogs, but we love them,” says Lynch. "We really relish the chance to give them a good last couple of years."

Here are 10 of Hollywood’s favorite rescue centers, and the other ways industry insiders are getting involved for a good paws, er, cause.

  • A Purposeful Rescue

    Artist Ed Ruscha and his wife, Dana, along with Mom and Dad’s Selma Blair have both adopted pups from A Purposeful Rescue, founded by Hillary Rosen in 2012. "We rescue the hot mess dogs, the ones who won’t get out," says Rosen, who, along with her network of volunteers, pulls animals often in need of medical care (which she dubs "Magical Unicorns") from high-kill shelters and places them with a network of fosters. "If you trust me, I am going to place a dog with you that’s perfect," says Rosen (Arbuckle is the fourth dog she has rehomed with Lynch). 

    A portion of the organization’s funding comes through donations via social media, as well as the annual Punchline for Paws night of comedy — also benefitting rescue organization Home Dog L.A. — which was hosted this year by Andy Richter. apurposefulrescue.org.


    So. There’s this. #buster #tinyhand

    A post shared by Selma Blair (@selmablair) on

  • Love Leo Rescue


    Hey guys! We adopted an old dog thank you so much @loveleorescue #welovelucy

    A post shared by Hilary Duff (@hilaryduff) on

    Named after founder Sasha Abelson’s late rescue pit bull, Leo, Love Leo Rescue is committed to rescuing and rehabilitating abused, abandoned, injured or sick dogs and helping them get the medical attention and training they need before placing them in homes. 

    "A dog that has a broken leg and needs a $3,000 to $4,000 surgery might not be high on a member of the public’s list of adoptable dogs. So we want to give those dogs an extra chance of getting out of the shelter," says Abelson, who gave up her career in environmental policy to focus on the non-profit’s rescue efforts and spay and neuter clinic, which has taken in more than 500 cats and dogs to date. 

    Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy and The Newsroom’s Olivia Munn have both adopted dogs from the organization, as has Younger’s Hilary Duff, who adopted two pooches, Momo and Lucy, after discovering the rescue on Instagram, where dogs with medical conditions are often featured. "I’m the last person on earth to join Venmo," says Duff. "But, weekly, I find myself donating to cover costly surgeries." loveleorescue.org.

  • Much Love Animal Rescue

    "It was love at first sight," says ICM Partners' Kevin Crotty, who, along with his wife, adopted their 5-year-old wheaton terrier mix, Cali Coco, through friend Nikki Ferraro, co-president of Much Love Animal Rescue. Since 1999, the rescue has been placing dogs, cats — and a few rabbits — with the help of an extensive network of foster homes (run by board member and Echo Lake Entertainment talent manager Lauren Williams). 

    "It allow us to keep our overhead extremely low, so that our money goes directly back to rescuing, providing medical care, training and supplies for the animals," says co-president Ruthanne Secunda, a senior TV talent and packaging agent at ICM. 

    Jessica Chastain has adopted from here (a three-legged pup named Chaplin, no less), as have Jon Hamm, Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper. "It’s a wonderful organization and we’re proud to support," says Crotty, who also donates, alongside Dana Walden and an adopter, producer Nina Tassler of PatMa Productions. muchlove.org.


    Traveling through Europe with my Mama @mollysgamemovie press tour ♠♥♣♦

    A post shared by Jessica Chastain (@jessicachastain) on

  • Wags and Walks

    Founded in 2011, Wags and Walks' goal is "to promote and save as many shelter dogs as possible and promote them as the most family-friendly dogs in the world," says founder Lesley Brog, who started the organization — which has saved 3,800 dogs to date — out of her home. 

    In 2017 the organization opened the first Wags and Walks adoption Center in West Los Angeles, featuring 28 kennel suites and a Pussy and Pooch retail store — a feat made possible by major donors including talent manager, producer and label owner Arnold Stiefel of Stiefel Entertainment (and honoree of last year’s Wags and Walks gala). "I got into a dog rescuing mode 20 years ago," says Stiefel (his company logo features one of his late rescues, Nipsy Russell), who was introduced to Brog through a friend. Over the years, he has provided advice, financial support, and fostered. (In 2015, when an abandoned pitbull named Bessie gave birth to nine pups, Brog named one Arnold — "the craziest one," says Stiefel — in his honor.)

    Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet is an adopter, and comedian John Mulaney and his wife are regular on-site volunteers. Sir Patrick Stewart who fostered a pit bull with his wife, Sunny Ozell, who will be honored at this year’s gala on September 13, hosted by Jeff Garlin and Judy Greer. "It’s an amazing charity," says Paris Hilton, who has also volunteered with adoption events. "I think it’s very important to raise awareness." wagsandwalks.org.

  • Karma Rescue

    Founded 15 years ago by Rande Levine, Karma Rescue has expanded from a rescue that re-homes at-risk dogs (ex-American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe adopted two in 2010) into an organization that also helps transform rescue dogs into service animals for veterans with PTSD through its Paws for Life program. 

    "We are the only rescue in a maximum security prison," says director of operations Alex Tonner, who runs the program in collaboration with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, placing canine candidates for training with inmates in Lancaster. And when Lythgoe needed to find a home for a Labrador puppy last year, he turned to the program. "I thought it would not only be good for her but for a deserving veteran in need," he says. 

    Fan Martin Short, who has donated to fundraising efforts since his daughter adopted a 6-year-old pit bull named Charlie from them, says, "They work tirelessly to help not just animals, but people and the community at large." karmarescue.org.

  • Vanderpump Dogs

    After campaigning against the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China, Lisa and Ken Vanderpump, along with partner Dr. John Sessa, decided to do something about animal suffering in their own backyards. Opened in 2017, the Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center in West Hollywood has since rescued and re-homed close to 600 dogs — "mostly to people who would have gone to breeders," says Dr. John Sessa, director of Vanderpump Dogs. "We thought, 'Let’s reimage the shelter.' Everyone said don’t put velvet couches, don’t put chandeliers, don’t do shag rugs. We did the exact opposite."

    Dogs "are in living rooms, not cages," he notes, and most come from high-kill shelters and owner surrender. Through grooming, retail, a product line and major fundraisers including World Dog Day and an annual gala hosted by Mario Lopez (additional supporters include Leona Lewis and Lance Bass), the business model is self-sustaining, and 100 percent of profits are invested in the animals. Adds Dr. Sessa, "All the Housewives have been so supportive." vanderpumpdogs.org.

  • Wallis Annenberg PetSpace

    A passion project of L.A. philanthropist and animal lover Wallis Annenberg, the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace facilitates the adoption of cats, dogs and rabbits taken in from the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control’s shelters in a state-of-the-art center in Playa Vista.

    Opened in 2017 — and funded by the Wallis Annenberg Foundation — the 30,000-square foot space boasts interactive adoption suites designed to mimic homes and tech-savvy features, including touchscreens loaded with educational content and an app that allows users to discover adoptable pets. The center also offers daily programming (think grooming and pet fitness demos), and weekly Paws and Pages events, where supporters including author Katherine Schwarzenegger read aloud to kids and critters alike. Animal advocates Charlize Theron and Kristen Bell have also created PSAs for the organization. annenbergpetspace.org.

  • Helen Woodward Animal Center

    The Helen Woodward Animal Center — which counts Diane Keaton as a board member — has been championing animal adoptions and therapeutic and educational programming from its 12-acre property in Rancho Santa Fe. Stars like Katherine Heigl, Pauley Perrette and Carrie Ann Inaba have served as spokespersons for the non-profit’s annual Remember Me Thursday social media campaign, which raises awareness for homeless animals. In 2009, Kristen Bell adopted Sadie, a Hurricane Katrina survivor dog, from here. animalcenter.org.

  • Humane Society

    A champion of animals for more than 60 years, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) maintains a West Hollywood office. In addition to tackling everything from puppy mills to animal testing, the organization is also a partner in The Shelter Pet Project (a campaign to promote animal adoption), and hosts the annual fundraising gala To the Rescue Los Angeles at Paramount Studios. Musican Moby, who performed at this year’s affair, is also a financial supporter of HSUS, while actress Wendie Malick, a longtime spokesperson, speaks out against issues like horse slaughter and the dog meat trade.

    Younger’s Sutton Foster adopted two dogs from East Coast branches of the organization, and has also donated proceeds from original artwork to the cause. She says, "I love the Humane Society and all of the people that work there who love and care for these animals like no other." humanesociety.org.


  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

    Actresses Sarah Hyland, Beth Behrs, Nikki Reed and Kaley Cuoco are all recipients of awards for their work with the ASPCA, the country’s longest-standing animal welfare organization. While the organization focuses on cats, dogs, equines, and farm animals, the main goal in Los Angeles is to help kittens under 8 weeks of age.

    On top of working with four-legged friends at local shelters including Baldwin Park Animal Care Center and Downey Animal Care Center, the ASPCA also runs both a spay/neuter clinic in South L.A., in addition to mobile clinics. (By June 2018, the ASPCA Los Angeles Spay/Neuter Program will have recorded 30,000 surgeries to date for animals in L.A.).

    Actress Cara Santana donates both money and time to the organization. aspca.org.