Her dad has often played a hero on the big screen, but for Alison Eastwood the part of savior is more than just a role.
Clint Eastwood’s daughter, who is also an actor, spends much of her time saving pets from California’s overcrowded shelters. After seeing the number of animals in need, Eastwood, 44, founded the Eastwood Ranch Foundation in 2012, which is dedicated to rescuing pets from high-risk shelters and caring for them until a forever home is found.
This passion project has already saved hundreds of animals, but Eastwood is looking to help even more by opening an Eastwood Ranch Foundation shelter. To make this wish a reality, Eastwood Ranch Foundation is hosting their Second Annual Art for Animals fundraiser on June 4. The star-studded event (which still has tickets available) will feature work from a variety of artists and a host committee packed with celebrity animal lovers, including Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum and her half-brother Scott Eastwood.
Alison Eastwood talked to PEOPLE about the big evening ahead and how her devotion to animals has changed her life and the lives of many grateful pets.
When did you realize you wanted to work with animals?
After I helped create and executive produce a TV show called Animal Intervention for Nat Geo Wild, I saw firsthand the need to be a voice for animals. There are so many animals in peril out there that I felt compelled to get involved.
How did Eastwood Ranch Foundation get started?
We decided to start helping animals in our community first and we formed the nonprofit to be able to rescue pets from our overflowing shelters here in Southern California. So many amazing pets get euthanized every week because of over population issues, so it was important for us to start here in Los Angeles.
What is one of your favorite stories to come out of the foundation?
I’m not sure I can pick just one story, but my favorite stories are when I get emails and happy pictures of pets that have been adopted and are now safe and sound; especially the dogs we have helped rescue from the streets of Tijuana. They had such a tough life on the streets and now they are cherished and loved.
How many pets do you have yourself?
We have 3 dogs, 3 cats, 2 bunnies and 2 horses! We also foster rescue babies so there can be up to 20 critters running around at all times!
What part does your family play in the foundation?
My family has always been extremely supportive of my rescue work. We are all big animal lovers so it’s something we share and embrace.
Tell me about the Second Annual Art for Animals fundraiser evening?
Eastwood Ranch Foundation will be holding its 2nd Annual Art for Animals fundraiser evening on June 4, 2016 from 6:00-10:00 pm at De Re Gallery in West Hollywood.
Exhibiting the work of a variety of artists, including Brian Bowen Smith, Michael Muller and Steven Janssen, the 2nd Annual Art for Animals fundraiser evening will showcase artwork in a silent auction to raise funds for homeless pets around the community. Proceeds will enable Eastwood Ranch Foundation to rescue animals from high-kill shelters and provide care until a forever home is found, as well as contribute to helping raise awareness for any and all animal welfare causes through educating, campaigning and petitioning for animals throughout the United States and beyond.
We have an incredible host committee of celebrities and animal activists: Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum, Scott Eastwood, Autumn Reeser, Frances Fisher, Marcia Gay Harden, Brian Bowen Smith, Steph Sebbag, Amanda Mills, Katie Cleary, William McNamara and Al Jackson.
What would your advice be to someone who is thinking about adopting a pet for the first time?
Always remember that if you are going to adopt a new family member, it is a long-term commitment. For better or worse, richer or poorer, they are going to be in your life for a long time. One of the saddest things in rescue is owner surrender at shelters. People take on a responsibility they can’t handle and the animal ends up suffering for it.
What do you think are some misconceptions about shelter animals?
I think some people might be afraid to adopt from a shelter because they don’t know the animal’s temperament or history. They want a friendly, healthy animal and there are plenty at shelters. Usually, a rescue pet is even more loving and grateful because it knows it has been rescued!
What is happening next for you and the foundation?
We are currently looking for our own place to have an adoption center and rescue facility. We’ve been relying on boarding and fosters, but we want to have our own spot to call home. This fundraiser is going to help us get there.