This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News  column on Pet360.com as Pet360’s Celebrity Pet Advocate of the Year: Vote for Your Favorite Animal-Loving VIP

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 12.29.17 PMWhat notable animal lover deserves recognition as the Celebrity Pet Advocate of the Year? There are so many people who are well known in the United States and around the world that lend their celebrity animal welfare causes, but Pet360’s Pet Parents’ Choice Awards Presented by NexGuard have selected their top five and put the onus on you, the reader, to select your top picks.

Why is Pet360 seeking your input? Well, the contest has a charitable angle and every vote is being turned into one meal for a pet in need at select animal shelters and rescue organizations thanks to the kind folks at Natural Balance. Here are the nominees, including my perspective on each (which shouldn’t sway your vote in one way or another):

Miranda Lambert 

This super-talented and award-winning singer isn’t solely accomplished in the musical realm. She also helped create Redemption Ranch, a five-acre animal shelter in Oklahoma, through her MuttNation Foundation. Lambert co-founded MuttNation Foundation with her mother, Bev Lambert, so she’s keeping her family involved in the good deeds she does for animals. I think Lambert is a true class act. Her Wikipedia page features a photo of her looking glamorous while holding a petite pooch on the red carpet at the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards, and she even opened her home to seven rescue dogs and five rescue cats. That’s walking the walk while talking the talk!

Hilary Swank 

Swank has always been an actress I really enjoy watching, considering her penchant for fully embodying the characters she portrays (she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her starting roles in Boys Dont Cry and Million Dollar Baby). In 2012, Swank created The Hillaroo Foundation, which matches rescue animals with underprivileged youth. Swank also received The Hope Award at the Petco Foundation Hope Gala in 2014.  Topping of an incredible year, Swank co-hosted FOX’s “Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular” with the incomparable Jane Lynch which was broadcast on Thanksgiving 2014. I got to work as one of the on-site veterinarians for the event, which I covered for Pet-Lebrity News.

Billy Joel 

Having grown up in the New York metropolitan area (New Jersey, actually), I’ve always been a fan of Billy Joel’s music, but what I didn’t realize was how dedicated Joel is to animal advocacy causes. To help celebrate the start of his 65th year, Joel teamed with Beth and Howard Stern and the North Shore Animal League to build Bianca’s Furry Friends, a cage-free canine and feline shelter. Now, I’m even more of a fan of Joel and his good deeds.

Rebecca Corry 

As a fellow Los Angeles dweller, I fortuitously met Corry at the opening of Pussy & Pooch Pet Lifestyle Center in Beverly Hills as she prepared to descend on Washington, DC for the One Million Pibble March. I was so impressed by her efforts to better educate the public about breed specific legislation laws, which the White House has even spoken out against, that I profiled her cause for Pet-Lebrity News. How’s that for voting for someone who has really taken it to the streets of our nation’s capitol to impart change for animals?

Ricky Gervais 

I loved watching Gervais host the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Golden Globes, where nobody was safe from his keen comedic wit and the hours of red carpet arrivals and acceptance speeches were made vastly more entertaining. Gervais has also worked to end the dog-meat trade in China by teaming with Dame Judy Dench and The Soi Dog Foundation to participate in a public service announcement showing the atrocities associated with the illegal capture and transportation of dogs from Thailand to China (see YouTube video). I have personal connection to Thailand, as my brother-in-law lives there. We visited The Soi Dog Foundation in 2013 and I wrote about my experience for PetMD’s The Daily Vet.

So, for whom are you going to vote? I suggest all of the above, as each vote counts and benefits animals in need.

Copyright of this article (2015) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

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