Mickey Rourke to Build Animal Shelter in Romania
By Lisa Spector
The stray dogs of Romania have been a problem since the 1980′s. Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu banned Romanian citizens from having pets. It didn’t take long for unneutered homeless dogs to create an epidemic that has turned into 50,000 dogs living on the streets of Romania. Some starve to death, others freeze, and all would benefit from human companionship, a warm bed, and dog food.
In November of 2011, the Romanian government passed a law that made it legal for any homeless animal to be euthanized. Care2 members, known for their passion for animals, started a petition asking the government to educate the public on the benefits of spaying and neutering instead of killing innocent dogs.
On January 31, 2012 the Romanian court declared the euthanizing of stray dogs as unconstitutional. While animal rights activists were pleased with that turn of events, they have still be wanting to help all of the stray animals.
As luck would have it, Mickey Rourke, a huge dog lover with a pension for helping dogs in need, was in the country filming “Dead in Tombstone” when a stray dog walked onto the set. He decided to adopt the dog and donate $250,000 of his own money to build a shelter the size of a football field for the strays.
When accepting his Golden Globe award in 2009, Rourke thanked his current and deceased dogs. He has also been quoted as saying, “I truly believe God created dogs for a cause. They are the greatest companions a man could ever have.” It’s so heartwarming to remember that one person can truly make a difference.
Although I don’t have Rourke’s pocketbook to fund a shelter, I do what I can to help homeless dogs by donating music that is clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system to shelters and rescue organizations. Dogs in 1,500 shelters in the U.S. and abroad are being calmed to my piano playing on the Through a Dog’s Ear recordings. It’s helping create a quieter shelter environment, which encourages visitors to stay longer, and consequently adoption rates increase. While the music won’t solve the homeless canine problem in Romania, it will hopefully help the dogs move quickly from the shelter environment into their forever homes.
Watch how the dogs in the Santa Fe Animal Shelter respond to the music. Even though I don’t know how to say sit or stay in Romanian, music is a universal language, and I hope music can be a part of Mickey Rourke’s new shelter in Romania.