Hilary Swank pays veterinary bills for people who can’t afford petcare

It seems like Hilary Swank has been everywhere lately after a long hiatus. All of these pictures are from this month. Hilary is co-starring in You’re Not You with Emmy Rossum and Josh Duhamel. It was out October 10th in limited release. She plays a concert pianist who gets ALS and is cared for by Rossum’s manic pixie dream girl character. (The trailer is here.) The film may do modestly when it hits VOD.

Hilary is an animal lover with a and she often brings her dog, a Beagle Terrier mix named Kai, with her when she travels. She’s shown here with Kai a LAX on October 20th. I love that little derpy face of his! She’s also an animal philanthropist. She has a charity which connects at risk youth with shelter pets. On Thanksgiving she’s going to co-host and produce a “Dog-A-Thon” urging animal lovers to adopt pets. Miranda Lambert is cohosting and the special will also feature Scarlett Johansson, Fergie, Josh Duhamel, Kesha, Kristen Bell, LeAnn Rimes and Betty White.

What’s more is that Hilary often pays people’s vet bills for them – anonymously, when they can’t afford to pay.

Hilary Swank… has made a habit of secretly paying veterinary bills for cash-strapped pet owners. “A number of vets around LA have Hilary on speed dial,” says a source, revealing that the Oscar winner will anonymously pick up the tab if someone can’t afford treatment for their injured critters. “She’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying vet bills. She literally saves lives weekly, without seeking any credit!”

Hilary has made it her mission to help all creatures big and small, founding The Hilaroo Foundation, which brings together at-risk youth and abandoned animals. And this Thanksgiving, the actress is set to produce and cohost The Great American Dog-A-Thon, a two hour dog rescue special, on Fox. “She truly believes that every pet deserves a chance and will do anything in her power to save their lives.”

[From Star Magazine, print edition, November 3, 2014]

That makes my cold heart melt. What a nice thing to do! I hope, though, that the vets give people who can’t afford to pay a discount and don’t just call up Hilary asking her to foot the entire bill. There should be some sort of sliding scale fee. Vet bills can be astronomically high, and they can vary wildly based on where you live and which vet you choose. It’s really not fair that some people can’t afford to save their pets and it’s the animals that suffer. Good for Hilary for doing this. I really love this story.




Photo credit: WENN.com

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74 Responses to “Hilary Swank pays veterinary bills for people who can’t afford petcare”

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  1. redvixen says:

    I’ve always liked her, now even more. What a wonderful story.

  2. mystified says:

    All I have to say is that is REALLY sweet!

    • qwerty says:

      It’s really sweet indeed, spending money earned at Chechen parties on charity. Quite Robin Hood-esque even, I’d say.

      • mystified says:

        True, but she could have spent the same money on a Birkin bag, or Jimmy Choo’s, instead of others’ pets.

      • K says:

        I love animals. Really, I do. Had rescue puppies, was veggie for years when I couldn’t afford high-welfare meat. But I still feel uncomfortable when people choose to donate to shelters and animal care, when kids in their own communities are hungry and with unaffordable care needs. TBH I feel uncomfortable about it when kids in any community have those, and money goes to pets.

        Our local supermarket has a big tub for people to buy pet products for the local shelter, and another for a food bank for low income families in dire straits to get a package from (you have to be referred by DCFS or someone to get help, too). The animal one is always overflowing and the human one never is. And the final irony is that the animal one is always full of cheap cans of processed meat pet food, which is made from meat produced as cheaply and cruelly as possible. So some pets are kept alive by dint of horrific cruelty to other intelligent, sensate mammals.

        If people really care about animals then (apart from rescue instead of bred, and neutering) buying high welfare meat/dairy or going veggie, and campaigning for compassion in meat farming and fabric creation, might be a better way forward. By definition, pets are few and meat and dairy livestock and angora bunnies many, many, many. Yet we have huge compassion for the former, and barely remember the latter, and why? Because we have an emotional need met by the former, and try to disconnect the lives and deaths of the latter from the food we eat and the clothes we wear. And it makes me sigh a little.

      • lisa says:

        imo k, it’s arrogant to tell people what charities they “should” be giving to

        i will give to whoever i dang well please

      • K says:

        Sure, that’s absolutely your right – I’d never disagree with that, and I’d never tell any individual what I thought of their personal choices unless they asked, either. But I also have the right to see those choices as weird, or sentimental, or contradictory, or even in some cases and in some ways self-interested. And I also have the right to voice those opinions, just as you do. This is a discussion board. If I find the general public’s donation priorities odd, it isn’t “arrogant” to say so, especially as a reply to someone already critiquing a famous person’s humane priorities – how could it be? It would arguably be arrogant to approach someone individually to try to deter or persuade, but I don’t do that. If you’re confident in your own choices, why do you care if people on an online board disagree, and provide reasons why?

        I should add that my own choices have been criticised, and correctly so on many occasions. I used to be really big in support of Kiva.org, but some of the stuff that came out about them changed my mind. There’s a really interesting project called Giving What We Can which assesses impact of charitable donation, and while inevitably personal concerns will factor in, I found it helpful.

        I like being made to think about things, personally. And I think, in turn, that it’s quite arrogant to tell someone else on a discussion board that they have no right to voice an opinion, which isn’t aimed at anyone individually and isn’t any kind of an attack.

    • Anony says:

      @K I love your original post

  3. Lucy2 says:

    That is a really lovely thing to do. I too hope the vets who rely on her are fair about the pricing, or occasionally volunteer their services to shelters or rescue groups, to pay forward her kindness.

    • Christin says:

      So do I. Vet prices really do vary. I found a young, country vet years ago, and his great care and reasonable prices have helped me afford to help several abandoned pets be healthy and happy.

      I learned early on that some vet clinics will ramp up the bill with extra charges, run unnecessary tests, etc.

    • ol cranky says:

      Something about her has always rubbed me the wrong way but this is something I greatly admire her for doing.

      Many vets do work with rescues and provide discounted services on a regular basis. Some even establish funds specifically to help cover costs of care for patients whose families have fallen on hard times, and there are also low cost vaccine, microchipping and spay/neuter clinics that are now being offered in communities all over the place (I know the pet supplies plus chain has them almost monthly at many of the stores in the Philly area as well as stores in other locales).

      There are also financial assistance organizations that help people in need of paying for vet care: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/news-blogs/a-pets-life/financial-assistance-organizations

  4. Flounder says:

    Wow amazing!!

  5. don't kill me i'm french says:

    She’s one of the biggest money donor for SPA and another pet rescue organization in France.Her boyfriend is french so she spent many times there

  6. Jewbitch says:

    I like animals more than people. This made my day.

  7. Anna says:

    OMG! That picture of the dogs face had me in stitches. Thats how I look in most pictures too.lol

  8. Eleonor says:

    As a pet owner and animals lover I am really happy to read this.

  9. SuePerb says:

    Thrilled to hear this. It has made my day and renewed my faith in people. I rescue animals our recent addition was a kitten. Unfortunately we couldn’t take two of them in because one of our rescue cats is nervous with new ones and we had a rescue dog who was about to die, so 2 kittens were out of the question (as well as expensive). I was heartbroken last week when I found out the person who was trying to find homes for the kittens couldn’t find one for the last and took him to the country and dumped him in the woods.

    • Christin says:

      I hope that the kitten will find his or her way to a home and be taken in. It can happen, if there are houses near the woods. It’s how I ended up with several kittens through the last few years. I know they are getting dumped on a dead end road.

      • SuePerb says:

        I hope he does end up with someone and not eaten by something. It broke our heart when we found out.

      • Christin says:

        Last year, one of the cats had kittens before I could get her fixed (that is part of the deal if they decide to stay).

        A young single mom wanted two boy kittens, which she took at eight weeks. Two weeks later, she called and said she’d lost one of them. She had left them unattended and he wandered off. She wanted another so she could trick her young daughter into thinking it was the lost kitten. I was so upset that I immediately decided to keep the remaining three kittens. He was so sweet, and I hope to this day he ended up being taken in by a kind person.

        Someone told me that nature equipped cats to survive after being weaned. I hope that’s right, for both these kitties who deserved better.

      • SuePerb says:

        Aww how sweet. Hugs to you and your babies

        I hope that is right and they are safe and happy

    • bluhare says:

      SuePerb (LOVE your name!), thank you for being a kind person. Your friend, however . . . . . . .

      I do hope he took him near Christin’s house though. 🙂

      • SuePerb says:

        She wasn’t my friend. I never met her before I took Buzz home. She lives in a village where a friend of mine lives. The mother of the kittens belongs to someone else and they dumped the kittens in a box on the side of the road. She took the kittens in and fed them and was going to find them homes. She had cats and one had not long died so I thought that if she was just left with one, maybe if she couldn’t find a home for it, she would let it stay. When we took Buzz he was only just 3 months old. I was told by my friend that she was told by another friend that she took it to the woods (very large and houses are a long way away) because it looked evil and it had a crooked tail. He was only 4 months old when he was abandoned. I really hope someone took him in and he wasn’t eaten by anything. He was sweet and my son wanted him, but he was a lot more boisterous than Buzz and wouldn’t be good around our dog (who died 2 weeks later with cancer)

    • mimif says:

      Uggggh that sucks! Ditto to what Christin said and here’s hoping the little kitty finds his way. I live in the middle of nowhere, no really, like on top of the mountain with very few neighbors (who don’t have let’s), and I have a cat that just showed up. So it is possible!

    • Stacy says:

      They can do that?! Maybe I’m a little naive, I thought you had to find them homes, I would’ve adopted the kitten 🙁

    • Christin says:

      If the kitty was handled by people, fed at a home, etc., I really think there is a good chance it may go near a house. One thing about cats is that they are great survivalists and hunters.

      I’ll be on the lookout, in case it’s near my house. 😉

  10. Ginger says:

    That’s so awesome! I’ve never really been a huge fan of hers but now I am 🙂 I have to take my lil kitty to the vet today and I’m in a new city so, yah I’m worried about how much it will cost. But I can’t see my lil guy suffer. That’s where the unscrupulous vets get you because they know how much you love your animal and will pay a small fortune. Lord knows I’ve spent so much on my animals throughout my life. Luckily my former vet in Las Vegas would allow you to make payments. That’s just one of the many reasons I loved them so much. I’m hoping to find an equally decent vet in my new city.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Good luck to you and your kitty. My cat has diabetes and several other chronic illnesses, and we stay with our vet because she is really good, but what a money factory. Every time we go, and we go constantly, they manage to give all these tests and recommend treatments to make him more comfortable and we do it because we don’t want to lose him, but the price is obscene and I feel ripped off.

      • QQ says:

        GNAT! is my constant struggle …I’ve got a minipin and a Mutt and the older the Minipin gets the more hemorragic grastritis episodes he has as well and back pain and whatnot from being a Jumper .. Im super lucky my Ma was a Dr back home and basically she can kind of tailor some meds to his little issues when she gets them and all but there have been UGLY emergencies where I feel vets are being supremely predatory of me on a vulnerable state .. It is awful too cuse both vets are close to me but one loves to dangle the “He Is gonna die” specter in front of me at the drop of a hat, the other one is super sweet and nice but an older man that uses unnecessary meds (I only find out cause one of my gfs in another state is a vet tech and I’ve abused her expertise more than i can say!) and basically gently bullies you into treatment

        Last two years he’s had treatments that have run up to the $1500 mark and every time I dig out of that another go round pops up so we are down to a Mid Price range Limited Ingredient diets and legit HOARDING antibiotics/pain management etc when i get my hands on it in my fridge) a GOOD vet visit for me is around the $250 mark … but I couldnt just possibly give up on him… Lord Knows he, the longest most trusting, unconditional relationship I’ve had has never given up on me

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        QQ, I know just how you feel. It’s not that I begrudge spending on him – I’d give him a kidney if it would fit – it’s just that it’s so expensive and I’m not knowledgable enough to know what’s necessary or when they’re just churning, and it makes me feel taken advantage of and helpless. I’ve tried to educate myself, but I don’t want to have to go to vet school. Right after he was diagnosed with diabetes, he was sick to his stomach, and I panicked because the disease was so new to me, I thought it might be really serious. They gave him five, FIVE medications for diarrhea and some tests and it was almost $600. I was so mad, so I took him to U Penn and asked for a second opinion as to whether we were being ripped off. They said no, that seemed like a normal treatment under the circumstances. But maybe they just stick together, you know?
        Anyway, you’re lucky to have that some knowledgable people to question, and we are both lucky to have such beautiful, loving animal family members. I guess we will just have to keep shelling it out. Give your little min pin a hug from auntie GoodNames, and hang in there.

      • QQ says:

        Ugh That is the worst GNAT like I promise you I get it cause you question yourself! am I being cheap? This is my Kid!! I HAVE to do this… and then when the crisis passes you wonder… Did I Have to?? omg!!

        Im Only Hugging Spikey Michael Christopher if your Kitty gets a hug Back… The subsequent Love bite in return you can keep though!

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Lol, I’ll give him a hug from you as long as his tail isn’t twitching. Then he bites. But it doesn’t hurt because he has no teeth. I have given my heart to a toothless, diabetic, asthmatic, arthritic $600 diarrhea cat. What can I say? I love him.

      • QQ says:

        DEAD at $600 Dollar Diarrhea Cat!

  11. Steph says:

    That is so kind! I love her for doing this!

  12. OTHER RENEE says:

    I love her for this. Animal rescue is big in our house.

  13. Josefa says:

    What a sweet thing to do. Go Hilary!

  14. Irishae says:

    I have never been a fan of Hilary’s, but if this is true that is really such an amazing thing to do. I can imagine how grateful and relieved those people are to be able to treat their pets.

    Generally I don’t think it’s fair to obligate a vet to reduce fees or treat an animal for free because surely if they really loved animals they’d simply just help, right? Except most people don’t have pet insurance and will nickel and dime a vet like they wouldn’t dare a doctor or the pediatrician for their non-furry children. The cost to be a vet these days is astronomical (more than a human doctor) and the payoff is getting less and less. If a vet’s fees seem unreasonably high, I’d suggest looking elsewhere or becoming more informed about what exactly are necessary procedures. Just like you would for yourself or loved ones. 🙂

    • Lauraq says:

      I have health insurance for my cats but not my snake. Sadly my snake is the one that got cancer (she is super old, though). Luckily my vet waives office fees for just checking up on her tumor. I never asked her to. She just does it because she’s kind. I’ll always remember when she called me to tell me my snake had cancer…she was crying with me on the phone.

  15. kristina says:

    My question is – how does she still make money?

  16. Ana says:

    I didn’t care about her, now after reading this I love her!

  17. Amy Tennant says:

    This is a lovely thing for her to do! I approve!
    Confession: My first glance at the title I thought it said she paid vet bills for people who can’t afford pedicures. Hmm, maybe I should go get my claws trimmed.

  18. cat1 says:

    Thank you Hillary Swank. I think this is really lovely esp as someone who has at times struggled with bills for my cats (all rescues) and only recently did I encounter a vet who worked with me to find a solution for one of my cats (she found a Hillary Swank basically in the form of a rescue group to pay the bill! – but that is rare).

  19. kri says:

    Awww, this made my black, icy heart melt. I am so grateful that she helps people and their pets. Lovely. Vet bills can be crazy high, and that terrible feeling you have when something happens to your animal and you are trying to scramble to pay…omg. Again, wonderful job, Hilary!!

  20. moo says:

    years ago my cat developed neurological problems and cost over $5000 to treat… and she recovered. the neurologist treating her told me she got better on her own. HaaaaaAAAAAA!

  21. Jag says:

    What a wonderful person she is!

  22. Mean Hannah says:

    That’s wonderful! My country neighbors are always helping each other out with rescue cat care, but it’s always the people with the least who give the most.

    My cat’s annual check up, with urine/feces test and a vaccine or two costs $200 to $300 depending on the vaccine rounds. This year is the first time I’m considering skipping her checkup and taking her to the local SPCA’s monthly vaccine clinic ($35 for two vaccines) instead, but then I thought, I’d never skip out on my son’s annual check up and felt horrible for even considering it.

  23. aqua says:

    My dog is my best friend. No matter how crappy my day has been, my dog is always happy to see me and is more than ready for a cuddle on the couch. Hillary has a great heart.

  24. KaitX says:

    I think this is a lovely thing for her to do. I also think though that you shouldn’t have pets if you can’t afford insurance!

    • TheCountess says:

      Pet insurance is not a cover-all for a catastrophic illness. You shouldn’t get a pet if you can’t afford basic health care – check-ups, vaccinations, emergency visits. It’s impossible to be prepared for a day where you may be told it will cost upwards of $10k to treat an illness.

  25. moo says:

    She is awesome.

    • Anne tommy says:

      One from the Shallow end of the comment pool: what a fab figure she has, and that white dress is lovely. Good to know she’s doing some excellent charitable work as well.

      • Anne tommy says:

        That’s the white dress with the appliqué type flowers on, not the not so lovely ” The hills are alive with the sound of music” one.

  26. Kristine says:

    This is nice and everything, but a better way to distribute charity like this would be to spend that money on, oh, I don’t know, people?

    • Andrea says:

      Some people think of animals the same as people. In fact, I like my pets over most people. Not everyone is of your way of thinking.

    • Lauraq says:

      Lots of people donate money to people. If we all did then no one would take care of the animals, now would they?

  27. kc says:

    As animal lover and car rescuer in asia i wish there were more ppl like Hilary here.

  28. Tara says:

    Omg. I LOVE her… And her little dog too.,. (!!!)

  29. Lauraq says:

    My pet snake has had a recurring sore spot on her tail right by her cloaca for about 7 years. My vet only charged me for the medicine (topical creams and antibiotic shots…by the way, I now know how to administer shots to snakes) and every other office visit because she felt it was a recurring problem and it was partly her fault for not fixing it.
    We found out early this year that she has cancer in her cloaca. My vet has stopped charging for checkups to see the progress of the cancer and only charges for the medicine we use to sooth the open sore on her tumor. I also found out she has called other vets all over the country to try to find out if anyone has operated on a tumor like this. We know now it is inoperable-all we can do is make Draco comfortable until the cancer spreads into her intestines-but how f’ing awesome is my vet?

  30. I need help paiding for my vet bill for my cat that bite by adog.I have to paid my rent I cannt paid for both.I really love my cat ceecee I name her after my mom that die two years ago she so specai to me she my baby.Thank you love ofelia and ceecee.