Celebrity Pet Lovers Q&A, Kristin Bauer Van Straten

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Welcome to TPM’s Celebrity Pet Lovers Q&A. We reach out to the stars who love their rescue pets and ask them 10 questions. Turns out, big stars aren’t very different than the rest of us when it comes to loving their cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, horses, and whatever. And of course, the best thing about animals is — to your pet, YOU’RE the star!

In this installment 0f Celebrity Pet Lovers, TPM talks to Kristin Bauer Van Straten, star of the HBO series, True Blood.

2014-07-15_celebrity-pet-lovers_kristin-bauer_01Photo from SheKnows.com

The lovely Kristin Bauer Van Straten is best known for her role as Pam, the vampire co-owner of Bon Temps’ Fangtasia bar, in True Blood. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Kristin had an idyllic childhood centered around nature and animals. After high school Kristin completed three years of art school before moving to LA to pursue a career in acting.

Today, she lives in Los Angeles with her musician, South African husband, Abri van Straten, two rescued dogs and two rescued cats. She splits her time between shooting, painting and trying to bring light to things that should not be happening. She has been working with IFAW on their whale campaign for two years. Nature and animals are her greatest passion. “They have always given selflessly to me, so much more than I ever could have dreamed or given back. Mother nature is the greatest, most magical artist I have ever seen.”

TPM: Why did you choose your particular pet or pets?

Kristin Bauer Van Straten:

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Kristin Bauer as Vamp

I have two cats and two dogs who came to us at different times from different places. Asher, my Rottie mix, was a dog I met at the Carson Shelter when he was two. And he had the most mellow, sweetest temperament. I had just lost my last rottie rescue and was heart broken. I didn’t think I was ready but Asher was, so he came home with me. Thank God!

Oz was in a litter of puppies I fostered for the Forte Rescue. He was the last dog left at my house and he and Asher formed a bond so he stayed, too. Thank God.

Samuel was a cat I saw at a rescue and when I picked him up, tears ran down my face. His energy reminded me of my cat who had just died at 17. My husband knew he was coming home with us. And then Laura, the rescuer, told us he had a sister and we said, “Great, we like to get our animals in twos, so we’ll take her too!”

TPM: If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

I’d be an elephant in Africa, just to experience true family and sentience. Having been with them in the wild, I’ve never seen in our species such love for all family members, such connection to each other, constantly touching, talking, caring for the young, and following the Matriarch of the herd – respecting her for her years of knowledge. I’d also want to be in Kenya, as I’d have the best chance of survival. Kenya is fighting so bravely to keep the last of them.

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TPM: What have your pets taught you about life?

To enjoy the moment, to not sweat the small stuff! They are optimists!

 TPM: What was your experience with animals growing up?

We had many horses, dogs, and cats. We spent a lot of time out of doors. We where taught a reverence for beauty and an awe of nature before there were big words for that kind of behavior. It was just what good people do — and still is to me.

 TPM: What does your pet know about you that others may not?

My pets know my weaknesses, my battles, my vulnerabilities — and I need to remember that — as when my energy is weak, it is not good for them. Cesar Milan has helped me to be more balanced for them. I probably wouldn’t do that for myself.

TPM: What’s your best experience with an animal?

Every day, I have them all day. They continually interrupt me and for half a second I am annoyed and then I start to pet them or talk to them and I am once again snapped into a better reality — reminded of what really matters — connection and love.

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TPM: What’s your most challenging experience?

In rescue, we see a lot of what is wrong with the human species. It’s not the animal – ever. It’s heart breaking. The great news is there are amazing, balanced people, who work hard to make up for others.

TPM: What do you love most about your pet?

Everything.

TPM: If you worked with animals, what job would you do?

I dream of disappearing to Africa to be of service in some way to this last wild place on Earth – to help preserve it. But right now, I can best be of service from LA.

TPM: Is there a particular animal cause that you’re interested in, and if so, why?

Rescue. Adopt – Don’t shop!!! I can’t scream this loud enough. There are enough homes! The shelters are full of perfect animals just like the ones in my house that I could not love more if they had papers. That kills me. I’m a mutt, we’re all mutts!

I am also working on a documentary about the elephant ivory and rhino horn trade in Africa, called Out For Africa. I am hoping to help the Kenyans in any way I can as they fight to keep their heritage, which is their wild life, not ours.

To learn more about Kristin, you’ll find her on her website, KristinBauer.com. She and Abri, also have an Africa advocacy website, OutForAfrica.com. Learn how YOU can help Kristin and Abri help elephants and rhinos in Africa. You can like Kristin on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

To read about more stars and their rescue pets, See TPM’s Celebrity Pet Lovers Q&A.