Mickey Rourke Pledges $250,000 to Open Romanian Dog Shelter

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Mickey Rourke with Foxy
Mickey Rourke with Foxy


As well as being an accomplished actor, Mickey Rourke is also a huge dog lover. Last year while filming the thriller Dead in Tombstone in Romania, a stray dog wandered onto the set, and Rourke adopted her and called her Foxy. The sheer number of strays and their abysmal quality of life left such an impression upon him that he vowed to help more than just one.

So now Rourke is founding a sanctuary for the over 100,000 dogs that suffer on the streets or Bucharest. He has a goal of $2,000,000 is donating the first $250,000. There aren’t many more details known at this early stage of planning. There may be a spay/neuter program in place, which would greatly minimize the number of future dogs.

Rourke will visit Romania as often as necessary to oversee the sanctuary’s construction. Right now he is working on the acquisition of a piece of land that could sustain a football field-sized shelter. He is also warning away potential investors who are hoping to make money from this endeavor.

Nobody will make any money from this investment,” Rourke declared.

Candids: March 21, 2010

His love for dogs goes back a long way; he even shouted out to “all my dogs” in his 2009 Golden Globe acceptance speech for his performance in The Wrestler.

The ones that are here, that aren’t here anymore, because sometimes when a man’s alone, that’s all you got is your dog. And they meant the world to me.”

He also believes his dogs, including Chihuahua Loki, who passed away in 2009 at age 18, helped him get through depression.

I think I hadn’t left the house for four or five months, and I was sitting in the closet, sleeping in the closet for some reason, and I was in a bad place. And I just remember I was thinking, ‘Oh, man, if I do this,’ and then I looked at my dog, Lowjack, and he made a sound, like a little, almost human sound. I don’t have kids, the dogs became everything to me. The dog was looking at me going, ‘Who’s going to take care of me?”

Rourke did, and will continue to do so for as many dogs as he can.


Rourke and Loki
Rourke and Loki



27 thoughts on “Mickey Rourke Pledges $250,000 to Open Romanian Dog Shelter”

  1. Wouldn’t that money go farther with an organized spay/neuter program for the street dogs? If the numbers of dogs are controlled through a humane reduction of births then there is less need for a sheltering facility that requires daily, ongoing care of the dogs in a situation that increases their stress and risk of disease just by simply being housed in a concentrated population. Once the facility is built, how are the ongoing operation costs going to be managed? Where is the oversight to ensure this doesn’t become an inhumane hoarding situation? I am grateful that Mr. Rourke is generously trying to help homeless dogs, however, I think the plan needs to be re-evaluated because I don’t think this current approach will accomplish what he wants it to.

  2. Inasmuch as most of Mr.Rourk’s fortune came from US citizens, is he aware that every animal activist group, local shelter, local spay/neuter program could have rescued, rehomed, fixed literally thousands of animals with that much money?

    I know one animal is no more worthy of another, but I get SO discouraged at all these celebrities whom we US Citizens have made wealthy, taking their money overseas to help causes who’s same missions are struggling every day to accomplish.

    • The “good” and old American selfishness. Always looking to their own noses. It can be Mexicans “taking” their jobs, the same jobs they don’t want to do but thanks to the Latinos and many other immigrants is helping the economy. It can be calling their own president a Muslim as it was something bad, considering just a minority are extremists not to mention freedom of religion is one of the basic rights in their own constitution. Not to mention all racism still very strong and so visible that embarrasses me everyday. For a while asked myself if I am doing the right thing becoming an American citizen front of all that discrimination and selfishness but fortunately not everyone is like that. Becoming a citizen I hope I can help society somehow regardless of diversity. Where I came from we believe everyone living everywhere are equal and we wish all of them will be blessed. Also with all my respect for the soldiers but it seems so clear people in the military are better than anybody else in the country. So instead of saying “God bless America” let’s say “God bless the humanity”. I’m very happy and proud for Mickey Rourke is doing these for street dogs in Romania as he certainly would do for dogs everywhere else if he could. Romania is considered the poorest country in Europe, taking these dogs from the streets will prevent diseases helping it’s people population as well.
      Mickey Rourke an exceptional person!

    • Sue, the problem is that the culture overseas in some countries where rescuers work is just not animal-friendly, and if these selfless people did not work there, there would be nobody else, and the conditions in municipal pounds really are death camps (no food, no water, no protection against the cold, no vet treatment, but the pound owners extort money from local NGOs who try to help or kick them out). It is not like in the USA at all.

      Citizens in the US are free to spend their money as they want. Mickey Rourke has seen it on the ground. He probably got an earful from local rescuers. Romania is going through hell at this moment because the President of that country is hiding political difficulties by deliberately drumming up a scandalous vendetta on all stray dogs. It is causing immense pain and hardship, and is extremely difficult for the usual groups of people all over the world who normally back their preferred rescuers – the appeals on our wallets are endless and hyper-urgent.

      You live in such a comfortable world in America. You have no idea what it can be like elsewhere. Let Mickey Rourke show the way of unselfishness. He tried to help before, but the Romanian goverment scammed him. Now he’s trying again, this time doing it his own way.

      A pity you should be so mean-spirited.

      • I agree with you C Walcot. These countries cannot afford or have the capabilities that we do here in the US.

        ALL dogs need our help no matter where they are. I have several friends that host an auction for a shelter in Poland that is overrun with dogs and their medical expenses are astronomical and are heartbroke that they can’t help all dogs that come their way.

        An animal needs help no matter where they are.

        Shame on you Sue.

  3. Never thought much of you before mr Rourke, but now you are my hero – thank you for being a REAL man and helping those dogs!

  4. It is easy to critisize, but Mickey Rourke is doing. Thank you for that. We are some people working the best we can to save as many animals we can, it is never enough, but we do our best. Stop complaining and start doing.


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