Hilary Swank on Pet Adoption, Positive Reinforcement… and Goats


Did I really just ask a two-time Academy Award® winning actress if she was planning to adopt goats in the near future? Hmm. I sure did.

I was given the opportunity to interview Hilary Swank for AvenueK9. When I was asked to do it, my gut instincts told me go for it, but there was a part of me looking for reasons at why I would be horrible! But, the better part of me told me that it’s once in a lifetime so what the hell!

The day of the interview may have been the longest day of life, ever…it wasn’t happening until late afternoon, so I had an entire day of cruel anticipation. I practiced over and over what I would say because I am sure I would’ve become tongue tied and star struck, even if it was over the phone.

I started struggling over how I would address her – Hilary? Ms. Swank? Do I ask her if I can call her Hilary? The freak out began. I had to remind myself to breath.

I started preparing myself for all the basics, googling her and researching her involvement with the Iams’ Home 4 the Holidays campaign. As a dog owner and lover myself, I found it inspiring that she took time out of her busy schedule to help the Iams’ cause, finding loving homes for 1.5 million pets.

Hilary has provided a loving home to various animals throughout her life, including cats, dogs and birds. I was given the chance to ask her a few questions about the inspiration behind her work and pet adoption.

When asked what the hardest part about raising an adopted [pet] was, Hilary said there was no difference between whether the pet was adopted or not. Adoption is the responsibility of sharing life with an animal and bonding with the animal. It all starts with proper training.

Hilary’s advice for first-time pet adopters is to get in there and train them. She prefers to use positive training versus negative. Such that, if they are doing something correctly and behaving well to give them a treat and positively reinforce their behavior instead of correcting them only when they are misbehaving.

She believes proper training will help create and strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

Hilary’s busy schedule puts her on the road often, thus she travels with her pets. I asked how her pets adapt to traveling she said, like any person, they get used to it as well. The most important thing is to create a safe environment for the pets to retreat to.

I didn’t know what to expect going into the interview. I’ve seen plenty of her work and she is an amazingly talented actress, as well as interviews with her on TV, which she is always so gracious, sophisticated and composed. It’s safe to say I was intimidated. But, luckily, she was exactly as I anticipated – kind, sweet and very easy to talk with. I was told it would only be a five-minute interview, which I’m not sure if it was because somehow words exploded from my mouth quicker than I would’ve liked, but after I got my prepared questions in, I decided to keep going until someone stopped me or I totally ran out of things to say.

The conversation got easier along the way, her passion for animals goes beyond just a job, you could tell she truly believed in the cause. While many think that pet adoption is limited to dogs, cats and birds – Hilary says there are plenty of other animals who also need loving homes such as chickens, goats, rabbits, etc. She absolutely has plans to adopt other pets in the future; with hopes of adding chickens to her family, however, as far as goats go – probably not, she doesn’t have enough land for them.

  • You already voted!
  • Read More
Subscribers Only
Join 5,000 readers who get their news from us.

Get unlimited free access after subscribing without spam.