Drew Barrymore is searching for the unbreakable love she has with her children and her pets.
The Charlie's Angels star was honoured for her humanitarian efforts at the ASPCA's Bergh Ball in New York on Thursday (14Apr16), and in her acceptance speech she recalled how important her bond with her late dog Flossie was. The 41-year-old adopted the pooch after she left home as a teenager and their relationship became unbreakable.
"I feel very humbled by this award," she said. "I'm not a big speech preparer. I try to just speak from my heart. I was 19 when I started adopting dogs. I moved out on my own when I was 14.... and then when I felt I completely had my s**t together, I would go and start saving others.
"I had saved myself, it was time to turn it all around and start, you know... get outside myself. I can take care of things now, and I knew that I wanted to adopt and rescue (dogs)."
Drew adopted two pooches at the same time, because she felt it was better for one to have a friend - just like her two daughters Olive and Frankie.
"If there was one thing that was really tough growing up - no parents, boo hoo - I wanted my children to have someone to share the whole thing with," she continued. "I don't care if we were beating the c**p out of each other; I just want someone different to disagree with. I just want that unspoken, amazing bond, much like you have with animals. So I was determined that I would get two dogs at the same time..."
Flossie lived for 16 years and in her book Wildflower, Drew recalled her emotions when she lost her, because of their special bond.
"The chapter (in my book) that made me cry the hardest while writing - I couldn't even type on the keys, because I couldn't get clarity in my eyes from the tears just falling - was a chapter called Flossie, about my dog who I had for 16 years," she added. "You have a relationship with animals that is unspoken, without words."
Drew has since rescued several other animals and is grateful for all the lessons she has learned from her pets.
She said, "It has been a rite of passage, and a humility, and a purpose, and a kindness, and a lack of cruelty. I don't have it in my heart to be rude, mean, cruel, unkind to any person on the planet, let alone an animal. And I wonder if animals were a big part of that teaching. I think they are... I give them all the credit in the world and for it. They will forever have my deepest respect, as will the humans."
Her appearance at the event comes weeks after she announced her split from husband Will Kopelman.