Mickey Rourke pledging $250,000 to help Romanian dogs

Mickey Rourke with his Chihuahua, Loki

Earlier this spring, Mickey Rourke changed the life of a single stray dog in Bucharest, Romania. When the Shepherd mix wandered onto the film set of the actor’s latest project, human and canine fell in love. Rourke adopted the dog he now calls Foxy.

Had he stopped there, we would have been satisfied — even inspired: He saw an animal in need and he took action. But he didn’t stop there. Rourke was so struck by the number of strays in the capital city — and the dismal quality of life they face — he decided to found a sanctuary.

The actor is putting up the first quarter of a million dollars himself, with the goal of raising $2 million, to create a football field-sized shelter capable of housing and caring for thousands of dogs. (Estimates have Bucharest’s stray dog population at over 100,000.)

Details are sparse at this early stage. It’s unknown whether a comprehensive spay/neuter campaign — crucial to stemming overpopulation — will be part of the plan. But Rourke has promised to return to Romania as often as needed to ensure the sanctuary’s completion and is already in talks to acquire a suitable piece of land. And he’s warning potential partners that this is an emotional endeavor, not financial. “Nobody will make any money from this investment,” he said.

No word yet on how to donate to the Wild Dogs of Romania Sanctuary. For now, I’ll just rent The Wrestler again.