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Patrick Stewart inspired by foster dog to fight for animal rights causes

The actor is unable to permanently adopt his foster dog in England because of breed restrictions.

Sir Patrick Stewart's rescue dog has inspired him to get involved with animal rights causes.

The X-Men actor and his wife Sunny Ozell recently adopted a pit bull named Ginger and the pooch has changed his perspective on life.

"I find that my relationship to the world and to the news every day in the papers and on the television has been changed by Ginger, because she has brought such a quality of patience and tolerance and fun into our lives, that it has, in a very short space of time, shifted my sense of where our world might be going," he tells People magazine.

"I literally find myself more optimistic than I was, and there is only Ginger to account for this. It is the impact of sharing my life for only seven or eight days with Ginger."

Patrick has now teamed up with organisers at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to raise awareness about the #GetTough campaign for National Dog Fighting Awareness Day on Saturday (08Apr17). Patrick wanted to be a part of the campaign because of the negative thoughts he had about Ginger's breed. The actor's mind was changed after moving next door to an ageing pit bull in New York.

"I had a reaction to that, which I am now significantly ashamed of, because pit bulls to me meant only one thing: aggression, hostility, violence," he says. "I was uncomfortable with the idea of meeting this dog, (but) immediately upon meeting her, something happened and I found myself simply absorbed in her, whether she was paying attention to me or not."

And his relationship with the dog is what drove the 76-year-old to foster Ginger while he is living in Los Angeles. He is also working to change the breed restrictions in his native U.K. after learning he is unable to permanently adopt Ginger and take her to his home in England.

"The want to please is an absolute characteristic of pit bulls," he continues. "It means that these dogs can be used, trained and tampered with in a way that, in order to please their masters, makes them angry and violent, and makes them become fighting dogs."

"I am very happy to be part of the campaign that is speaking out against this and the urgent need for the law and organisations to intervene whenever they can," he adds. "This is not the end for us, we are now totally committed to fostering and adoption. There will be a Ginger in our lives soon, because there has to be."

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