Hilary Swank Recalls Rescuing Trapped Animals From Rubble After 9/11 Attack
Cover Images/ROGER WONG

The 'Million Dollar Baby' actress was one of the volunteers who helped save trapped animals from the ruins in New York City following the 9/11 attack in the Big Apple.

AceShowbiz - Hilary Swank braced dangerous conditions in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11 to rescue trapped pets. The 49-year-old actress worked with animal charity the ASPCA following the terror attacks in the Big Apple in September 2001, and she's revealed she joined a team which ventured into damaged apartment buildings to help pets which had been left all alone.

"People would go over to the piers over on West Street, and they would say, 'My dog Simpson, or my goldfish or my rabbit,' or whatever it is, and they'd say, 'This is my address, this is my apartment,' and I'd get these cards and we'd go down," Hilary explained during an appearance on SiriusXM's "Literally! With Rob Lowe" podcast.

Many of the buildings didn't have working elevators and had been left unstable following the attack on the World Trade Center, but Hilary and her team didn't let the dangerous conditions stop them helping animals in need.

She added, "If their animal was on the 50th floor, you were walking up to the 50th floor. And we'd get up there and we brought cats down, we brought turtles down, we brought fish down, we brought lots of dogs. I think a couple hamsters."

"But I mean, these apartment buildings, they were missing windows, and the trauma that these animals went through living there for, you know, some a few days and some a few weeks."

The actress recalled one particularly "terrified" cat which she rescued from a smoke-damaged apartment which had the windows blown out. She said, "It [the cat] was going crazy. It was missing its person. Who knows how long it didn't have food?"

"The front windows were blown out. It was smoky. It was dirty. It was dangerous … It kept getting out of a blanket, so we finally figured out how to put it in a pillowcase, knew it could still breathe through it, got them back to their owners."

However, Hilary insisted the dangerous rescue mission were worth it to see the animals reunited with their owners. She added, "Reuniting these animals with their owners was such a gift. They were just so happy."

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