updated 09/17/2010 AT 6:07 PM ET
•originally published 09/20/2010 AT 7:45 AM ET
Katrina Bowden has always had big love for her golden retriever, Champy, and now the 30 Rock star is sharing her passion for pets in the name of a good cause. Bowden has joined a number of celebrities spreading the word about guide dogs, and the people who so desperately need them.
On Thursday, the actress stopped by PETCO in New York City’s Union Square to present $5,000 to National Guide Dog Awareness Month (September!) on behalf of the store and Natural Balance Pet Foods. “I’m a huge pet lover, so when they reached out to me to help with this, I was excited to be part of such a great cause,” she told PEOPLEPets.com during the event. “I was kind of stunned at the statistics of how much it costs to train a guide dog, and how many years it takes.”
In fact, it takes $40,000 and two solid years to turn a puppy into a certified guide dog. “If we can all just help,” she said, “it’d really make a difference.”
As Nicollette Sheridan mentioned earlier this month, for every specially marked bag of Natural Balance purchased at a PETCO or participating retailer, one dollar will be donated to guide dog charities. (You can make an additional donation of any size at PETCO or PETCO.com as well.) The goal is to raise $1 million by the end of the month.
Though Bowden’s never visited a guide dog training facility – “I’d love to see the process,” she said – she’s very familiar with sweet, nurturing pooches, like her golden Champy. “He’s a member of our family,” she said. “He’s adorable, cuddly and just wants to lay on you all day. He’s the sweetest thing ever.”
While he doesn’t join the actress on 30 Rock’s New York City set – “no one really has a pet they tote around with them,” she said – he does coexist peacefully with her boyfriend’s 5-year-old Chihuahua. Maybe they could teach Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon a thing or two.
See more stars’ ‘pet’ causes on PEOPLEPets.com:
Paris Hilton Rescues a ‘Herd’ of Pet Store Bunnies
‘Glee’ Stars Have Lea Michele to Thank for Their Pets