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Ian Somerhalder Celebrity Monarch of Mardi Paws Celebration

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A passion for compassion is in actor Ian Somerhalder’s blood, and on March 9th the star of the hit CW series The Vampire Diaries stepped into the role of Celebrity Monarch at the 20th annual Mardi Paws celebration in Mandeville, Louisiana for the benefit of three worthy causes.

As the heartthrob with a heart of gold tossed throws to the crowd, hundreds of costume-clad canines followed the actor’s lead, happily promenading down the ‘paw’rade route alongside their pet parents. (The Times-Picayune captured the Fido-centric fun in the video at the top of the page.)

The participants’ registration fees raised funds for Scott’s Wish, which helps those suffering from leukemia and other illnesses; Have a Heart Thru Art, which offers underprivileged and disabled children access to a world of creativity, and The St. Tammany Spay and Neuter program, which helps to curb the ongoing problem of pet overpopulation by providing low cost spay/neuter services for rescue organizations and the pets of those facing financial distress.

A champion of the underdog, in 2010 the star established The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which served as a ‘top dog’ sponsor of the event. Created to help both the environment and all creatures great and small, the foundation recently launched The ISF Medical Care Grant for Animals to cover the urgent veterinary needs for animals who have been injured, neglected or abused.

Ian Somerhalder posed for posterity with one of the partying pups at the event:

Photo Credit: Instagram/Ian Somerhalder

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About Grace Sydney

Grace Sydney is the Assistant Editor of DogTipper.com and CatTipper.com, covering celebrity-related rescue news. She operates the @HollywoodDogs Twitter account sharing information on celebrity fundraising for rescues and shelters.