Katherine Heigl is seen by millions every week portraying Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but Access Hollywood got a look at a lesser-seen side of the actress when we visited her as she worked to help give some dogs loving homes.
Katherine and her mother, Nancy Heigl, teamed up with Pup My Ride, an animal rescue program from the Best Friends Animal Society, to rescue a host of beautiful, healthy dogs from shelter life.
VIEW THE PHOTOS: Hollywood Blondes
“Over 600 dogs have been saved and adopted,” Katherine told Access Hollywood.
“Up in Utah and Arizona and some of these states around California, they have waiting lists for small dogs, people wanting to adopt and here we have an overwhelming number in the shelters,” Katherine said.
VIEW THE PHOTOS: ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Season 5
As a result, Best Friends drives the dogs, which would otherwise be put down, to new, out-of-state homes.
“Today is the transport day,” Katherine smiled during Access’ visit. “I think [the dogs] are either excited or terrified. I’m not sure.”
But, before getting in the van, the eager little pups had some doggie business to attend to.
VIEW THE PHOTOS: Katherine Heigl
“We make them go to the bathroom,” Katherine noted. “It’s a 12-hour [drive]. There’s no pulling over.”
Animal lover Katherine, a serial doggie-adopter, hinted she was tempted by the animals’ little faces on moving day. When asked how many dogs she’s taken home over the years, Katherine revealed she has six!
“I think my husband’s ready to kill me,” Katherine said of her husband of one year, Josh Kelley. “But you know what? The last one was his idea.”
Josh was compelled to take the sixth one on when he and Katherine found a puppy in a trashcan in Mexico.
“Someone had literally thrown him out, and he was probably at the time, three or four weeks old,” she said. “He was just this teeny tiny, fit-in-the-palm-of-my-hand, and Josh said, ‘I think we should take this one home,’ and I said, ‘OK! I’m dying for a puppy.’ But now I cam blame him for it too. I’ll be like, ‘This puppy was your idea, you get up with him at 7!’”
Neither Katherine or her mom, Nancy, were afraid to get their hands dirty when Access visited the women as they helped pack up the pups.
“I don’t have to go into work until late,” Katherine said, referring to her day job playing Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy. “I’m gonna have to shower though, before I go back to my scrubs.”
On the set, the “Grey’s Anatomy” star is entrenched in a challenging storyline. Her character Izzie’s boyfriend Denny – who died at the end of the show’s second season – has returned from the grave, seemingly as a ghost, and only Izzie can see and hear him.
“I am… struggling to make sense of it,” Katherine said of the latest twists and turns for Izzie. “It’s very hard to relate to.
“Who is she talking to?” Katherine continued, referring to Izzie’s conversations with Denny. “Does she know he’s dead? You know… It’s hard to make the material as honest as I’d like it to be and that’s my biggest challenge right now… If he’s a hallucination then something’s wrong with her and she’s a doctor and should know that, right? Unless she’s in massive denial, which is kind of what I’ve been trying to play, and if he’s a ghost, then we’re doing a whole other show.”
Related Content from AccessHollywood.com:
PLAY IT NOW: Katherine Heigl’s Passion For Adoption
PLAY IT NOW: Katherine Heigl Talks Adoption Plans
MORE ACCESS ON THESE TOPICS: Katherine Heigl - Charities