The New York Post is reporting that Ellen DeGeneres is trying to revamp her image after Iggy-gate – teaming up with fellow animal lover and former Meow Mix owner Richard Thompson to rebuild shabby animal shelters across the United States.
DeGeneres has featured Thompson on her show to talk about the campaign and the first project – a makeover of a sanctuary in Monkey Run, Ark. – is currently under way, with Thompson footing the bill.
“We’re halfway done now,” Thompson told Page Six. “We’ve been redoing it for a woman named Janice Wolf, who was found by Ellen. We bulldozed the place, and we’re building a new hay barn and a new barn. She’s got almost 60 animals, including a zebra, some Watusi cattle and 20 dogs, some that are three-legged, blind and deaf.”
DeGeneres and Thompson became friends because they are both “pet nuts,” said Thompson, who added that he doesn’t mind his pal basking in the spotlight while he does the hard labor and foots the bill.
“She can be the celebrity. She wanted to do something good. I’m proud of her, she believes in this,” said Thompson, who sold Meow Mix to Del Monte and now runs the animal-based Web site ZooToo.com.
“These pets are bringing the community together. Ellen’s one of the best rescue people I’ve ever met, she got a bad rap over Iggy,” he added.
Thompson will unveil his project tomorrow, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be there to tape it for a future airing. DeGeneres’ rep declined to comment.