The dashing gent who set hearts aflutter across the country during season nine of The Bachelor is bringing his good looks and good heart to Houston in September as headliner of the annual Fierce & Fabulous PetSet Soirée. Long an animal rights activist, Prince Lorenzo Borghese will help gala chairs Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist bring attention to the non-profit's rescue and adoption efforts.
The Italian-born, New Jersey-raised Borghese tells CultureMap that he didn't realize the full value of pets until he got his very own dog at age 21. The black lab puppy taught him that pets "really love you more than they love themselves. I think they really care a lot about us. And they make us feel good."
It was that puppy, who six years later, got Borghese involved in grooming products for pets. His pooch developed a dry skin condition that the vet blamed on too frequent shampoos and harsh products. Borghese delved into the subject, researched it and developed his own shampoo that inadvertently led to the creation of the Prince Lorenzo's Royal Treatment line of high-end skin care products for animals. And that led him to research further the status of dogs in this country.
He was shocked and disheartened to learn that more than 2 million dogs are put down each year in the U.S. (He points out that 100,000 dogs in Houston suffer the same fate.)
"If just 20 percent of the people who buy dogs in pet stores would adopt a dog instead, there would be no problem with euthanasia," he said. Borghese is a long-standing critic of pet shops that sell animals, 99 percent of which he says are puppy mills.
An entrepreneur, a television personality and member of the illustrious Borghese family of Italy, this prince has devoted much of his time to volunteering to assist with animal rescue groups. He serves as ambassador to both the American Humane Association and the ASPCA. He is a board member of Canine Wounded Heroes, which donates protective vests to police and military dogs, and has been honored with numerous awards for his animal advocacy work
He also works with an all-volunteer caravan that each month drives from New Jersey to a rescue facility in southern Georgia to pick up dogs that have been saved from kill shelters, have been vetted, given shots and have already been adopted. The group saves and places 200 dogs a month. In the four and a half years since the program began, more than 14,000 dogs from towns in southern Georgia have been saved.
"We are saving as many animals as we can," he says.
The September 9 fundraiser at The Astorian will honor animal activist Don Sanders. Details are available here.