Hayden Panettiere
Credit: haydenpanettiere98/Instagram

It seems like just yesterday we were watching little Hayden Panettiere steal the show from her older co-stars in 2000's Remember the Titans. Now she is a leading lady on the hit show Nashville and a mom to 8-month-old daughter Kaya with partner Vladimir Klitschko. How time flies!

Although she is a devoted mother and busy actress—Nashville's fourth season premieres in September—Panettiere has always made time for one of her greatest passions: animals. The former Heroes star loved them from a young age, but a visit to an endangered breeding ground for gray whales in Mexico moved her to become an activist at 15. And since then Panettiere has been working to protect the whale and dolphin populations. Some highlights: She became a spokesman for The Whaleman Foundation, famously protested pilot whale killing in Japan (which was captured in the 2009 documentary The Cove), and met with the White House Council on Environmental Quality about conservation efforts.

But Panettiere isn't just about ocean mammals—she loves all kinds of creatures. See 13 times Panettiere cuddled up to a cute animal, starting with the one above!