ET caught up with the Charlie's Angels star at the Annual ASPCA Bergh Ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, where Barrymore was the night's guest of honor. The animal rights organization is also celebrating their 150th anniversary this year by bringing awareness to pet rescues with the help of many famous faces.
"I've been sure a dog lover my whole life," said the 41-year-old actress, who shared that she's rescued nine different foster dogs, and is currently living with a cute canine named Douglas. "Life is better with dogs. Life is definitely better with rescue dogs."
While she didn’t mention her recent split directly, Barrymore did admit "there's a reason people cling to their pets" when dealing with troubles in their lives.
During her speech at the gala event, Barrymore opened up about the important role pets have played in her life, including the reason she began taking in rescue dogs in the first place: As a kid, she passionately wanted "that unspoken, amazing bond" that you can only get with pets and siblings.
Now that she has two daughters of her own -- Olive, 3, and Frankie, who turns 2 next Friday, both of whom she shares with Kopelman -- Barrymore said she wanted to make sure her children were able to grow up with dogs because she "knew that they should have a friend."
"Animals have given me a rite of passage, a humility and a purpose and a kindness and a lack of cruelty," Barrymore shared with the audience, adding that, because of what she's learned from her animals, "I don't have it in my heart to be rude, mean, cruel, unkind to any person on the planet."
"Sadly our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family," they said in a statement to People. "Divorce might make one feel like a failure, but eventually you start to find grace in the idea that life goes on."