June

Barbi Twins: You are a popular TV personality and a former model. The world first came to know you as Mrs. Howard Stern. Today, you’re most known as a national spokesperson for animal rescue. What was the motivation in using your platform to dedicate everything to animal rescue?

Beth Stern: I have been passionate about animals ever since I was a little girl. We always had pets in my household, and even today, I say I sometimes like animals more than humans. For me, that passion for animals has grown into a dedication to spread awareness about the plight of the shelter pet. There are so many great animals in our local shelters that people don’t really know about. Annually, two to four million animals are euthanized, and we can bring that number down significantly by going to our local shelter and adopting and also by spaying and neutering your pets.

BT: Was being an animal lover always an initial requirement to win over Beth Ostrosky?

BS: Animals are a huge part of my life, so yes, if you are going to be a part of my life, you would need to have the same love for animals. Howard is so great in that aspect and he truly is my partner. We have six resident cats—Walter, Apple, Leon Bear, Charlie Boy, Bella, and Yoda-and we have fostered over fifty kittens in the last year. He even lets the kittens play in his hair! They love it!

BT: Which one of your animals has made you laugh more than Howard?

BS: We get a kick out of all of them; they are all so unique, special, and funny! I always have to smile when blind Bella walks into something. It’s heartbreaking, but she doesn’t let anything get in her way, not even a wall! But Grandpa Yoda has made us smile a lot these last weeks. He has become such a caring old man with our new foster litter of five. Every morning, I wake up and find him spooning with one of the kittens, cleaning their ears . . . or even the other day, he purposely sat himself on the edge of the cat climb so that our foster would not go off the edge. He has become so protective of them, and it is the cutest and funniest thing to watch.

BT: You’re the spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America and have done some impressive hands-on rescue projects with them. With all the animal organizations that tried to convince you to work with them, what made this organization so special to you?

BS: North Shore Animal League America is so dear to my heart not only for the amazing people that work there, the innovative life-saving programs they have, and the mission to rescue, nurture, and adopt but also for the hard work and dedication this organization has to the cause. They have saved over one million lives since their inception, and they are the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. The emergency rescue team is ready at a moment’s notice to head into natural-disaster areas—such as Moore, Okla., after the tornadoes or Colorado Springs after the fires—to help save the animals. They even ran a Hurricane Sandy emergency pet shelter on Long Island for four months.

Together, we are working on a project to expand the shelter so that more animals can be rescued: Bianca’s Furry Friends feline adoption and wellness center, named after our beloved Bianca, will add a second floor to the shelter, which will be strictly for feline rescues and will open up more space on the first floor for canine rescues. NSALA is so innovative and really always thinking of new ways to help these animals and to further the cause.

BT: You’ve been a great promoter to adopt older animals, handicapped animals, the ones that are not as adoptable. Can you tell us the horrors of pet shops and puppy mills?

BS: Special-needs rescues and older rescues have always had a close place in my heart, because those are the ones that tend to get looked over. That is why I love how North Shore Animal League America has their shelter set up. You have to walk through the kennel and check out the older animals before you can get to the puppies and kittens—and let me tell you, sometimes the adopters never make it to the puppies and kittens. Older animals are the best because, number one, a majority of the time, they are already house-trained; number two, you know exactly what kind of personality you are going to be getting with that animal; and number three, they are already full size, so no need to wonder how big they are going to get.

Howard and I currently have two special-needs cats. Bella is our blind cat. We fostered her and her kittens last summer, and we fell so much in love with her that we added her to our clan. We also have Yoda, an older gentleman who has some heart issues, so we are helping him live out the rest of his life in the happiness of our home. They are the best!

Ugh, puppy mills. These commercial breeding facilities are horrendous. The animals are kept in tiny wire cages, with little to no human interaction throughout their lives. They are rarely, if ever, seen medically and are forced to breed over and over again and watch as their babies are taken away from them and sold to pet stores. It is a supply-and-demand business, so the more people stop going to pet stores and choose to adopt instead, the quicker we can put an end to these puppy mills.

BT: Very few animal rescuers focus on cat rescue, and yet you seem to have made that your focus, giving us “crazy cat women” a sexy makeover. What made you focus so much on cat rescue? Tell us some perks in helping out cats, like hosting the Kitten Bowl.

BS: I like to call myself an “equal opportunist,” as I love both dogs and cats, but over the last couple years, both Howard and I have become champions for cats. They are so independent and loving and playful and bring such happiness to our lives.

Hosting Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl was such an honor and so much fun! The players had such an amazing time and played their little hearts out, and they were the best costars I could ever ask for. It was also a great opportunity for America to see the types of kittens that are available in shelters. Each one of those players was available for adoption, and ultimately, that is my main message: to raise awareness of the types of animals in our local shelters.

PHOTOS: HOWARD STERN

ANIMALLEAGUE.ORG

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