Beth Stern Introduces Her and Howard's Family Pets
Beth Stern loves animals. She's a longtime supporter of the New York-area pet rescue organization the North Shore Animal League, and in her professional life, she frequently works with our four-legged friends on the small screen. Her new project is hosting Paw Star Game, an adorable competition in the vein of the Puppy Bowl but with adoptable kittens, which debuts July 12 at 6 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.
We caught up with Beth to learn more about her work with animals, specifically cats. She and her husband, Howard Stern, are committed feline foster parents, but in Beth's words, a few of the cats they've brought into their home have been "foster failures" that end up becoming a permanent part of the family!
"Right now we have six cats we've adopted as adults from North Shore Animal League," Beth explained. "I foster kittens as well." And fostering is a full-time job for Beth; she reviews applications, calls references, oversees spaying and neutering, and personally delivers them to her new families. "I love every second of it," Beth said. "But again, it is very hard to say goodbye."
Fortunately, though, Beth has some help from husband Howard. "He is with me and is my partner in everything that I do," she said. "If I am out for the day and he is home, he does the feedings. He cleans litter boxes. He is very supportive and always is willing to open our home to any animals in need."
Beth, meanwhile, has opened up her family photo album to share photos of three of her and Howard's beloved cats — meet Leon Bear, Bella, and Yoda!
"His story is incredible. He was at one of our partner's shelters in Alabama when tornadoes hit. Tornadoes completely demolished his shelter. North Shore Animal League went to help rescue any displaced animals. All of the animals in that specific shelter perished, except for one cat who was walking around the rubble — and that cat was brought back, and that is our Leon Bear."
"There was a cat that was found pregnant walking around a junkyard, it may have been somewhere in New York, and brought to a municipal shelter; this pregnant cat was about to be euthanized. North Shore Animal League rescued her, and she gave birth at North Shore Animal League to four kittens. She was a wonderful mother, and we soon found out she was blind, but a wonderful mother to her kittens.
"Once her kittens had enough of her nurturing — after five weeks they can be separated from the mother — I took her babies, fostered them, and found wonderful homes for them. Then I went back, and I picked up the momma. She was a foster of ours. I took her to many eye specialists, and she had to have one of her eyes removed. She can detect shadows out of the existing eye, but she is definitely blind.
"It came to the point where I felt she was ready to go, and I remember having dinner with my husband, and he looked at me and said, 'Bella's not going anywhere, is she?' And I said no. She was a foster failure, and she's been with us for two years now. She is my love. She is a wonderful cat."
"I like to go to the shelter and grab a cat that has been in the shelter a long time, an adult. I grabbed this big mess of a cat; he was really skinny and was completely shaved. I brought him home to foster and took him to the vet, where the vet told me he was in heart failure and that he had three to six months to live. Hearing that news, Howard and I adopted him immediately, and we said we were going to love him until his last breath.
"Soon after Yoda — Howard named him Yoda — soon after we adopted him, we had a brand new litter of kittens in the foster room. One day Yoda followed me into the foster room, and something magical happened. He entered the room and he started taking over as the foster papa to all of the babies. He started grooming them, he made sure they would eat, he would reprimand them if they were being bad. If they left the foster room, he would get on his hind legs and corral them back in.
"Over the course of a few months, I had to continually take him to the vet. His heart was getting stronger and stronger. Now a year later, he has no detection of having any type of problem with his heart. It is completely gone. He is a medical miracle and I truly believe love and purpose healed his heart."