The blonde beauty married to Howard Stern rattles off their best qualities such as a “sparkling personality” while pups representing January-December are walked around the room. Later, they’ll be carted back to North Shore Animal League to await adoption.
Finding homes for these cuddly critters is a cause close to Beth’s heart. She raised more than $295,000 for the North Shore Animal League by running in the NYC Marathon last year.
“It’s my passion,” the 36-year-old animal lover tells me. “What’s so great with North Shore is the turnaround is so quick. The puppies I’ll see today — hopefully I’ll never see them again, knock on wood. But there’s an adult dog area where I know a lot of the dogs who have been there for a while because a lot of people don’t want adult dogs. So I do know a lot of them by name. I love going there and I love just giving them kisses because I think they’re missing them.”
Why should we adopt a shelter pet?
“There are so many unwanted dogs out there, and once you adopt from a shelter that will hopefully reduce the euthanasia. These puppy mills are horrific. It’s totally for-profit breeding. It’s despicable.”
Beth and Howard’s bulldog, Bianca Romijn-Stamos-O’Connell, certainly leads a pampered life.
“She’s spoiled every second of the day,” Beth gushes. “I give her peanut butter every morning with her one pill that she doesn’t like. I douse it in peanut butter. Probably not the best thing to do with your fat bulldog, but she definitely likes it.”
Law and Order: Criminal Intent star Kathryn Erbe, who is the American Mutt-i-grees spokesperson, brings her mutt-i-gree Lilah to the event. Lilah came from North Shore Animal League last year, and now lives with Kathryn, 43, her daughter Maeve, 13, and son Carson, 5.
“Lilah changed the whole dynamic of the family,” Kathryn tells me. “It brings everyone together. She’s this force of love who does not judge, does not get mad … she just walks around and loves all of us. And when my kids are crying, she immediately goes to them. If they’re hurt, she immediately goes to the area where they’re hurt. She’s an incredibly empathetic being.”
Dogs are ideal for kids of any age, depending on the breed, the actress who divorced in 2006 admits.
“It’s good for kids to grow up around dogs,” she says. “A couple of my son’s friends are terrified of dogs because they’ve had bad experiences with dogs. If they grow up around a puppy or an older dog, I think it’s good for them.”
What does she love about being a mom?
“Being a mom has made me just a better person in every way. I’m much less self-centered. My heart grows every day through struggling and love of my kids. It helps balance everything else – the work and the world. It helps keep me grounded and in perspective of what is really meaningful to me. It helps me be conscious of the way that I conduct myself in my relationships and in the world.”
How does being a mom influence the men she dates post-divorce?
“I’m pretty careful about who I associate myself with,” she cautions.
Ooh! Gift bag time. We get icing-covered dog bones from the Beggin’ Beagle Bakery, a burgundy American Mutt-i-grees Club hat and t-shirt that says “Mutt-i-grees Rule!”
Why not bring a shelter pet home? Go to muttigrees.org for more information.