///Optimism is Action

Optimism is Action

Choosing to see the glass half full.

Being an optimist is hard work. But deep down, and despite the heartbreaking emails waiting in my inbox every morning, I believe that for every cruel person in this world, there are countless others who are kind, caring, and compassionate. This is especially true in animal welfare, where so many good people stand together to fight animal cruelty in all its ugly forms.

Few things make my blood boil more than animal cruelty. On the other hand, few things give me more hope than the many good people who work so hard to save animals from cruelty.

True optimists don’t ignore or deny the evil in the world. Instead, they find ways to counteract it. Which makes me think of Little Wanderers NYC, Inc., one of North Shore Animal League America’s many shelter partners.

First, the name of this organization: Little Wanderers. It’s perfect for a group of incredible volunteers that focuses its energy and resources on helping stray and abandoned felines in some of the most underserved areas of New York City, including the Bronx, Harlem, and Northern Manhattan. Besides rehoming these cats, Little Wanderers also practices trap/neuter, vaccinate, and return (TNVR) in a feral colony of nearly 400 cats!

Last month, Little Wanderers posted a story and horrific video showing a dog mauling and murdering a cat as training for dog fighting in a Bronx housing project. The group reported that this vile practice has continued for years despite reports to the authorities.

But this time was different: There was that video!

The group asked everyone to contact New York authorities to demand justice for those poor cats and to help the dog, named Chyna, as well. It was ghastly, but it got the attention this issue long deserved, and just the other day, Little Wanderers posted on IG saying that because of the video, the perpetrator was arrested and extradited to Maine, where he faces charges related to his having been caught strangling Chyna, who is pregnant, nearly to death. In the meantime, New York is investigating further charges, so though it might take a while, this is a big step in the right direction. (Chyna is safe in custody.)

I have so much respect and admiration for these volunteers and for the brave work they do. I’m proud that Animal League America is standing with this group, and I’m also pleased to be able to lend support to Little Wanderers through my Beth’s Furry Friends Foundation. Solidarity, organization, persistence, and communication: That’s what it takes to save lives, educate people, and inspire action.

There are groups like Little Wanderers working around the world. I urge you to get involved in your community, however you can, to counteract animal cruelty with compassion and care. If everyone who abhors animal cruelty were to act from the heart, we would definitely outnumber the abusers and torturers.

I think one of the most terrible forms of animal cruelty is abandonment, especially when the animal is sick and vulnerable. Howard and I recently adopted another sweet being into the Stern family, Sammie Sunshine, our current hospice kitty, whose story definitely makes my blood boil!

This gentle soul was found abandoned in her carrier on a cold spring night in the back parking lot of a Petco store by one of the girls who works for my BFF Foster Program. Her name is Samantha, so I named Sammie after her.

Sammie was covered in blood from her mammary tumor exploding. It was horrific. Blood and guts spilled out everywhere. I can’t imagine the pain she was in all that time. Her family abandoned her so cruelly when she needed them the most.

Once she arrived at Animal League America, the vets performed emergency surgery to remove the malignant mammary tumor. I had her transferred to the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island to be seen by the wonderful specialist, Dr. Carver, and the oncologist, Dr. Brodsky. They informed me of the sad news that her high-grade tumor had spread to her lymph nodes and that, at best, she had a couple of months left. I decided that day to bring her home and adopt her as a Stern. She is currently eating well and purring when we pet her. She loves her cozy bed with the sunshine pouring in on her.

Adopting a hospice pet is gut-wrenching, and I vowed never to do it again after the pain we experienced losing Grogu. But here we go again. Howard and I welcomed her with open arms, and we already love our Sammie Sunshine Stern. And now that I’ve shared her with my wonderful community, she has so many prayers coming her way. So yes, adopting a hospice pet is hard; yet it’s also very beautiful because we know we can provide love and comfort for her next weeks and final day, and caring for her helps us realize how precious every day is. We will never let her suffer again. And I believe I am prepared this time. (But am I really?)

Another shockingly cruel story involves two 4-year-old sweeties from Queens, Petey and Belle. Their absolutely inhuman human decided to move and dumped them at the vet to be euthanized. Unbelievable!!! The vet gave them a day and a night (not much time!) for the employees to find them a home or a temporary place to stay. I was in Florida for a week and felt helpless. But I figured out a way to get them to me, with help from my pet sitter. After I posted this story, more than 75 people reached out to offer help!

My goodness, I am so grateful for this lifesaving community. I mean, think about it: 75+ good people versus their former owner, one big jerk. The score is 75+ to 1. We got ’em outnumbered!


Belle & Petey's AdopterBelle (above left) came out of her shell immediately. She was so happy to be alive. Handsome Petey took a bit longer but soon joined her. It’s so painful waking up to these stories every single morning. But not doing anything would break my heart even more. So, at the end of the day, I am grateful to be able to make some happily-ever-afters in this difficult world and help kitties like Belle and Petey find loving, forever homes. And for the cherry on top? These two “gifts” went home on their new mom’s birthday!

Sweetpea's Adopter

Here is yet another hopeful note to end on. I’m sure you remember Sweetpea (above) from last month, the beautiful black kitty whose owner threw her out of a third-floor window! Ugh!! Well, from the moment she arrived, she showed herself to be a total lap cat who, despite painful injuries that are healing, was just the gentlest little soul, so forgiving and loving. I was thrilled to find her the perfect forever home with a lap that will always be available and a heart that will always love her.


Beth and Pebble P.S. Grab your red Sharpie now and draw a big heart on May 30, which is International Hug Your Cat Day. I’ll be very busy that day, so I’m perfecting my technique with Poopy Pebble, whose side-eye definitely suggests I have a lot of work to do.

And while you have your calendar at hand, make an appointment to have your pet microchipped because May is Chip Your Pet Month. All of my pets are chipped in the event the unthinkable happens and they get outside. Of course, I believe cats should be indoors only, but this is an extra safety measure that I advise all pet owners to take.

And here is one more date to mark on your calendar: If you haven’t already, please reserve your place to join me at our spectacular Celebration of Rescue on Friday, June 14, in New York City. As I’ve said before, I’m so pleased to be chairing this exciting event, which will shine a light on all the great work we do and all the wonderful people who make that work possible. We’ll present our Crystal Collar Award to my friend and fellow rescuer, Rachael Ray! Plus, there will be music, an auction, and all kinds of festivities, along with the good energy that comes from being in a room filled with people who love animals. I can’t wait to see you there!

RSVP Now for Celebration of Rescue
By |2024-05-13T22:10:25-04:00May 13th, 2024|