The Hero Dog Awards is a program developed in partnership with Hallmark Channel and American Humane Association to recognize eight remarkable dogs who have enriched, protected, and even saved lives. Cohost Beth Stern (@BethStern) sat down with DIRECTV to talk about the award show, her many foster animals, and her own personal cat hero.
What can you tell us about the Hero Dog Awards?
Oh my gosh, co-hosting the Hero Dog Awards was such an incredible experience. First of all, being among these dogs, what they have accomplished, “hero” isn’t even the right word. I guess to put it in a nutshell, there was not a dry eye in the room. And to be hosting it, and listening to the stories and having these animals next to me was so overwhelming and special. It was one of the highlights of my life being there.
This is actually the fourth-annual Hero Dog Awards. What have you learned?
This was the first year that I had taken part in the Hero Dog Awards, and I had known about these animals, reading about them. But actually being there in their presence was just magical and so uplifting and heartwarming and inspiring.
There are a lot of awesome dogs out there, and they can’t all be on the Hero Dog Awards. How can we reward the hero dogs in our lives?
Everybody has a hero dog in their own life! Just giving more love and attention and treats—that’s the best reward for a dog, as you probably know. Treats, love and attention!
We’re on the set of the Paw Star Game, airing next year on Hallmark Channel. How do you stay focused? I see these cats and I’m instantly distracted.
I’m actually in my element. Having 90 cats around me on a workday is pretty close to what happens when I go home. My husband and I have six resident cats and right now 11 foster kittens in our home. At any given time, there are cats crawling all over me, all over my husband, all up the curtains, all over the house. I feel like this is my little home away from home right now.
I love it, I’m in my bliss. I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this job.
Can we talk a bit about your cat Yoda?
Oh, my Yoda! He is a true hero. He’s this cat that had a four-to-six month life expectancy due to his failing heart. He was a foster, we adopted him because we were like, “You only have four-to-six months to live. You’re not going anywhere, Yoda.”
I had foster kittens in the room, I opened the door [and] Yoda took over. He became foster papa to all my foster kittens all summer long. Since then, his heart has gotten stronger. And of last week, he’s officially off his heart medication. The vet said that he made a miraculous recovery. They said it’s just a medical enigma—they cannot figure out how his heart has gone from failing to healthy.
Purpose and love heals hearts, and Yoda is a perfect example of it. He’s right now working away, licking the foster kittens, grooming them, making sure they’re all happy and healthy to go to their forever homes.
He’s got a job to do, and he’s so loved, and he has become a children’s book, coming out November 18, called Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens. 100% of the proceeds are going to the expansion that I’m building on the North Shore Animal League America called Bianca’s Furry Friends.
Yoda is my cat hero!
The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards airs Thursday, October 30 at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel (Ch. 312).