Beth Stern Knows About Spoiled Rotten Pets

April 22, 2013 at 9:53 am , by

Looking for a guilty pleasure and like animals? Okay, us too. That’s why National Geographic’s Spoiled Rotten Pets is our must-see show this month. Host Beth Stern (Howard’s wife and the spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League) profiles America’s most pampered pets and their doting owners to show us just how far their love can go.

Viewers meet Wilma and Pebbles, two pot-bellied pigs who live with a couple inside their Pennsylvania home and get regular spa treatments, some diapered ducks, a few Pup Scouts, and a Pomeranian that has a bar mitzvah – yep – you read that right, a pupmitzvah!

Stern told us she and husband Howard have been known to spoil their four cats, too. “I’ve gotten horrible nights sleep due to the fact I didn’t want to move one of my cats, because they were resting so comfortably,” she says. “But I think anyone that loves animals or has pets is going to see themselves in each episode.”

Want to see it for yourself? Check out this trailer.

Four Silly Stress-Busters To Help You Relax

June 20, 2012 at 11:49 am , by

By Jeff Nelson and Allison Berry

Tell us if you agree: Reading about how all our stress is going to kill us only causes more of it. We get it. It’s no secret that too much stress is bad for the mind and body. And with the state of the world today, it’s also no surprise that women’s overall stress has increased 18 percent over the last 25 years. (Thank you, Carnegie Mellon University, for reminding us we’re more pressured than ever.)

Of course we’d all be better off living out our days in a peaceful little beach town where deadlines don’t exist and no one ever gets sick or needs a ride to soccer practice. But we all know that’s not going to happen. So we set out to find a few fun ways to take it down it down a notch.

Slam a Dammit Doll
Warning: This is not your daughter’s toy. Think Raggedy-Ann-meets-voodoo-doll for stressed-out grownups. The Dammit Doll is about releasing your pent-up negative energy. Just follow the instructions sewn onto the toy’s chest (“grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it”), preferably find an inanimate object and see how much better you feel. We did after trying them out, above!

Pop Bubble Wrap
The Sealed Air Corporation found that just one minute of popping Bubble Wrap has the same calming benefit as a 33-minute massage. Yep, and it’s cheaper, too. (That’s us, two very “busy” interns, right, going to town on some Bubble Wrap we found around the office.) If you don’t have any around, you can order some here. Need relief now? Pop some virtual Bubble Wrap here, or download the fun Bubble Wrap app for your iPhone.

Squish Some Putty
Sure, we all know the magic of a stress ball, but those dinky unforgiving globs of foam don’t offer quite the level of angst-busting as a handful of this therapy putty. Roll it into a ball, squish it between your fingers or throw it against the wall at full force. We won’t judge you.

Give In To A Cute Kitty Or Puppy Video
Studies show stroking your favorite pet releases feel-good endorphins, but not many people can bring Fluffy to work with them. A few minutes with a cute kitten video (such as the cat mom hugging her agitated kitten) can help when you feel overwhelmed. So can this puppy cam, fixed on a precious pack of Shiba Inus.

If none of these seem to help, do what we always do when we’re feeling undone: Eat chocolate.


Kellie Pickler: A “100 Proof” Love of Cats

January 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm , by

Photo: Russ Harrington

Are you a cat lover who’s tired of the host of feline fashion faux paws … er, pas … that you see in the stores? Well, you’ve got a friend in country music’s Kellie Pickler, who recently teamed up with Fresh Step litter and the ASPCA for a great cause that’ll benefit both cats in need and your wardrobe.

Now through March 15, in honor of February being Cat Appreciation Month, Fresh Step litter will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the ASPCA for every photo posted on their Facebook page of a pet owner wearing a cat-proud outfit. If your closet is currently cat-pride free, relax and don’t cough up a hairball. That’s why Pickler partnered with fashion designer and fellow cat lover Geren Ford, creating the limited-edition sweater you see Pickler wearing here. When you visit the ASPCA website to purchase the sweater ($35), 100% of the proceeds benefits the ASPCA. You can also virtually “try on” the sweater at Fresh Step’s Facebook page, post it, and make the $1 donation. It’s so easy, your cat can probably do it!

Pickler, who unfortunately had to relocate her beloved cat Pickles due to her husband’s severe allergies, is thrilled to be part of such a pro-cat program, brushing off any fear of being stamped with a “crazy cat lady stigma” as cooly as she’d brush cat hair off a couch. “I’m not ashamed of anything,” she says matter-of-factly. “I don’t really worry about what everybody else is doing and what they like. I kind of do my own thing. I love cats and I’m not going to not love cats just because somebody else doesn’t think it’s cool. I don’t think they’re cool if they don’t like cats.”

She was in a similar mindset while making her brand new CD, 100 Proof, which is out today and takes Pickler back to some more traditional country roots. “On my last album, I made a record based on what I thought radio would play and what I thought people would want to hear,” she explains. “I didn’t do that with this record. I’m not trying to get anybody to like me with this album. Nothing’s forced. I was me, I didn’t make this record for anyone but me and I think it’s okay to do things for yourself every now and then.” Her new approach has produced an album that is her strongest, most personal effort yet. In fact, by not worrying about what anyone wanted to hear, she just may have made the record everyone was waiting for after falling in love with her on American Idol in 2006.

Continue on after the jump for more dish about Pickler’s brand new CD …

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Alison Sweeney Pledges to Help Pets Lose a Million Pounds

May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm , by

Alison and her pup Winky

Alison Sweeney spends a lot of time talking about healthy diet and weight loss (as host of The Biggest Loser and author of The Mommy Diet, it’s unavoidable!). But when her vet mentioned that her much-loved Boston terrier Winky was two pounds overweight, she balked.

“I thought, ‘Oh, great, she sounds fine,’ ” Sweeney says. “But then my vet made me realize that when your dog only weighs 20 pounds, two pounds is a lot. I really needed to take it seriously – our dogs count on us to be their owners and take charge.”

As America’s poster girl for healthy families, Sweeney certainly wasn’t going to leave her precious pooch in the lurch. By changing Winky’s diet and scheduling regular exercise, Sweeney was able to get Winky back to a healthy weight—and teach her six-year-old son Ben a few lessons to boot.

“I think Ben has learned a lot,” she says. “Most importantly, he’s seen that our responsibility as a pet owner is to take care of our pets. But also he saw firsthand the simplicity of healthy eating and exercise, and how that helps keep our bodies healthy. I have Ben note on the calendar the days we plan to take Winky for walks, and it’s become a big thing we can do as a family.”

And Sweeney’s not stopping at just her own family. Just last week she kicked off the Million Pound Pledge for pet food Hill’s Science Diet, a national campaign to help our chubby man’s best friends get healthier and (you guessed it) lose a million pounds. To take the pledge and jump-start your pet’s healthier lifestyle go to, where you’ll also find a bunch of fun interactive tools to track and learn more about Fido’s weight loss, and—bonus—some pet food rebates.

“It’s a great time to get your pet healthy,” Sweeney says—and we agree!

A Heroic Pup and a Lesson in Friendship

March 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm , by

This week, we’re taking a break from our regular  Can This Marriage Be Saved? posts to bring you a little something about relationships of the animal kind. I have been somewhat-obsessively watching video after video of the events in Japan, but this show of loyalty and tenderness between two animals got to me more than any other clip. (Maybe that’s weird.) I’ll let the video speak for itself, but a word of caution: When the brown dog puts his paw lovingly on the injured dog’s head around 2:03, prepare to sob. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from this little brown guy about devotion in the face of horrible tragedy.

I’m sure you’re wondering, as I did, about the fate of these pups: They’re okay! If you’re moved to help the animal victims of the crisis in Japan, or any other, you can donate to the American Humane Association. (See a list of other ways to help from editor Amanda here.)

Tell us about your love for your pets! How have they helped you when you were down on your luck? Does this video surprise you? On a related but much less serious note, check out our Can This Marriage Be Saved? video, “She Loves the Dog More Than Me.”

Help Your Dog Beat the Summer Heat

June 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm , by

luckyTechnically it’s not even summer yet but it definitely feels like it is. The heat and humidity is already making me cranky and uncomfortable but my adorable French bulldog, Smuckers, has it way worse—he starts panting the minute I take him outside lately. (Flat-faced dogs have a harder time breathing and they overheat very easily.) But he can frolic happily and safely now that I’ve been using this genius Dura Doggie fetch toy/water bowl hybrid. Imagine if a pie tin and a Frisbee made out of really tough rubber mated—that’s what it’s like. (Okay, that sounded really weird. What can I say, it’s Friday.) I also love the company’s do-good efforts: Dura Doggie donates one disc for every 10 sold to a foundation helping dogs. You can order one for your fur baby here.

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Cheat Sheet: 5 Things You Maybe Missed This Week

April 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm , by

The All-Animal Edition!!

1. Dog Breaks Free

A beagle makes an, ahem, relief appearance at a minor league baseball game.

2. iPad Cat

This cat is a genius. He should run for president.

3. Cat Roulette!

Instead of getting matched up with a stranger on a webcam as on Chat Roulette, Cat Roulette serves up a random video of a cat every time you hit the “Next Kitteh” button. Maybe you like being adventurous and meeting potentially wackadoo people on Chat Roulette, but me, I like kittens.

4. Whale Kisses Dog

5. Cutest Pets Photo Contest

It’s a shameless plug, I know, but we’re having a cute pets photo contest! The winner gets $500 and will be featured in the magazine. Everyone enter!