Stage Legend Bebe Neuwirth Reads to Shelter Dogs Through the ASPCA’s Storytelling Program

May 30, 2017

Bebe Neuwrith with a dog

Bebe Neuwirth with Bordeaux, a 15-year-old Bichon Frise, who was rescued by the NYPD and brought to the ASPCA in April 2017.

Last Tuesday afternoon, several dogs in the ASPCA’s Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment (CARE) had a very special visitor: Broadway legend and current star of CBS’s Madam Secretary, Bebe Neuwirth.

Ms. Neuwirth spent the day serving as a volunteer reader for the ASPCA’s Storytelling program, an innovative initiative that provides fearful, under-socialized dogs the opportunity to relax and spend time around new people. The majority of dogs in CARE were rescued from traumatic situations through the ASPCA’s partnership with the NYPD.

Bebe greeting Juice

Bebe Neuwirth greets Juice, a 4-year-old pit bull mix with skin issues who was found tied to a pole at a construction site.

Ms. Neuwirth shared sections of Leo Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace with a group of four dogs as part of their rehabilitation. “There’s something very soothing about telling a story, so why not pick one of the greatest?” Ms. Neuwirth said.

As Ms. Neuwirth read to the dogs, they sat patiently and calmly. The dogs Ms. Neuwirth read to varied from small to large, including Bordeaux, a 15-year-old Bichon Frise who was rescued in April 2017, Mocha, a one-year-old Husky-mix who was rescued in March 2017 after allegedly being kicked and punched, Blue, a four-year-old pit bull-mix who was rescued in February 2017 after she was found tied to a pole without access to food or water, and Juice, a four-year-old pit bull-mix with skin issues who was found tied to a pole at a construction site in December 2016. A shelter favorite, Juice is currently the only one of these dogs available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center, and he’s searching for a loving home.


Consider adopting Juice today!

 “It’s a lovely, beautiful experience for me to read to the dogs,” Ms. Neuwirth said. “It’s clichéd, but when we heal them, they heal us. The words of Tolstoy, the sounds of some sweet animals and just the silence and the words… it was really beautiful.”

Bebe reading to a recovering dog

Bebe Neuwirth reads excerpts of her favorite novel, War and Peace, to a recovering canine cruelty victim.

Since the ASPCA began the Storytelling program a little more than three years ago, volunteers have clocked more than 3,000 hours of reading to hundreds of dogs at CARE, as well as animals at the Animal Recovery Center (ARC)—a special wing of the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) for cruelty victims. 

“Victims of animal cruelty benefit from positive and loving human interactions to help undo the psychological damage they’ve sustained, so we’re thrilled that Bebe Neuwirth—a longtime animal advocate—is offering her time and considerable talent to take part in our reading therapy program,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “Many of these dogs have never known a kind word or gentle action from a human, so Ms. Neuwirth’s participation, as well as the participation of all of our volunteer readers, can truly make a difference in their lives and boost their adoption prospects.” 

Bebe Neuwirth and ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker share treats with Bordeaux.

Bebe Neuwirth and ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker share treats with Bordeaux.

The Storytelling Program is just one of the ASPCA’s many innovative programs for animals in need. Like Ms. Neuwirth, you can make a difference in the lives of animals every day. Please consider giving a gift today to support the ASPCA’s efforts to rescue and protect innocent victims of cruelty nationwide.

We’re LIVE for Doggie Story Time with Bebe Neuwirth!

We’re streaming live from our CARE Center with actress Bebe Neuwirth as part of the ASPCA Storytelling Program - our initiative designed to socialize victimized dogs through storytelling. Tune in to read along with our adoptable pups and learn more about the program from our President and CEO, Matt Bershadker!

Posted by ASPCA on Wednesday, May 24, 2017