Meet a True Four-Legged Celeb: Bella Starlet..Beth Joy & Bella Starlet .............Diane West
Small but talented - that's the best way to describe Bella Starlet, a wonderful blend of many dog breeds, who, with her pet parent/acting manager Beth Joy Knutsen, were guests on Arden Moore's OH BEHAVE! show. Tune in as Beth Joy describes how she turned this former abused dog into a vibrant beauty. The pair competed in the hit CBS show, "Greatest American Dog" and do a lot of charity work throughout their New York City turf as well as globally. On the second half of the show, Diane West, publisher of "New York Tails" and host of "Pets in the City" on Pet Life Radio, pops in to talk about canines in the Big Apple. So, sit, stay and listen - you're in for a treat!
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“What’s this show called?”
“No, really. What’s this show called?”
“Oh Behave” With your shaggadelic host, Arden Moore. What’s happening, Arden? Yeah, Yeah, baby. Tell us.
Arden Moore: Welcome to the “Oh Behave” show on PetLifeRadio. I’m your host, Arden Moore. Just say the name, “Bella Starlet” and you find yourself conjuring up an image of a magnificent, talented beauty. Bella Starlet is all that and more. Our special guest today is Beth Joy Knutsen, the proud pet parent and acting manager for Bella Starlet, a wonderful blend of many dog breeds, who lasted seven weeks on the popular show, “The Greatest American Dog Show.”
Welcome Beth Joy, and of course, Bella Starlet.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Yes, thanks so much.
Arden Moore: Well, we’re going to chat with Beth Joy about what brings her joy about this former stray right after this commercial break.
“We’re going to switch back on, baby. Yeah! So let’s talk pets with our smashing host, pet edutainer, Arden Moore and the groovy show that’s cool, baby. Really shaggadelic. “Oh Behave!”
Arden Moore: We’re back, and so are Beth Joy Knutsen and Bella Starlet, the latest team to be, sadly, expelled from the Canine Academy on the CBS show “The Greatest American Dog Show.” . But, gosh! You made it through seven weeks! Congratulations Beth Joy.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Thank you! I am so proud of Bella Starlet. She’s amazing. She’s pawmazing.
Arden Moore. There Yeah go. Please share with our listeners how you adopted Bella Starlet in the first place, and then, how you landed on this hit show.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Back in 1998 when I moved here, I was missing my Yorkie at home, and my mom wouldn’t let me take him with. So I found an ad in the New York Press about a little mixed breed dog in Brooklyn and I called up and I found out that this woman, Claire actually found out, that Maggie (her name was Maggie at the time) was being abused and neglected at this local home. So she went to the house and said, “I’m taking your dog to find it a good home.” I ended up adopting Bella from Claire and I named her Bella because she’s so beautiful, and that’s how I got her. The first night I brought her home she laid on the pillow next to me and she just smiled and it’s been true love ever since. And how we got on the show? We were actually called up by casting and they found us. They called up and were like, “Is this Bella Starlet dog?” I was like, “well, this is Beth and Bella’s sitting next to me.” Yeah, they found her website. She’s been a veteran actress for ten years and they were just buggin’ out on all of her achievements. They said, “You have to be on the show.” And I was like, “Ok.”
Arden Moore: That’s pretty nice when they found you. What is your website so our listeners can dash off to it after the show?
Beth Joy Knutsen: Oh sure. It’s BellaStarletDog.com
Arden Moore: Excellent. Now, there’s a couple bits of trivia about you that I found out. I had no idea that you have actually impersonated Elaine’s character from “The Seinfeld Show,” and now that I see you I think, “You know, you do look a little like her.”
Beth Joy Knutsen: Yes, I impersonated Elaine for about five years and went around the country. It was pretty interesting. You meet some wild characters. Maybe Julia Louise- Dreyfus will invite me onto her new show, who knows.
Arden Moore: Hey, I would tune in then. They need a dog on the show. I mean, really. We need to get Bella Starlet on.
Beth Joy Knutsen: I agree. Bella Starlet needs a guest starring appearance on that show.
Arden Moore: So tell us what it was like living in The Canine Academy. I mean, you’ve got the big dogs and the little dogs. There’s five teams left out of the twelve that started, You did make it past the halfway mark which is pretty incredible.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Thank you.
Arden Moore: Did you have to stay in that area after you get expelled? Are you allowed to go home or did you have to kind of hang out for those weeks?
Beth Joy Knutsen: We don’t actually go home because all of the filming is done at once. So the people who are off the show go to a sequester location then once everything was done filming we all went home.
Arden Moore: So how was that like? That was a pretty long time away from home and New York and your husband and your other dogs.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Yeah, I’m used to being away. Bella and I do a lot of things around the country. Actually, my other dogs and my cats too, so that wasn’t such a big deal. We actually enjoy that time together. Bella loves traveling around the country. I always say... She goes around the world with me. Living in the house was an experience to say the least. It was fun. It was engaging. It was dramatic. It was wild. Any other adjectives? I don’t know!
Arden Moore: There was an episode that I was really proud to see you stand up for Bella Starlet when one of the other contestants sort of said, “Oh, you know, Bella Starlet was crying” when there was a painting episode, when everyone was trying to be “parkas as.” But you seem to really know Bella Starlet’s past and you seem to be quite protective of Bella and you knew that she had some issues in the past that you’ve been working on. So, I applaud you for sticking up for your dog.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Going through the years with Bella, I mean, when I first got her, she was afraid to go to the bathroom because she got hit for making in the house. I say “making.” I’m from the Midwest. Going to the potty, whatever. So I had to work through that issue and I still praise her to this day for going to the bathroom and Bill is in the house is making fun of me going, “Go poopie! Go make!” You know, I praise my dog. I love my dog. I’m working through many issues. She still has some residual things that any behaviorist will tell you, it doesn’t change overnight and I work through the issues when I can. I have six animals and they all have their own issues that I deal with. To work through that paw issue actually was a greater bonding experience. It took us twelve hours to do that painting and I worked very slowly. I had to tape off all the sides so she could walk the paint through certain things. After a while the sponges started falling off anyway. I was like, “just run through the paint. I don’t care have a great time!”
I do applaud you for that Beth Joy because from any of us, we have had rescued pets. I have two dogs. One came from the streets. One spent two years in three different shelters. They do have issues. But they are just like people. I think your approach to show a lot of love and support and consistency with Bella Starlet is probably what made her as good as she is today.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Thank you so much for saying that. I really appreciate that.
Arden Moore: We have something in common. We’re not the same age, darnit! But we have the same birthday! October 6th.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Libras! Woohoo!
Arden Moore: It’s so nice to see another Libra! Woohoo! So are you doing anything special for your birthday coming up? Maybe with Bella Starlet and the rest of your critters?
Beth Joy Knutsen: Well, I would. There’s a few things I’d like to do. It’s also our ten year anniversary together. It’s also my ten year anniversary in New York, and it’s my 33rd birthday. So I’m thinking somehow we can go to Hawaii together, or to Paris or take a helicopter ride around the city, or go rent a Ferrari and go drive to Atlantic City. Or something. I don’t know. Something wild I have to do with her.
Arden Moore: Now, when we look at Bella Starlet’s picture on the CBS show’s website for “The Greatest American Dog Show”
My goodness! We’re talking quite a blend. I looked on the bio. Run down what you think, or know, is made up of Bella. She’s quite a blend.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Yeah, actually, she was tested twice, she did the blunt DNA test, and the vets couldn’t believe it. We were all taking bets on what her mixes were and they were shocked and they actually retested her because they couldn’t believe it. She is a Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Trolling Retriever, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranian mix.
Arden Moore: oh my gosh!
Beth Joy Knutsen: Pure mutt.
Arden Moore: She’s the all American dog!
Beth Joy Knutsen: She is the all American dog. She really is.
Arden Moore: Now, on episode seven, the challenge for all of you was to, somehow, have your dog shepherd three very goofy Golden Retriever puppies through this maze. It was timed and that’s pretty tricky. Now, Bella’s ten years old and you only get like five minutes for you and Bella to sort of introduce yourselves, if you will, to these very goofy pups. Tell us a little bit about that challenge and what seemed to be pretty tricky with that.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Let me first say, when we greeted the puppies, Bella was so excited. She was trying to jump towards the puppies. But, again, with filming, there’s hours and hours between things. It was like three hours before we even began the challenge. It was like 105 degrees that day. Bella wanted to go sit in the pool and chill out. It was hot. It was really hot out there. When we actually got into it, she was done. She didn’t even want to be outside anymore. I was calling her through. What happened was, when you see her digging in the show, she actually found a camera guy just sitting there. They’ve got holes in the sides to get a dogs’ eye view.
Arden Moore: Oh! I was wondering what she was doing. That’s good to know.
Beth Joy Knutsen: She went in there and was like, “Hey! Is mommy in there with you?” she was probably like, “I hear her voice but I just can’t find her!” By that time I was just calling her in French. I was like, venez-moi ..Come to me, come on.” I was just saying, “you want a biscuit” or whatever. By that time I was like, “just have fun.” It didn’t matter. Maybe she didn’t rescue a puppy, but she didn’t try to eat the puppies like Star or Andrew. So I’m just proud of her for that.
Arden Moore: Well, before we bid you adieu, or au revoir (I’m trying to do my French for you) who are you rooting for? We can’t ask you who won, but who are you rooting for on the show and what’s next for you and Bella Starlet?
Beth Joy Knutsen: We are rooting for Travis and Presley because they were in an alliance with us. I called it the brain trust. They were great and we are rooting for them. And what’s up for Bella Starlet? Well, we have a lot of surprises coming up and we want everyone in America to stay tuned because there is some fun stuff coming. Bella’s always up to something. We have her Halloween float coming up in the Village parade. Totally 80’s… that’s the theme. That’s pretty much it. There’s always something going on with Bella. We have a red carpet even coming up next week. A lot of fun.
Arden Moore: She also writes a column for City Pet Guide called Life of a Celebrity Pup and also New York Tails called Tails About Town? And again, your website for folks to sort of keep in touch with what’s going on with you two?
Beth Joy Knutsen: Yes. That was Life of a Celebrity Pup for City Pet Guide
Tails About Town for New York Tails and the websites are BellaStarletDog.com and PureMutt.com
Arden Moore: Ok, if Bella could talk right now, what’s the message she’d like to give all the marvelous mutts in America?
Beth Joy Knutsen: “You are all pawdorable”
Arden Moore: well, from one October 6th babe to the next, I wish you the best. You have an adorable dog, and I think the sky’s the limit for both of you.
Beth Joy Knutsen: Aww thank you so much. Merci beaucoup.
Arden Moore. Oh! Tres Bien! That’s it. My French teacher from high school would have been be so proud of me. Ok. We are speaking to Beth Joy Knutsen. She and Bella Starlet were contestants on the CBS show “The Greatest American Dog Show.” We thank them for being on the show. Check out their website. We will be back with another guest, yes, the editor of New York Tails, Diane West, right after this commercial break.
“Would you like to go out?”
***dog barks and pants***
“Well, actually I was talking to your owner. I meant on a date, baby. Yeah, you and me. ‘Oh Behave!’ will be right back after these groovy shaggadelic messages. Oh Yeah.”
“We’re going to switch back on, baby. Yeah! So let’s talk pets with our smashing host, pet edutainer, Arden Moore and the groovy show that’s cool, baby. Really shaggadelic. “Oh Behave!”
Arden Moore: “Welcome back to “The Oh Behave Show.” I’m your host, Arden Moore. As mentioned, we have a treat for the second half of our show. That’s right, I’m sitting next to the amazing, the powerful, the all-knowing Diane West, who is the publisher and editor in chief of New York Tails. This is live from the Prima Dog Shop, where Aida has the best stuff in Manhattan for dogs of all sizes and shapes. There’s a little bit of a trivia connection here because Dianne is the editor in chief, as we mentioned, of New York Tails, and our guest earlier on the show, Beth Joy is…. What’s the connection? We are as curious as a cat.
Diane West: Beth Joy and Bella I actually met when we started the magazine in late 2001 or 2002. They came to actually enter a contest that we had. And then she just never left!
Arden Moore: I have friends and socks like that.
Diane West: She and Bella (and I mean that with all affection) started doing our Tails About Town column where they go to different parties and meet people and talk to them. Beth has also been very instrumental in helping us get the word out about New York Tails and stuff.
Arden Moore: It’s a great magazine, and I’m looking at the cover, listeners, and there’s not one, but two, of the contestants from “The Greatest American Dog Show.” There’s David and his cool dog Elvis, and then Beth Joy and Bella Starlet. I have a Calico names Callie. I guess I’m not clever with these names like these people!
Arden Moore: I’m so glad to be in New York. We just had this cool book signing. They’ve got me unleashed going to 23 places from Maine to Hawaii, two stops in New York. I got to mention, I went to a cat place and a dog place. Dogs won paws down. Much more action with the books. What’s the take on that?
Diane West: That you had more action with the dogs than the cats? You know, cats have a very busy schedule, Arden. You have to call and schedule these things ahead of time so they can pencil you in.
Arden Moore: In between the afternoon nap one, two, and three?
Diane West: What are you talking about?
Arden Moore: I’m so mad. Well, in this thing, I want to ask you, people want to know, you have a great show, Pets In The City, It’s on Pet Life Radio. We are so sister like here. We help each other out. You’ve got to go to her show on PetLifeRadio.com because, Ill tell you, you get all the celebs! I get all the people with the “Oh Behave!” Problems. You get all the celebs. Run down a short list of some of the celebs you’ve talked to.
Diane West: Oh my goodness. Let’s see. Well, first I must tell your listeners, my great and esteemed colleague, Arden Moore, has pumped me up so much that anything I possibly say is going to sound stupid, but I will try my best. Let’s see. We’ve spoken with Bernadette Peters, of course, a great Broadway actress. We’ve spoken to some of the celebs from Sex in the City. We’ve spoken with people from House and Bones. Lisa Edelstein, , Emily Deschanel, you know, folks like that.
Arden Moore: You know what though? That’s nice, between you and me, it doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity or not, you can tell a true pet lover, can’t you?
Diane West: Yeah. I think much like you, when you talk to people and you’re in the pet journalism business, I think you get a sense for that really.
Arden Moore: Yeah, we can sniff out a fake and we can sniff out a really good friend. Today at the book signing, I was blown away. There was this guy named Rick who has a little Yorkie named Jilly who plays poker. I’ve seen a lot of dog tricks, and you probably have too. How would you rate Jilly on dog worthiness or talents of tricks?
Diane West: Jilly is absolutely amazing! She never fails to astonish me. I’ve seen her quite a few times at this point, and she just never fails to astonish me. And the fact that Rick is a great guy, and the fact that he’s not a professional trainer just blows my mind.
Arden Moore: The secret, I think to Jilly and Rick (and yes, we’re talking about you Rick) is that he brings enthusiasm to Jilly. We’re going to have a whole show on Rick and Jilly, because this dog and this man are very bonded. You can tell that he uses a lot of positive praise. He’s looking for his dog right now, who is probably signing pawgraphs…pawtographs.
It’s just great. I love coming to the city. I live in Ocean Side. It’s a little bit of a hard walk. It’s a long dog walk, I’ll tell you, to get to New York City. But it’s been great. How long have you been doing New York Tails and how do people get their paws on it?
Diane West: I must say, it says publisher and editor in chief, but I’m really just the secretary and the traffic cop. It’s an all volunteer and all hard production that I have roped my family, friends, and anyone else who’s not really sane into doing. We’ve been doing it since the end of 2001, beginning of 2002. The reason I started it, as I’m sure you have been seeing around New York, sometime there’s this perception of New Yorkers as tough or whatever. But you see, their animals are their life. And all kinds of animals. Not just dogs. They love their cats. In fact, right before here, I came from a cat fundraiser.
Arden Moore: Oh, tell us about that!
Diane West: It was good! It was called, “Cocktails For Cats.”
Arden Moore: Purrrfect.
Diane West: They were raising funds for homeless cats in the area. Unfortunately, as you know, between Spring and now, the cats are just falling from the clouds. There’s a very active bird club here, Manhattan Bird Club. There’s fantastic exotic animal rescues here because they honestly do find tigers in peoples’ apartments and pythons and what have you. And, you know, they have to go somewhere.
Arden Moore: On my book tour I actually met a little baby hedgehog.
Diane West: Oh really?
Arden Moore: Yeah, it was reading my book. I thought that was pretty good!
Diane West: Was his name Sonic?
Arden Moore: No, he was actually from North Bennington, Vermont, at Whitman’s Feed Store. I get around, I’m telling you. I know you’re jealous. I was at Whitman’s Feed Store in North Bennington, Vermont.
Diane West: Now, that’s the Whitman’s next to the ice cream shop, right?
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh, you’re scaring me. Yeah. You know way to much about the northeast.
Diane West: I pulled that out….
Arden Moore: Yeah. She pulled that out of her banana. This is The New York Tails. We are speaking to Diane West, and again, if you want to get this, where can you get it in the city and what’s the website?
Diane West: Well, we’re actually in a bit of a transition phase now. Because we’ve had such an extraordinary response, even from around the country which really amazes me. And again, I must once again emphasize, it’s really our volunteers. It’s my family. It’s my friends. People really, that make it happen. We’re actually going to be selling subscriptions. 25% of each subscription will go to animal rescue and there will be some shelters that we want to participate with that will actually be like a one on one contribution. I’ll keep you apprised to that as it’s going on.
Arden Moore: Ok, so right now it’s newyorktails.com?
Diane West: newyorktails.com.
Arden Moore: And you’ve been watching “The Greatest American Dog Show.” We’ve been following it with our viewers. Hey! Beth Joy made it for seven out of twelve weeks! That’s not bad!
Diane West: You know, I got to tell you. I honestly don’t know what she said to you.
Arden Moore: She was upbeat. She was happy.
Diane West: She is, and I got to tell you, a lot of what you saw of Beth on this show is pretty much wizzy wig. I mean it really is! I love her to death. What’s funny is when they were first casting for it, when they were trying to throw the net out trying to vet people, I got a call from one of the casting directors and, you know, it probably happens to you as well. “Oh do you know…” this or that.
Arden Moore: Right.
Diane West: And I said, “Oh boy do I got the girl for you!”
Arden Moore: Bella’s mama!
Diane West: And then I found out that I wasn’t the only one who said that. Someone else had said, “Oh, you’ve got….” So, Yeah, Beth and Bella are, as you can see, very….
Arden Moore: Well, they’re very bonded and she loves Bella and Bella is a star no matter what. It’s been great following the lives of these people. My favorite, I got to tell you, so far, is David and Elvis, and to have him spend $10,000 for a “bark mitzvah” and Dr. Ruth showed up!
Diane West: Actually, on the cover, if you see them both laughing, I got to tell you a little bit of back story on that. You see we’re on Coney Island, right?
Arden Moore: Right.
Diane West: The reason they are laughing is that I’m jumping up and downand rattling a big iron gate behind me to try to make the dogs look! But, Yeah, Elvis is amazing with the “bark mitzvahs” and I’m sure Beth told you that she has annual “bark day” parties for Bella as well.
Arden Moore: She has more than one critter in her home.
Diane West: She has six! I should mention that the “barkday” parties that Bella has…Beth! Sorry, they are interchangeable! Beth has for Bella, she always makes sure part of it goes to, she’s made a lot of contributions to Animal Haven and stuff. I just want to stress that any parties she has for Bella, she always has her heart in the right place and is looking out for other dogs.
Arden Moore: Well, I say, “big paws up” to Beth and Bella and David and Elvis, and especially to you, Diane West, for all that you’re doing for all the pets in the city. Go dash over to Pets in the City on PetLifeRadio.com. I also want to take this time to thank our cool producer for making our shows possible. He’s very cool. If you have a great idea for a show for either Dianne or myself, you can email me at Arden@ArdenMoore.com for any “Oh Behave!” shows. But for Dianne with all the celebs in Manhattan, how can they reach you?
Diane West: I think at the same address, right? Diane@PetLifeRadio.com?
Arden Moore: But not Arden@PetLifeRadio.com. We don’t want to confuse our readers.
Diane West: You know I don’t just do celebs! Do you ever listen to my show? I was out with the bats in Central Park a week or two ago.
Arden Moore: Well, I was going to talk to you about that. And we have a very cool cat photo contest with 9lives. There’s some amazing pictures. You’ve got to check it out on PetLifeRadio and download those fabulous felines.
Diane West: Your contest is still going on, right?
Arden Moore: Yeah, we have a photo contest going on with ZooToo for dogs and cats. We got photos clicking all over. We got shutterbugs going all over the place. So, until next time, folks, this is your flea free host, Arden Moore, delivering just two words to all you two, three, and four leggers out there. “Oh Behave!”
“There’s nothing like a shaggy dog, baby. They’re shaggadelic, and this is the place to find out to achieve harmony in a household with your pets. Oh Yeah! So stop by our pad every week and get switched on, baby. Switched onto the show that’s all about attitude, “Oh Behave!” with your groovy host, pet edutainer, Arden Moore. Yeah baby, Yeah. Every week, on demand, at PetLifeRadio.com”