'Younger' 's Sutton Foster and the ASPCA Want Every Shelter Pet to Hit the Jackpot

The Broadway star is the proud mom to rescue pup Mabel

Sutton Foster is a two-time Tony winner, who has headlined musicals like Throughly Modern Millie, Anything Goes and Young Frankenstein, and is the current lead of TV Land’s Younger alongside Hillary Duff. But there is one role that Foster, 40, enjoys playing more than any of her professional parts and that is the role of mom to her rescue pup Mabel.

The Broadway star adopted the pup five years ago and has been smitten ever since. It’s an uncomplicated, caring love that Foster hopes everyone can find, and she has teamed up with the ASPCA to help. In support of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, Foster and the ASPCA are working together to promote awareness about the thousands of kind, devoted dogs in shelters across the country that are looking for forever homes to thrive in.

To help with this effort, Foster will be hosting the ASPCA’s Young Friends Benefit with Irina Shayk on Oct. 15. The funds from this event will go to help neglected pets nationwide. Tickets are still available to this amazing fundraiser, but for those who can’t go, the ASPCA and Foster hope animal lovers will find another way to support shelter dogs during October.

PEOPLE talked to Foster about her shelter dog love story and why Mabel has the reputation of being a heart-stealer.

Tell us about the work you are doing with the ASPCA.

They asked me to host their Young Friends Benefit. I am such a pet lover, dog lover and such supporter of adoption, so I am just thrilled to be able to help in any way I can. I love lending my time to a place that does amazing work and saves the lives of animals.

Who are the animals in your life?

My husband (screenwriter Ted Griffin) and I have a dog named Mabel. We’ve had her for about a year and a half. She was 6-months-old when we got her. We got her through a fostering program called Pet Rescue Inc. Mabel was from a shelter in Texas and was rescued and flown up to New York. We met her and fell in love. She’s the best thing we’ve ever done. We’re obsessed.


Have you been an animal lover all your life?

I grew up with cats, but then, after I went to college, I realized I was allergic to cats. I always had allergies but didn’t realize it was to cats. My first dog that I had was Linus, who was also a rescue. He was shih tzu. I had him for eight years. He was my first love. When he passed away, we adopted Mabel. I feel like for the rest of my life I will always have a dog. There’s something about that responsibility of taking care of something else besides yourself, but also that unconditional love of that little creature. Someone that greets you every morning and every evening and doesn’t care if you’ve won or lost. They just want to be loved, and be there by your side no matter what. It’s a wonderful and simple reminder of what life is all about.


Does Mabel travel with you?

She is about 15 lbs., so she is pretty easy to take everywhere. We didn’t know if she would be a good traveller or not. But now, every time we pull out her travel bag, she jumps right in it. I am able to bring her to work, which is amazing. I just started filming the second season of Younger. She hangs out in the trailer and in my dressing room. She is super used to being everywhere and doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She just wants to be around everybody. We did a promo photoshoot for the show and I brought her. It was this giant room of people and she went up to everybody and said, ‘Hello.’ She was also trying to see if anybody would give her food. Everyone was like, ‘Who is this dog? And why is she so chill?’

So she is popular on set?

She is totally popular! She’s a heart-stealer.

Along with the new season of Younger, what other plans do you have for the rest of the year?

I am doing a lot of concerts. I just got married a year ago, so I am focusing on building a life with my husband, just settling down. I feel really lucky. We created this great family. Things are really good right now.


Why do you choose to adopt and rescue your pets?

I never even thought about going to a breeder. I have nothing against people that choose that route. For me, I just know that there are so many animals out there without homes. What breaks my heart is hearing about shelters that are overrun and have to put down animals, because they don’t have a home to go to. I can’t sleep at night. I have found two beautiful animals that I love more than anything through adoption. I wish we didn’t travel as mush as we did, because I think we would have five dogs.

I can’t get into Mabel’s mind, but I think if I could, she would be very happy we were able to give her an awesome life. I hope she feels like she hit the jackpot.

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