By Tara Kyle
MANHATTAN — Country music star Carrie Underwood shot to fame as a champion on "American Idol," but at the Midtown East Bideawee animal welfare center Monday, she sought to win over fans on four legs.
“How could anybody not want this?” Underwood said while cradling one of Bideawee’s dogs. “Hopefully we can raise awareness and stop the problem from the beginning — get people to adopt and get people to do the proper pet care things that they need to be doing.”
The singer’s gift comes in a year when Manhattanites have rallied around beleaguered animal shelters, which face hundreds of thousands of dollars in budget cuts.
City shelters are also currently burdened by a recession that is forcing more people to surrender their pets as they struggle to pay rent.
“They can’t feed their children,” said Renee Collins, Bideawee’s adoption center manager. “They certainly can’t feed their pets.”
Nonetheless, Collins expressed optimism that the work of celebrities like Underwood to help raise awareness can help shelters survive through tough times.
“She’s very popular right now,” Collins said of the Grammy winner. “We’re hoping that her popularity will rub off on us and get people who like her to come in and check us out.”
Underwood, 27, known for such hits as “Before He Cheats” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” is a lifelong dog lover. She is currently raising her own pup, Ace, who she said would serve as one of the ring bearers at her upcoming wedding to professional hockey player Mike Fisher.