Archive for 2012

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22 Aug 12

Underdog to Champion disc dog ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

So another book about a dog – among the countless books out there that are about pets – Wallace the book is a page turner and surely stands out from the rest, in my opinion.  Now am I biased because I am a Pit Bull owner and advocate?  Maybe, but I think anyone who owns any kind of dog, who reads this book will be brought to happy tears, inspired by the people who never gave up on a dog, and his amazing journey along the way.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Wallace’s story, and the tireless, dedicated efforts of his owners Roo and Clara Yori and his many friends, is going to be on the book shelves for the entire country to see.  I was lucky enough to read this prior to the release – and I could not put it down – many nights after long work days I would start reading it and next thing you know I have read for over and hour, and it’s the middle of the night – but loving every minute of this book that I didn’t want it to end!  The book is wonderfully written by Jim Gorant, who also authored The Lost Dogs about the Vick Dogs.  When reading it you feel like you are right there watching Wallace and Roo flip and jump through the air at each disc competition.

I knew of Wallace years ago, and became an instant fan when I heard about how he was dominating the disc dog circut – but I had no idea to the full extent that he did, how he got there and all the effort that Roo and Clara put into it.  Wallace was astonishing at weight pulling too – but Pit Bulls do tend to excel in weight pulling – so Wallace being a frisbee flying pit bull just warms my heart.

The story of how Wallace came to be, how he was rescued, trained in being a World Champion and National Champion disc dog, yes that’s right a world champion and national champion American Pit Bull Terrier disc dog is truly an amazing story.  And it just goes to show that dogs shouldn’t be given up on because of their breed, behavior or situation.  Dogs want to learn, be part of a family, have a routine and dogs are resilient – Wallace is the true spirit of resilience.  I can’t wait to see this book in everyone’s hands.  So  pick up Wallace coming out August 30, 2012, you will love this book!  And next week, in the ‘Where in the World is Max‘ contest, guess what the prize is?  Yep, yep that’s right you can get your paws on your very own hardcover copy of this book!  Be sure to check the Pet Events Newsletter on August 29th, 2012 for the giveaway – don’t get the newsletter? Sign up here.

Wallace we love you here on Long Island! I hope to one day get to meet you. :)

Wallace changing minds, one disc at a time.

photo by Josh Grenell

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21 Aug 12

ARF’s Jewels of Summer Beach B ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

On Saturday night, August 18th I was invited to The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) annual Beach Ball, with this years theme the ‘Jewels of Summer’ appropriately so for who the evening honored.  A lovely event held at the Bridgehampton Tennis & Surf Club, you can’t go wrong when you are literally over looking the beach, surrounded by pets up for adoption and of course some Hamptons and NYC celebrities.

Everyone there had the same mindset, that it’s about rescuing and caring for the animals.  The affair was emceed by NBC’s Chuck Scarborough – who you may not know that he and his wife Ellen are ardent supporters of various rescue organizations, including ARF, but they are also proud parents of their own adopted pets.  Chuck did a great job and he was also pretty funny when describing his pets and how he and Ellen recently just adopted another dog.  (Way to go!)

There was a cocktail hour with a lot of hors d’oeurves being passed around a raw bar and a lot of picture taking and laughter happening – everywhere you went people were talking about their own pets or a pet they were thinking of adopting.  So while to the rest of LI – it might seem like just another ‘Hamptons’ event with celebrities, it wasn’t just about that, it’s all about the animals, and ok and maybe a little about what some of the guests were wearing.

This year’s Beach Ball honored Candy Udell the President of London Jewelers and Founder of Rescue Paw Foundation.  ARF recognized Candy with the ARF Champion of Animals Award  for her tireless efforts, generosity and dedication to animal welfare.  Candy has a jewelry line called, ‘Our Cause For Paws‘ and the sale of the jewelry helps provide grants to qualified Not-for-Profit organizations that operate facilities to provide care and shelter for animals who have been rescued; seek qualified adoptive owners for saved animals; promote, foster and advance the adoption of rescued animals; stimulate interest and concern in the prevention of abuse and neglect of animals; and promote the prevention of animal overpopulation through spay and neuter programs.

l to r: Kathleen Rice Nassau County District Attorney; Candy Udell President London Jewelers; and Chuck Scarborough NBC News Anchor

Candy was introduced and given the award by Nassau County District Attorney, Kathleen Rice.  Who is also an animal lover and has her own adopted dog too.    Kathleen has also recently really started taking big initiative with the Nassau County SPCA, and proposing bills that strengthen the laws of  people who are animal abusers.

“All of us at ARF were delighted with the success of the 2012 Beach Ball—Jewels of Summer.  You can’t have a better honoree than Candy Udell, President of London Jewelers and Kathleen Rice and Chuck Scarborough as presenter and Emcee were top notch.  $250,000 was raised to help cats and dogs in need at ARF,” said  Sara Davison, Executive Director of ARF.

ARF Board Member, Lisa McCarthy; Francis Hayward of Be Kind to Animals; and Sara Davison, Executive Director at ARF

There was also a silent auction at the event and adorable dogs, puppies, cats and kittens on hand for adoption in the new ARF adoption van. 

For more information on how you can get involved with ARF go to  See the slide show of pictures below!

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17 Aug 12

Puppies & Handlers graduate! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Earlier today, I had the honor of going to the Northeast Region of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) graduation ceremony.  I arrived a little late, so they were already in the ballroom of the Marriott in Islandia, and when I opened the door to the back of the room I was not expecting to see a packed ballroom of people and many amazing dogs!  I thought the graduation was just for the LI Chapter – but there were puppy raisers and dogs there from all over the northeast.

Canine Companions for Independence graduation ceremonies honor people with disabilities placed with specially trained assistance dogs nationwide.

This celebration marks the end of an assistance dog’s professional training and the beginning of a partnership between a human in need and a canine that will provide endless service and companionship.

Now I know it is hard to resist one of these puppy faces -  but as cute and sweet as the dogs are, they serve such an amazing purpose to help someone with a disability live their everyday lives with assistance and love from these dogs.  They do tasks that makes my Max saying, “I wuv you” sound silly.

The dogs are trained in over 40 commands and are capable of opening doors, flipping light switches, picking up dropped items, alerting their partner of important sounds and many more helpful services.  These commands enable a person with a disability to function without relying on the help of another person, enhancing their independence.

As the puppy raises were going up to stage with the dogs they have just raised for the past 1.5 years – some had just started and had their first dog, and a few others were recognized as they have raised over 20 puppies for CCI.  It is not just about puppy raising there are many facets that go into making the dogs a success at CCI.  We are lucky to have the Northeast Region Miller Family Campus right here on Long Island, in Medford.  I will be going for a tour soon of the campus and can’t wait to see everything they do.

For more information on CCI or how you can become involved go to: Canine Companions for Independence.

CCI Board Members

Tom the 3rd a puppy being raised by CCI on the North Fork of LI!

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14 Aug 12

Dating with your dog? ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Have you been looking for love in all the wrong places?  Are you a pet owner and can’t seem to find someone to love you and your pet (and its fur and feathers)?  Well have I may just have the answer for you! Recently, pet and lifestyle expert Charlotte Reed hosted a class at the Hotel Indigo in New York City about just this very topic called, ‘Finding the pet Lover of your Dreams.’

Charlotte who has been married for 5 years, has been often asked how she met her great, cute, and loving husband?  How with her menagerie of cats, dogs, and birds did she manage to find someone to fall in love with, who will also love and deal with her fur children?  After years of telling people how she did it, about 6 months ago she decided to host a class to help others find the pet lover of their lives.

If you are in the pet industry or just the every day dog owner who loves to go to different pet events with your pup, chances are you run into the same crowd all the time.  Charlotte found that to be true for herself, and started going to different places like toastmaster events, (loaded with men, by the way), going to networking events outside of her pet profession and started to meet a lot of different and interesting men.  She would not have normally met, say at the dog park or the gym.  Places most of us are told to look! 

Charlotte stresses, that she always makes sure she looks her best, whether it is in a designer outfit or cute shoes from Payless – and too look good in any situation.  She said, “If you’re going to the dog park in your sweats, you may be less likely to connect with the cute guy across the park when he is dressed to impress.”  The point, when you look good you feel good about yourself and you exude confidence which is attractive to those around you.

The same goes for online dating, put a great and recent picture of yourself – you want to look your best and give your best impression online also.  On a first date, you can mention you own a pet, but keep it short don’t scare away your date with horror stories of your last visit to the vet or that your dog threw up earlier, really not sexy or attractive!

“Have realistic expectations if you have a pet, while you are searching for the person you are dating.  And know the type of person you are and who you are looking for,” said Charlotte Reed.

Make a list of who you are, what your likes are, passionate about, what you do and make one of who you would like to find – your ‘must haves’ in a mate.  But, and this is key, make sure you stack up to your own must haves in your list.  Charlotte said, “Think about it you are expecting a buff guy who has a great body and works out, but you don’t or someone who is sweet, kind and caring and maybe you’re a little selfish – how do you stack up to your own wish list?”

An interesting point that maybe not a lot of people think of when searching for that Pet Lover of their dreams!

Another great point was to be proactive in your dating life.  If you are looking for a mate, but use your pet as an excuse, say I can’t go to that event because of my cat needs to eat or I have to walk the dog – then you may not ever meet the love of your life.  There are lots of pet sitters in New York City that can help take care of your cat while you’re at a new event meeting new people.

Charlotte put it well, “Owning a pet as a lifestyle choice – don’t use your pet as an excuse not to go out. If you want to meet somebody – put the time in.”

The class was jam packed with great information for any singleton pet owner looking to find love.  Lucky for you, Charlotte will be hosting a 5 city tour with her class this fall in the following cities: Atlanta; San Diego; Chicago; New York City; San Francisco and maybe Boston too.  Attendees were also very happy to leave with a goody bag loaded with pet products from:  the Animal Medical Center; Bissell; Hugs Pet Products; Hartz; and World’s Best Cat Litter.

And how did Charlotte meet her Executive Chef of a husband? On a TV set of a news show they were both on that day.  So you never know where you may meet the love of your life.

For more information on Charlotte Reed or the next class in a city near you go to

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07 Aug 12

by Nancy E. Hassel,

If you are in the pet industry or just someone who is passionate about dogs, you may have your inbox or Facebook wall inundated with dogs and cats up for adoption.  Most of us have seen the horrible conditions of puppymills, dogs that need homes desperately and those pictures and stories pull at our heart strings.  I, as most people would agree, we wish there were homes for every single homeless dog or cat on the face of the planet.  I do as much as a can as someone in the pet industry, just like many others, but I am not a shelter director or volunteer of a rescue group.  While every picture may pull at your heart strings, it’s the ones that have been languishing in our own backyard in the town municipal shelters that really get me.  Go to ANY Long Island municipal shelter and you will find them packed full of amazing dogs desperate for homes.

Two years ago a wonderful thing happened at the Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter, the old shelter director who was there and seemingly not as passionate about the animals, retired, and Dori Scofield the Founder of Save-A-Pet animal rescue took over as the new shelter director.  I have been to the Brookhaven shelter 2 times.  The first time was 3 years ago in July to evaluate a Doberman, Jordan, who was forced to lie on a concrete kennel for 4 months, who also had a back injury.  Another great shelter director from another town convinced the former shelter director to let her be adopted out.  I don’t know why she was not being allowed to be adopted, but she wasn’t.  So I went there, not knowing what to expect and was greeted by Jonnie one of the shelter employees, and she was fantastic and really cared very much for Jordan.  After meeting Jordan and wanting her for myself, I posted her info and pictures to the Special Needs Doberman FB page, and within a week she was adopted by a lovely lady, Karen in Deer Park.  Karen took such good care of Miss Jordan and loved her so much, sadly Jordan died of cancer about a year after her adoption, but I was so thankful to Karen for giving her a loving and princess home.

The day I met Jordan outside of the shelter, I asked Jonnie if I could go inside and have a tour of the shelter, she said absolutely.  And someone from the staff took me on a tour.  It was heartbreaking, dogs were double and triple in their runs, it was very warm inside, and the dogs seemed so depressed that they would barely get up to greet you.   I saw this with my own eyes and couldn’t believe it as I have been to many other LI shelters and never saw dogs just lay there.  I had to squat down to get the dog’s attention and some would then get up and say hello others wouldn’t.  It was really draining.  We got Jordan out into a loving home and a Cane Corso who was there out about two weeks later into a rescue group, but what about all the other dogs?  I knew nothing would change until the former shelter director was out of there.

Dori Scofield

So I am happy to report that I went there recently and met with Dori, and what a difference, it’s unbelievable.  Not only did the shelter look so much cleaner, the runs were cool with the new AC unit that was installed, and the dogs were very active, and most were very, very happy to see you.  Their tails wagged so much they were a blur!

Dori has, along with Jonnie and Mary Ann, established a new volunteer program, have some trainers in working with the dogs, painted the shelter so it looks less drab and more cheery.  The dogs have their own kennels – and a few big differences are that they established a volunteer program for volunteers to exercise and work with the animals there and Dori put the dogs on a healthier food – Natural Balance Chicken & Sweet Potato.  Instead of just getting whatever brand of food and constantly switching the foods as many other shelters have to do.  The same food daily helps the dogs from getting sick.

They also have a 501 c 3 non-for-profit group called Help the Animals Fund, and they pay for everything the town does not like: cat traps for spaying and neutering feral strays around the Town of Brookhaven; surgeries for the pets in the shelter; healthier food, micro chipping; and more.  From January 1, of this year to July 1st of this year Help the Animals Fund already has spent $28,000 for the shelter animals.  Amazing! Amazing yes, but they could always use more, as pets sadly are always coming in.  Help the Animals Fund is also always applying for grants, so if you are someone from a corporation reading this and can help, please contact them at their information below.

The day I called Dori for an interview, she said 18 dogs came into the shelter.  In one day.  Really people of Brookhaven? Sigh.  The Town of Brookhaven, if you didn’t know is larger than all of Nassau County, maybe not as many people as Nassau, but it is a lot of responsibly for one shelter to cover so much territory.  As of the time of publishing this article there are about 200 dogs and puppies at the shelter and 100 cats and kittens.  I would personally love to see all the private rescue groups that help out only out of state dogs, start helping a couple of dogs a month from our town shelters.  Think about the dogs sitting there for a year or year and half with seemingly no hope of a home.  I know Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, Little Shelter and Last Hope has been helping them out by taking many of the dogs and Dori’s own Save A Pet does too – but the need is very high for all private rescue groups to help our local animals too.

I asked Dori what she would like to see at the shelter to help to continue to improve it and she said, “For less dogs to enter into the shelter and owners taking more responsibility when owning a pet, for example: spaying and neutering them – we have a low cost spay clinic right here on our grounds that can help with that. I would love to work together with more rescue groups, and we always need volunteers to walk the dogs, spend time with them, etc. and of course please put licenses, updated identification on your pets as well as registered micro chips. It is so important for their safe return.”

They have three large dog runs in the back of the shelter and when I was there they both had a dog in them each, bounding around with happiness that they were getting their brief time outside.  One is fully equipped with agility equipment too made by a volunteer.  There are also newly built outdoor runs, and they are covered by a large awing, so that when dogs cages are being cleaned they can spend some time in the fresh air too.  Dori would like more of these runs built as well as a walking trail and more exercise pens.

“This job is 24/7 and almost daily my heart is broken but I consider it an honor and a privilege to be serving the animals of the Town of Brookhaven. This is where I grew up and have been living me whole life,” said Dori Scofield.

Another great thing about the shelter is they are open Sundays, as most municipal shelters are not.  They also have Furry Friday’s at the town of Brookhaven town hall from 11 to 3 where they have adoptable pets from the shelter there – out of the shelter environment for you too meet. The dogs and cats also go to offsite adoption events such as Petco fairs and other community events.  And Dori also initiated a training program complete with a graduation ceremony for the dogs that pass – how cute is that?  It’s their ‘Trainabulls’ program. The shelter has always been populated by the many orphaned Bully breeds so Dori decided to get them some basic obedience to help make their adjustment to a new home easier. Just getting them out and about does so much for their well being.

Behind every animal is a person you are helping. The Brookhaven Animal Shelter helps people in need who sometimes just need a bag of food or perhaps some training advice to help them keep their dog or cat in their home. And nothing heals a broken heart better than a new companion. Helping people find that new furry family member it very special.

So a lot of very positive things have changed at the shelter over the past 2 years while Dori has been running it, but the one thing that has not changed is how many dogs still get abandoned at the shelter.  It is an uphill battle as there may be a great adoption day, but the next day 18 dogs could come in.  So if you are thinking about getting a dog, please visit the shelter.  A suggestion too –  if you see a dog you like ask them to take the dog out of the noisy shelter and spend some time with it in their outdoor meet and greet area – you never know the dog may just be the love you have been missing! And if you have lost a dog or cat, please go to the shelter. Chances are he/she will be there as the Animal Control Officers answer calls all day for stray and injured dogs and cats.

To become a volunteer at the shelter, you have to fill out a town application and if you qualify you will be given a safety and education class prior to starting your volunteering.  To apply you can go to the animal shelter or go online to

The shelter also has a wish list, so please see below and donate what you can!

Wish List:

Natural Balance dog food will run out on September 1st.  Now the town of course will feed the animals, but like most municipalities do not have the budget to pay for better quality food.  So if you would like to donate a bag or more of Natural Balance Chicken & Sweet Potato dog food to the town they would very much appreciate it.

  • Large Kuranda Beds – always in need of them.
  • Real Paper Towels – you know the durable kind.
  • Clothe Towels and blankets
  • Cat food-dry and canned
  • Toys, leashes, collars
  • And most of all we wish for a loving home for all our orphaned companion animals!

Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center was established in1994. Dori kept the animals at her house until she and a friend raised enough money to open up the only other existing shelter in Brookhaven Town. It is a non-profit 501c3 organization that rescues, rehabilitates and adopts out dogs and cats. It relies solely on donations and is located at 608 Route 112, Port Jefferson Station 11776.