Archive for 2014

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20 Aug 14

Doggie Day Trip: Historic Montauk ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

If you are looking for another historic and dog friendly spot on Long Island to take your dog on a Doggie Day Trip too – you’re in luck.  In our article series Historic Dog Friendly Long Island, and another of our series of Doggie Day Trips – this is combo of the two!

When we think of Montauk, aside from the beaches and laid back vacation vibe, you may not realize that there is a Suffolk County Park that is a piece of history, and dog friendly.  Montauk County Park is located just before the oldest horse ranch in America on the left hand side heading east on Montauk Highway.  It’s a bit of a secret spot because you may just be driving by out to the lighthouse and pass right by not realizing what you are passing.  On a recent Doggie Day Trip, I was accompanied by Snoopy Brunn, the cutie pie Boston Terrier in all the photos.  She an east end native, but this was her first visit to these MTK spots!

Montauk County Park is packed with history, being the home to the first cattle ranch in the United States, and the historic “Third House” on the property was home to the early cattle keepers.  The home also played a significant role in the Spanish American war as it was Camp Wikoff – and served as the quartine area after the war for nearly 30,000 troops including Teddy Roosevelt.

While it’s not the biggest county park on LI – it’s a great stop to make on your way out to the lighthouse, especially if you’re traveling a distance to get there.  The park is dog friendly and the very historic grounds over look the horse ranch, and when we were there, there were no other dogs.  So if you have a dog that maybe doesn’t do great with other pups – this is a nice spot to visit, maybe bring a picnic for you and your dog and enjoy the quiet, beautiful scenary and clean crisp fresh air that seems to be just a bit different in Montauk.

Snoopy was very good observing the horses, don’t let your dog harass or get to close to the horses, respect their space – this is their home after all.

After hanging at for a while or if your just want to go straight out to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, while this is a state park that are generally not always dog friendly, (although we have a few state parks on LI that are dog friendly state parks), you can bring your dog to MTK lighthouse.  He is just not allowed on the lighthouse grounds or near the restaurant…but other wise you can walk the hilly trails which are great for hiking.  You can bring your dog down to the beach – leashed of course at all times, and have him pose in front of the lighthouse.  The beach is very rocky – but incredibly beautiful – the color of the water is gorgeous!

If you want to do the trails – it’s a great place to do a hike with your dog – I have personally done the trails a few different times with my dog in the past – and we always had a great workout.  Just be sure to check yourself and your pup for ticks after the hike if you go this time of year.  Also if you go during the off season – or in winter, be very careful as it is hunting season, and not all hunters abide by the rules of where they should be hunting and that they shouldn’t be doing so on the weekends.  (My friends and I learned that the hard way when we hiked in December on the weekends and heard gun shots very close to where we were the hunters were not supposed to be there). A suggestion is to have your dog and yourself wear bright colors and never take your dog off the leash while hiking the trails.

Snoopy posing at the beginning of a hiking trails.

The secret of Montauk? September is probably one of the most amazing months to visit, the weather is perfect, it’s not hot and less people. You can bring your dog through town and enjoy the beauty around you.  Have your pup pose for some pictures in MTK – and post them in the Facebook comment section below!  For a LOT more pictures of Snoopy’s adventure in Montuak, click here. And remember bring water, treats, a pet first aid kit and if you do the hike, be sure to check your pup for any buggers.   I have been many times in the past it’s a beautiful spot to visit, almost like you have left LI altogether. :)  Enjoy – and stay tuned for our next article Historic Dog Friendly Long Island – and Doggie Day Trips – coming very soon!

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11 Aug 14

Because horses need rescue too ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

If your heading out to the North Fork during this summer and fall season, as you drive on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow you will pass a few bucolic horse farms along the way.  While you admire the beautiful scenery and think how you’re amazed your still on Long Island – you might be surprised to know that many of the horses you pass are actually horses rescued from slaughter or horrible situations.  Truth be told, the average person doesn’t want to know about this, that horses get slaughtered for meat consumption in other countries and not nessecarily humanely euthanized when they are no longer wanted or needed.  So I dare you to read on and look at the beautiful horses in the pictures I took below at North Shore Horse Rescue farm and stop by to visit these majestic and comical horses.  (I was laughing so much at these horses, who were, well horsing around – I can’t wait to go back!)

It’s not an easy topic to write about, let alone be one of the wonderful people who rescue, rehabilitate, re-home and save these horses lives.  It’s hard work, dedication, and lots of love to say the least.

The North Shore Horse Rescue, which is a 501 c 3 non-profit, is run by Laurel Palerno and Tom Renzetti and in the past 13 years they have rescued approximately 30 horses, re-homed 10, and currently have 17 rescue horses in their care along their own 14 horses.  Laurel said, “We get horses from everywhere, with many of the horses coming from the local area, especially in the last few years due to the recession.  We try to help out our neighbors a lot.”  Their very first rescue was a pregnant mare that just happened to be a Wild mustang who is now part of their sanctuary of horses that will stay with them.

This is Tate who popped his head out to see who was visiting – love that blonde coloring!

When I asked Laurel, how did you get into rescue, she responded, “I wanted to get my own horses and we moved from the south shore of Long Island to this location.  It wasn’t tooo long after I got my own horses that I started to find out more and more how many horses needed rescuing.”

This handsome boy above is Winston who is a 1/2 Arabian and 1/2 Thoroughbred who has an adoption pending.  Absolutely stunning to see in person.

Lakota is a privately owned horse, but was rescue who was adopted from another local horse rescue, Amaryllis – and the mini is Sam who is also rescue.

One of their horses there, is Jet he was abused, and I mean not just neglected but abused by someone who hit him in the head with a sledge hammer.  You read that right.  He has the scars on his head and face to prove it – but he was sweet and beautiful.  He wouldn’t be such a healthy beautiful horse if it was not for North Shore Horse Rescue. Some of the horses in the pictures are privately owned, but ALL were rescues.
So what can you do to help? There are many ways you can help, yes you one person!
  • You can donate, that’s the easiest way to help, no amount is too small or too big.  Horses lived up to 30 years, they are expensive to care for and eat a lot of hay. :)
  • You can share this article with all of your friends via social media buttons at the top, so they too are aware of the horse rescues in need on Long Island.
  • You can volunteer to help.
  • You can visit their website for more information.
  • And you can go and visit and learn more about the horses in their care and you may be motivated to do even more.

To find out more about them and see many of their upcoming events go to  To see many, more pictures for our visit, click here!

To read about another horse rescue here on Long Island, click here.

And oh yea, this horse does bite!

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03 Aug 14

Assistance Dogs on Long Island ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

This week we celebrate International Assistance Dog Week, taking place August 3 – August 8, 2014 across the globe. Locally we are fortunate to have 3 different groups groups right here on Long Island.  They are: Canine Companions for Independence northeast headquarters in Medford; The Guide Dog Foundation in Smithtown; and Guardians of Rescue’s Paws of War program based across our Island.

“International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize of all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations.” (From the IADW website)

Canine Companions for Independence provides highly trained assistant dogs who help with their owners every day tasks in life, such as: turning on and off lights, picking up keys, phones or objects that may fall on the floor, opening drawers, doors, refrigerators and much more.  They also can alert a deaf owner to sound and alarms. CCI dogs are raised by volunteer puppy raisers who attend puppy classes with them and teach them house manners and how to behave in public i.e. public etiquette.  The dogs then move on to a CCI campus to begin their formal training.  Each dog is then selected and matched with their new owner based on the needs of that person.

Dagger who recently graduated from his puppy raising and is now in training at CCI and doing wonderful so far!

The location on Long Island is in Medford – and CCI also hosts quarterly graduation ceremonies where the puppies who have been raised by volunteers will be moving on to their formal training.  The graduation brings in hundreds of people from all across the northeast.  You can learn more about how to become a puppy raiser volunteer or how to make a donation by clicking here.

The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was established in 1946 in Forest Hills, N.Y. and now it’s campus is now located in Smithtown, NY.  The Guide Dog Foundation provides dogs to assist people with vision loss and vision impairment have active, more normal lives.  They too have volunteer puppy raisers for the puppy’s young life from 7-week old puppy until the dog is 14 – 18 months old.  The dog then goes into formal training at the Guide Dog Foundation campus.  They are always in need of puppy raisers here on Long Island – you can learn more about becoming a puppy raiser here.

They also have another division called America’s VetDogs which provides dogs to military veterans with disabilities from all eras.  ’America’s VetDog places guide dogs with individuals who are blind; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; and physical and occupational therapy dogs to work with service members in military and VA hospitals.’  (From America’s VetDogs website).

Both CCI and the Guide Dog Foundation use Labrador Retrivers, Golden Retrivers and sometimes a cross of the two.  They both have their own high standard breeding program that breeds only the best or creme of the crop puppies.  Not every dog makes it as a CCI dog or Guide Dog, and often the puppy raiser family takes the dog back to live their lives as a very well trained pet!  I have personally known a few of these incredible dogs – while they may have not made the stringent cut to serve a person – they are wonderful ‘pets!’

America’s VetDogs also works with shelters and has pulled shelter dogs, trained them through their program and are now working as service dogs for veterans! Love that!

Another organization that works with shelter dogs, has dedicated volunteer dog trainers and provide dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD, is Paws of War, by Guardians of Rescue.  Based locally on Long Island, and working with many area shelters and Save-a-Pet in Pt. Jefferson – they evaluate shelter dogs that will qualify for training, carefully matched with a veteran in need and provide and fund all training and any transportation needed.  They have placed about 17 dogs since 2012 when they started Paws of War.  It’s a minimum of six months training and we continue customized training afterward with the veterans. They presently have 9 volunteer trainers and continual training costs add up because the dogs are mostly out of state.  ”It’s hard work and takes dedication but we are privileged to help both ends of the leash,” said Dori Scofield of Save-a-Pet and Paws of War.

Additionally, their is a Long Island chapter of Pets for Vets, a national organization who trains companion animals for military veterans at no cost to the veteran.  All dogs are shelter dogs. ‘Our goal is to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a shelter animal that is specially selected to match his or her personality. Professional animal trainers rehabilitate the animals and teach them good manners to fit into the veteran’s lifestyle. Training can also include desensitization to wheel chairs or crutches as well as recognizing panic or anxiety disorder behaviors.’ (From the Pets for Vets website)Locally the have already worked with Brookhaven and with Last Hope in Wantagh.

To find out how you can get involved with Canine Companions for Independence, The Guide Dog Foundation or Paws of War, or Pets for Vets LI – contact them individually by clicking their links!  Each group is always in need of donations, volunteers and also offer facility tours and school educational programs (something for you teachers to think about – planning your guest speakers and possible field trips for the new school year).  You can also help by sharing this article – to bring more attention to these groups who often are only thought of when someone in your family is directly in need or involved.   Amazing local groups helping improve the lives of people with disabilities and our veterans.  Dogs are just incredible aren’t they!

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30 Jul 14

Back into the Wild! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Living on Long Island we are so privleged to see so much wildlife around us on land, and in the sea.  Being surrounded by water offers a huge variety of marine life to see, if you take the time to look!  This past Saturday, in Hampton Bays, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation held a sea turtle release at Ponoquogue Beach.  What a joy to be able to see this juvenile Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle, who was a cold stun rescue from October 2013, be released back into the ocean. Kemps Ridley sea turtle’s are the most endangered species of sea turtles and the smallest – weighing 80 to 100lbs compared to other, much larger sea turtles.

The turtle named Estonia, was found on the beach in Long Beach – she was a cold stun rescue.  A turtle that is cold stunned is a result of the water temperature rapidily decreasing which can cause the turtle to stop feeding, heart rate to slow and float on top of the water.  Estonia is one of many turtles that the Riverhead Foundation cares for due to being cold stunned and she was rehabilated at their facility since she was found.  I asked one of the volunteers why they were just releasing her now, they informed me they have to wait until the water temperature is warm enough.

There was easily over 150 people there (on both sides) waiting to see the release.  I don’t know who was more excited, the humans or Estonia as they walked her past all the onlookers, as soon as they went by the ocean she was practically jumping out of the turtle carrier!  Her flippers were going and you could tell she was ready to go back home.

Estonia flapped her flippers the entire way she was being held, kind of like when you hold a dog above water and they do a doggie paddle in the air.  It was adorable!

Off she goes! She went very quickly into they ocean once they place her on the sand.

The device that is glued to her shell is a tracking device, and as she travels in the ocean the Riverhead Foundation has an area of their website where you can see her travels by tracking her.  As she grows, the device may fall off as her shell gets bigger, remember she’s a young turtle.

For more information on all the fantastic programs that the Riverhead Foundation has, to make a donation and to learn more about what they do, visit their website!

Good luck Estonia!

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23 Jul 14

Historic Dog Friendly LI ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

Historical mansions on Long Island are not something you would first think of to bring your dog too – but here on LI we are very fortunate enough to have many such places to explore and take in the history with our pups!  A new series of articles will feature many different places in bought Nassau and Suffolk counties over the next few weeks.

We start with the Castle and grounds at Sands Point, N.Y. that is located just north of Port Washington in Nassau County.  While we have a few castles on Long Island – which really is amazing in and of itself – the fact that you can bring your dog to such places may be unheard of in other parts of the country.  Sands Point is a hidden gem if you are looking for a different spot to spend the day with your pup.  While there are some restrictions to where you can bring your dogs on the grounds – it is well worth the trip and experience.  How often can you take a picture of your dog, like this one below of Phineas in front of a castle?

The history of Sands Point is quite fascinating, known as the Guggenheim Estate, and now cared for by the Friends of the Sands Point Preserve.  The estate was built in 1920 and modeled after the Kilkenny Castle in Ireland.  The castle is 100,000 square feet built with limestone and was originally served as the servant’s quarters and horse stables.

The Hempstead House which was the property’s main residence, overlooks the Long Island Sound is a 50,000 square foot Tudor-style home thta is 225 long and 135 wide with 40 rooms and 60 foot tall entry way.

The house is off limits to dogs – but you can walk right up to it with your pup or walk on the large grounds adjacent to the house that overlook the stunning view of the Long Island Sound and Connecticut.

There are also hiking trails that you can walk your dog through, picnic tables to hang out with your pup and while there is a beach – they do ask that you don’t let your dog in the water. If you’re looking for a new spot to take your dog too, Sands Point is well worth it – and I imagine in the fall it will be beautiful with the leaves changing.  Respect the areas that say dogs aren’t allowed to keep this piece of LI history dog friendly!  For more pictures, click here!