Archive for the ‘Animal Shelter’ Category

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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.

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12 Jun 12

Hamptons goes to dogs, celebrities ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

It was a busy pet events day this past Saturday, June 9th, 2012 in the Hamptons.  In Southampton, Paws Across the Hamptons took place in Southampton Village starting at Lola Prentice Park and over a hundred dog owners and very eager dogs yipped and yapped through the streets for a mile and a half walk. The dog walk was fundraiser for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation – and there were a lot of local adorable adoptable dogs and puppies on hand.  NBC News Anchor, Southampton resident and long time animal rescue supporters Chuck Scarborough, his wife Ellen and their dog took part in the walk.  Mayor Mark Epley his wife Mariane and their rescue dog were also on hand for the festivities.  Even celebrity English bulldog Igor did the walk, well part of it anyway.  Everyone was having a wooftastic time and after this event ended, many of the dog walkers and their dogs headed to the Pet Fest that was taking place in Bridgehampton, NY.

This first Pet Fest brought out many rescue groups from all across Long Island and vendors too.  With dogs dancing, frisbee dog demo’s, a training demo from Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, and a Fashion show put on by Gregg Ohler, publisher of Cesar’s Way magazine and Ada Nievesof the Pre-Westminster fashion show – there was something for everyone to enjoy.  Many adoptable pets were available through the rescue groups there.  (I fell in love with Shiloh an 9-week old brindle pit bull puppy who was rescued locally from the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, see her picture below!).

This day long event took place at the Bridgehampton Historical Society and was brought to the Hamptons by Watermill resident and animal advocate, Jewel Morris.   In the evening there was a VIP event for the Pet Hero Awards, a ceremony where many people in the pet rescue world and were honored for their hard work, dedication, passion and even lifelong commitment to helping animals in need.  Many touching and even funny speeches were given about each award recipient.  Jill Rappaport of the Today Show was honored the Pet Humanitarian of the Year award for all her work she has done and continues to do with many different organizations.  See all the award winners here.   See below for slide show of the day and evening’s event!

Gregg R. Oehler, Publisher of Cesar's Way Magazine with Jewel Morris, Founding Presidnet of the Pet Philanthrophy Circle

Actress Aida Turturro looking on as Jill Rappaport of the Today Show, receives Humanitarian of the Year Award

Jill Rappaport of the Today Show with Debi Boies, Co-Founder of Pilots N Paws

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29 May 12

by Nancy E. Hassel,

About six weeks ago I hosted a networking event for pet professionals with the topic, “Think outside the box,” because so many of us get stuck in a rut with the same pet events, marketing plans, etc.  It can be challenging to think of something new to do to promote your pet business or rescue group.  One rescue group that often thinks outside the box in a very creative way is the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.  ARF has many different events that are not your norm, and they wisely use the location in which they are situated in to host such unique events.  All which help the animals in which they rescue and care for.

Over the Memorial Day weekend I was at the 2nd Annual Designer ShowHouse at the ARF in Sagaponack, NY.  ARF transformed their thrift and treasure shop into a designer showhouse for the weekend to raise funds for ARF to help the organization continue to find homes for the animals in need.

Talk about thinking outside the box, most people wouldn’t think of interior design and pets as a hand-in-hand event, but ARF and the designers pulled it off flawlessly.  Ten rooms were beautifully styled by some of New York’s most illustrious interior decorators in which some of the rooms had whimsical pet themes.  Over 200 people attended the kick-off cocktail party fundraiser held on Saturday, May 26th from 5 – 8pm with 5pm being the exclusive preview hour at $300 per person and $150 per person for general admission at 6pm.  The showhouse was open to the public for a suggested $10 donation Sunday & Monday, May 27th & May 28th as well.

The Thrift and Treasure shop itself is a priority for the organization’s long term strategic planning as almost 20% of ARF’s annual operating budget comes from funds raised there. Last year, the Thrift Shop, a charming Dutch colonial building was renovated and expanded allowing ARF to accept more donations and continue to successfully fund the organization’s animal Adoption Center.

Sara Davidson, Executive Director of ARF with one of the ARF dogs up for adoption

“Last year’s first designer showhouse and grand re-opening was such a success that we decided to make the designer showhouse an annual event for ARF. The funds raised by the designer showhouse and Thrift & Treasure Shop are vital to the organization and its mission to provide for the health and welfare of dogs and cats on the East End of Long Island.  We are in awe of the designers’ creativity who will transform the shop.” said Sara Davison, Executive Director of ARF.

The line up of top designers, who created rooms for the second annual showhouse, included: Jeffery Howard Brodersen, Nancy Corzine, Gary Crain and James Alan Smith, Michael Grim, Gigi Mahon, Jeff Pfeifle, Scott Salvator, Rob Southern, and Tony Urrutia.  All the designers are animal lovers who are donating their time and expertise to help the ARF cats and dogs, who are less fortunate than their own beloved pets.  Each room will feature Thrift Shop items and pieces donated from the designers’ own collections.  Unlike traditional showhouses, every item in the ARF designer showhouse was for sale. There were also many adoptable pets on hand in ARF’s brand new adoption truck in which they rolled out for display for the evening’s event. 

So regardless of your location, think outside the box of something different you can do for your rescue group or pet business.  What is in your local community that might be different than others?  Start thinking more creatively and look around in your own backyard to see what you can come up with!

More Pictures below of the ARF Designer ShowHouse!

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27 Mar 12

by Nancy E. Hassel,

I have written about this before, people on Long Island assuming that you can only get a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix at local shelters, and oh how that is NOT the case.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this from a misinformed person, “There are only pit bulls or pit mixes at the shelters,” and for whatever bizarre reason the person saying it always lowers their voice when saying this. Now don’t get me wrong as an owner of my own rescue Pit Bull Max, and proud one at that – I would encourage potential adopters to give a pit or pit mix a chance first – because you will be amazed at what fun loving, super smart, goofy, super loyal and fabulous dogs they truly are.  Anyone who owns a Pit Bull, (American Pit Bull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier), or Pit mix will surely agree with me.  But I do understand people have other breeds as their favorites or are looking for something different – I totally get it.  So why skip over your local municipal shelters because of something you heard or assume about the dogs there (and yes cats too!)?

Recently, Last Hope Inc. Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation posted pictures on their Facebook page of 3 different purebred Weimaraners ALL pulled from local Town Municipal Shelters.  They called it, and how adorably so, ‘Weim Whitman Sampler of Shelter Rescues:’ Last Hope’s puppy ‘Maggie’ comes from Hempstead Shelter, ‘Mac’ (formerly ‘Casper’) is from Babylon Shelter; ‘Mandy’ hails from Brookhaven Shelter.

Photo Credit: Last Hope

The thing is – this is not an uncommon occurrence at our local shelters.  I stopped by the Town of Islip shelter last Saturday and asked the Shelter Supervisor Joanne Daly if they had any Dobermans, she said, “not now, but we did just have a female recently that a Dobie rescue group came and pulled.” And if you check out Shelter Link’s page the Town of Islip’s all volunteer group, you are bound to see a purebred or adorable mixed breed that is waiting for his or her forever home.

Little Shelter in Northport, has a beautiful male Doberman there waiting for a home and many other breeds too like: a Mini Pin; Maltese; Chow Mix; Husky Mix; a Shepherd Mix and more.

The North Fork Animal Welfare League has a Rottweiler, Husky, Jack Russell, Beagle, Daschund and many more.

I can almost guarantee that every pet rescue group on Long Island that takes in all breeds and mixed breeds have a purebred dog or mixed bred that you will want.  And if you have your heart on a specific breed there are many breed rescue groups to choose from too.  So please don’t be dismayed by what you heard someone else say – and assume that is exactly how it is at your local animal shelter. Go to the shelters yourself and go often because the sad truth is that dogs come into the shelters daily.

Click here for a list of many of the shelters and breed rescue groups here on Long Island.

And if you want to learn more on dog ownership and training the next Free class is held on April 11 – you must RSVP for the class – find out all details here.

Fluffy: Photo Credit: Shelter Link

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11 Feb 12

Pre-Westminster Fashion Show! ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

The much anticipated Pre-Westminster Fashion show was a huge hit Friday, February 10, 2012 at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City.  Hundreds of pet celebrities, pet lovers  and lots of paws flocked from all over NYC, surrounding boroughs, New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island, and even from Canada to celebrate the love of dogs.  This is my 3rd time in attendance – and I thought last year was it was crowded with excited dog owners, dogs dressed up and many vendors – but I think this year even more spectacular!  The theme this year was a Venetian Masquerade Pet Fashion Theme by Ada Nieves and there was almost as many dogs wearing masks as people were!

While the fashion show and festivities at Pre-Westminster is a big part of the event – the event is a fundraiser and every year it is for a different animal not-for-profit organization.  This year’s event a portion of the proceeds went to the Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C).  The AC&C has shelter facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and pet receiving centers in Queens and The Bronx.  AC&C is the largest pet welfare organization in the Northeast, caring for nearly 40,000 rescued animals each year.  They have been a non-profit organization since 1995 and is contracted with NYC to manage the City’s municipal shelter system.   Here is Collen a six month old shepherd mix who was totally hamming it up with one of their many volunteers:

This furtastic event is now a well oiled machine and much of that is due to Gregg R. Oehler and his team who coordinate the show.  Gregg R. Oehler is the Chairman of the event and the Publisher of Cesar’s Way Magazine – which is one of the 3 Best in Show sponsors along with Natural Balance Pet Food, Inc. and Petzlife.  The Pre-Westminster Fashion Show is such a great way to kick of the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, and know that you’re helping the animals in the shelter while doing so.  In addition to the many pet vendors at the event, there was also food and drinks, many treats for the pups and let’s just say you need a good amount of muscles to carry out the gift bag they give to all attendees!  My dog Max had his head in the bag checking out all the stuff as soon as I got home.  So mark your calendars for next year, and make a point to get to this show!  You will not be disappointed!
Scroll down to see more pictures!