by Sharon Merkel Prudhomme ~
I’m an animal person 100%! My poor mom however, who, although owning a dog (her childhood beloved Barney) and a canary was not into mice, snakes, tadpoles, frogs, salamanders and every sort of large and small bugs. But….her daughter was and mom was a Saint and allowed it all! So after losing my last two “boys” to the ripe old ages of 16 & 17 a couple of years back, there was something clearly missing in our lives. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something was not right. When dear friends needed a dog sitter for a week we jumped at the chance. After years of 100 pound’s plus, a small 10 pounder was something quite new! And we loved it. A recent downsize in domicile made a little canine ideal.
After searching online with the many shelters we found mostly large breeds and many, many pits. Then one day while perusing the dog adoption sites, I stumbled upon a lil’ rag a muffin of a guy named Quincy! Something about this 6 mos. old pup got to me. Once I heard his rough start in life, our minds were made up! On a freezing cold W.Va. December this 8 week old fur ball was found tied to a fence, no food or water with nobody in sight. Lucky for this guy his lucky angel, a woman named Ann spotted him. Not about to let the pup freeze, he went home with Ann to warm up and begin his new journey in life. From a caring foster mom in W.Va., Quincy found his way to the NJ Puppy Rescue located in Holland Township (Milford area), NJ. We drove to the Walmart Plaza, Clinton, NJ where we met Quincy and his foster mom & pop, Chris & Ann at the PetValu. They conduct a meet and greet with their foster puppies. This day there were about 5 little black lab mix looking “kids” all crated looking for love. Our hearts melted with Quincy and he’s now been with us 3 weeks and doing well. Now neutered, tagged and living the life of Riley! So dedicated are the folks involved that we keep Ann in W.Va and Chris & family at NJPR up on Quincy’s adventures & milestones with e-mails and pictures.
The NJ Puppy Rescue started out as a June 2003 drive to W.Va. for Chris and his wife Ann to pick up a puppy they found on Petfinder. What they found was more of a make shift shelter of sheds, crates and tarps. Hardly what one might expect but as much as a local gal could make do with. By keeping in contact this couple began their venture into the “Animal Rescue” world. Soon Chris & a friend took in a pregnant dog, “Ginger” who produced 5-6 pups….and so it began….from helping out a pregnant dog, starting a Petfinder page & flipping a hobby into an incorporated non-profit NJ registered charity!
NJPR is mainly a family affair, run by Chris, his wife and their two sons, Jake & Jesse. The boy’s girlfriends, Jenna & Kayla as well as a close friend Tori all take part in the works. The many tasks include transports, events, daily care, training, socialization, as well as the adoption process. Also involved in the many functions is Virginia Douglas, who is very active with the organization and is also the longest running foster mom. Working with community organizations such as the Girl Scouts helps in supply drives, community service hours as well as getting help at events, transports, crate and vehicle cleaning.
NJ Puppy Rescue is an Animal Welfare Organization or “AWO” which takes in unwanted, abandoned animals from “Kill Shelters” to prevent them from being needlessly euthanized. Although most rescued here are puppies & young dogs, they do take on occasional nursing moms, kittens and special needs dogs. The animals are taken into NJPR and re-homed to screened approved families and folks seeking a new pet. The shelter contacts Chris with lists of the animals available and/or in danger of being euthanized. The Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society (BGWCHS) in Kentucky is the main shelter they support. They’ve developed a tight relationship in the past 13 + years working together. http://www.bgshelterpets.com/ contact: Deana Wehr – 270-842-8572 Often NJPR will help out other shelters when possible. Unwanted puppies left at Vets offices & abandoned houses, “found” by people and sadly…..people surrendering a failed “Christmas, birthday, Valentines gift are taken in by the HUGE hearts at NJPR.
Once committed to taking on animals from shelters, the dogs are transported by BGWCHS in a specifically designed transport truck. The truck is equipped with proper cages, temp. control, food, water, lighting and video monitored. All animals are examined by a vet and cleared with a health certificate prior to transport. Often a transport will make several stops to turn over animals to other “rescue” organizations.
When NJPR takes possession, they are brought to Chris’s home or one of their foster homes and “quarantined” for 2 weeks. This self-imposed hold period allows the pups to settle in offering observation time to check the unstressed personalities, address any medical issues that may arise while starting them on a balanced, consistent diet. Each foster home has a puppy area within the home. The dogs are never shoved in a barn, locked cage or outdoor kennel and get to interact with people and resident animals. By the end of the hold time, the dogs have had their “glamour shots” taken and listed on either the Petfinder page or Adopt a Pet page. When it is determined that the pups are ready to go to a “forever” home, the application process begins.
Every rescue and shelter have many dire needs on any given day! Items such as: Bleach, Laundry detergent, all cleaning supplies, dog food, basic office supplies, vehicle payment, insurances and of course…VET BILLS are the biggest expenses. This organization (as are most) 100% Volunteer-no paid employees. Adoption fees are applied to operating expenses. A side note here: our neutering bill after adoption was just $20 as the NJPR is hooked up with a network of Vets with a low-cost neuter/spay program. After procedure, simply send, email or fax the vet receipt showing proof and Chris will send back $50 of the initial fee! Wonderful!
The “Meet and Greet” sessions at a local PetValu or other local events and pet supply stores are to promote neuter/spaying as well as raising awareness of animal over-population issues. Chris warns, although the internet is a great asset to AWO’s, it is also a detriment. Millions of people are put in touch with countless animals available and make it all look easy. But he advises to do your research. Petfinder, Adopt-A-Pet, etc. are nothing more than a huge electronic bulletin board which is confusing. Is the animal you’re paying for online then shipped to you or is it local? Are you meeting a “rescue” in a parking lot or rest area with a cash only deal? Who knows where the animal is coming from and what health issues come with it? Often frustrating, every “rescue” has their own application. No return emails or calls as well as denials for odd reasons or pups “not available” add to frustrations.
Now that our readers have an understanding of NJ Puppy Rescue, we’d like to highlight a puppy of the month with a short bio and picture.
The pictures here are of our Quincy boy! 100% bundle of love wrapped up in a “Lady and the Tramp look” or as we say, sporting a Phyllis Diller hairdo!