2007-11-21 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

Sadie Sadie Sadie is "Almost Home" now. Discarded by an owner, who just didn't want her any more, this trembling Cattle Dog mix hid in the back of her kennel every time a visitor walked by at a town shelter. For 2 months no one noticed a puppy that didn't "show" well; no one, except for Mara and Linda, from "Almost Home". These skilled rescuers could see Sadie for the sweetie she really is.

Almost Home Animal Rescue and Adoption, Inc. based in Medford may be a new not-for- profit, but the talent and compassion are far from novice. Almost Home was founded by rescue veteran Linda Klampfland dedicated volunteers with many years of shelter experience; many years of doing the toughest, most heart-wrenching work. Most humane organizations are about finding dogs and cats new owners- Almost Home is so much more. This group has a community outreach approach to animal welfare with proactive goals.

Following Linda's lead, Almost Home strives to place unwanted pets, like Sadie, in responsible, loving homes while at the same time, trying to improve the quality of life of dogs and cats in impoverished areas, in hopes that these pets, or their progeny, will never enter the shelter system. All families who seek assistance are treated with respect.

Realistic rescuers realize that not all pets live happily ever after. Almost Home's mission goes beyond the Cinderella stories with Training Wheelsâ122- an intervention, education and outreach that presently services about 110 Wyandanch families, and many more pets, including countless chained Pitbulls. Each month several Almost Home vans make door to door deliveries of quality pet food, medicines, hay and insulated doghouses, plus expert advice on proper care.

Each month Linda and her crew also make gentle suggestions, offering free spay/neuter with pick up and return from their vet- Babylon Animal Hospital. The program is non-judgmental. It takes time to convince clients that neutering pets is in everyone's best interest. All enrolled in the program have Linda's cell so they can ask for help at any time.

Although I've tagged along before while Linda, a RN, made her Training Wheelsâ122 stops (Beacon archives 11/2/06), last weekend's run was particularly bittersweet. She presses on despite upsetting news- a Poodle perished mysteriously; a Min Pin in prolonged labor and her pups have died too. If only, the owners had called- she would have taken custody or gotten the dogs care. Linda and Mara dropped off jumbo bags of kibble at a house where Almost Home has altered all 5 dogs; stopped to give a cat a shot; later went to check on McQueen, a Beagle mix overjoyed to see them. Linda inspects him for fleas while hopefully persuading his owner that tying the pup out front is not safe and will not provide enough exercise.

Almost Home does not have a shelter. The group relies on precious foster homes. Their adoptable dogs come from a variety of sources. Corey a pregnant Pit at a LI town shelter needed isolation because

of upper respiratory illness. She gave birth to 9 puppies 2 days later at Linda's house during her daughters' double birthday party. Some dogs, like Toby, a Pom mix pup suffering from a suspected autoimmune problem, come from overcrowded shelters

down South with high

euthanasia rates. Gizmo a purebred Peke was surrendered by a moving Training Wheelsâ122 family, while Roxy, another Pit, was brought to their vet to be put down because of a skin condition. Instead the doctor is boarding her to pinpoint the allergens so once under control; Almost Home can place this docile dog.

There are many ways that pet lovers can help Almost Hope continue their valuable work. Foster and permanent homes are always in short supply. Right now Almost Home (631-627-3665) needs donations of leashes, collars, toys, rawhides, treats, and used doghouses/Igloos for Training Wheelsâ122. Please visit their website-www.almosthomeli.org or the Petfinder site at zip code- 11763- to learn about ways to sponsor dog or cats for adoption, spaying or a Training Wheelsâ122.

Earlier this month Sadie was my "Pets, Pets" poster dog. Little did I know when I suggested Mara Harvey of Almost Home walk Sadie at Babylon Shelter, that she too would fall for the shy pup or that she'd contact Linda who recognized Sadie as a former Training Wheelsâ122 dog. Sadie is as happy as can be as Linda's foster - playing with kids, dogs, and cats. Yes, she's comfy, loved and "Almost Home". Her forever home is on the horizon.

It's Thanksgiving. These deserving pet waifs at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677- 5784) Miller Pl. Syosset would soon like to be grateful for a loving home. Trust me. No dog ever forgets the person who takes him out of the pound. Cats may be a bit better at masking their emotion. "Jezebel" #972 is a loving tan Shepherd stray with exotic eyes while "Pumpkin" #917 is a friendly calico tabby who likes other cats. There are many tiny kittens and several declawed adult cats at the shelter too.

  • More Dogs: "Odie"-#1028- handsome 1 year Foxhound mix; "Isis" #982- gorgeous German Shepherd who needs a breed experienced owner; "Bonnie" # #1030- Pointer/Cattle Dog; "Snoop" #1034- a Jack Russell Terrier.
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