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Save A Dog's First New York Rescue

By Shirley Moore


On March 6, Sue Guy and Jayne MacRae from Buddy Dog joined David Bernier and Shirley Moore from on a mission of mercy to rescue some needy dogs from the Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC), an overcrowded animal shelter in Manhattan. We don't usually go looking for dogs. In fact, our shelter was near capacity when we left to pick up a few dogs we had heard would otherwise be put down. Equipped with new two-way radios, we took two cars and left at 5 AM to get there in time to avoid an impending snow storm.

We arrived in Manhattan early and over breakfast decided that we would look at the needy dogs and then come to a consensus as to which ones we could take. Not long after we got back, Nicki, the shelter's rescue coordinator, showed up and took us on a tour of the shelter. The first room we came to was the adoption room where we saw many cute puppies and kittens. We could have taken any one of them with the full assurance that they would be quickly adopted from our shelter. I spotted a puppy that seemed a good match for a family who I knew was waiting the right dog and Nicki put him on hold for us.

cacc-charlie We quickly lost track of how many dogs we'd signed up for, and a few minutes quickly turned into an hour -- and a winter storm was upon us. It began to rain. So, rushing around, matching dogs to crates and then reshuffling again and again as we added more dogs that we couldn't bear to leave behind, we loaded up the cars. We had a few panic-stricken moments as we ran out of crates while there were still more dogs to load, until Nicki came up with extra crates and a carton for the kitten.

As we headed back inside to finish up the paperwork, I noticed another puppy peering over a baby gate inside the office -- it was the puppy I'd promised the family back in Boston. No more crates, no room! I looked at Nicki, then at Sue (who already had a dog tucked under her arm) and said, "It's okay, I'll just hold him in my lap."

Then she took us down the hall to view the animals that were scheduled to be euthanized. Again, we saw many cute puppies, cats, and kittens. One little kitten had just developed an upper respiratory infection so he was going to be put down that evening -- for a condition we all knew to be very treatable. Nicki gave him a loving stroke as she explained that there was simply no room to keep animals quarantined for very long. We looked at each other and in unison said, "We'll take him!" Another little black dog (pictured on left) was considered unadoptable because he was timid. Again, we quickly agreed, "We'll take this one!"

And then another little brown dog, cute as a button, was supposed to be put down because he was there too long and there was just no room. I think it was at this point that we started to fan out and things got a little out of control. ;-)

Operation Dog Rescue, vehicle 1
When we finished the paperwork, we had thirteen dogs and two cats. Nicki thanked us and said that this was one of the most successful rescues they'd ever had. We walked out with the last few dogs and everyone of us was beaming from ear to ear, understanding that we would foster the dogs that our shelter couldn't take. We didn't leave a minute too soon as the wind picked up and it started to snow. Dave navigated us back on the highway and then it wasn't too long before the barking and whining quieted down a bit and we were on our way back to Massachusetts, using the walkie-talkies to compare notes about the dogs and to tease each other about who got the loudest animals. Sue and Jayne joked about trading the kitten for one of our dogs until we offered them our howling beagle. We all shared our admiration for Nicki, who often crams up to eight dogs at a time in the back of her hatchback so that she can adopt them out to friends and rescue groups and spare them from a horrible fate. She told us there wasn't a spare nook or cranny in her tiny apt. that didn't house an animal of some sort.

This beautiful yellow Lab rescued from CACC was already receiving many inquiries from interested families within a day of his arrival!
As we neared the Massachusetts Turnpike it was really coming down and I got a call on my cell phone. Thinking it was my daughter, I picked it up quickly. Ooops, it was Bob from Buddy Dog wondering why we hadn't called and how many dogs did we have. Oh, and by the way, it was a slow day for adoptions, he said, so he only had two kennels available. I mumbled something about a few labs and some puppies. He breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Well, that's no so bad." Then I told him I hadn't counted the dogs in Jayne's car and recommended that he should go home and not get caught in the storm. We could handle it, HAHA. It was at that point I think I started praying for a miracle.

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