2009-12-10 / Front Page

Rescue Ink uses star power to aid local animal rescue group

Auction of art by therapy dogs raises $5K for Adopt-A-Pet
BY JANE MEGGITT Staff Writer

They are tough guys with a tender spot for animals. Three stars of the hit cable TV show "Rescue Ink Unleashed" helped the Central Jersey animal rescue organization Adopt-A-Pet raise almost $5,000 on Dec. 5, when they auctioned off artwork created by therapy dogs from the Millstone-based Furry Angels.

Nancy Rossnagel looks at the artwork her rescued dog, Chance, created for the art auction held at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 5 to benefit Millstone's Adopt-A-Pet. MATT DENTON Nancy Rossnagel looks at the artwork her rescued dog, Chance, created for the art auction held at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 5 to benefit Millstone's Adopt-A-Pet. MATT DENTON The event was held at Freehold Raceway, and the first snowstorm of the season couldn't keep 150 people and 22 therapy dogs from attending. Many of the dogs were dressed for the holidays, with festive hats, coats and scarves.

Joe Panz, Angel Nieves and G from "Rescue Ink" auctioned off the art, with the highest bid of $500 going for the piece created by PJ, owned by Susi Jacobs of Howell. Work by two of Rescue Ink's own dogs was up for grabs, including one by Pinz, a long-haired Chihuahua mix with neurological problems that was taken to a New York City shelter for euthanasia. Instead, she has become a mascot for Rescue Ink, and Panz said the guys are always trying to keep Mary Fayet, a longtime rescuer and their "den mother," from putting clothes on her.

Rescue Ink is an animal rescue group "unlike any you've seen before," according to the organization's website. It's "a bunch of tattooed, motorcycle-riding tough guys who have joined together to fight animal cruelty, educate abusers and help resolve situations other rescue groups can't — or won't — handle themselves."

Marybeth Kayne, Milltown, brought Josie, her 3-year-old mixed-breed therapy dog, whom she adopted through Petfinder.com from a shelter in Myrtle Beach, S.C. They regularly visit Saint Peter's University Hospital, New Brunswick, going to nearly every floor, from oncology to pediatrics. Kayne said that she lost some hours from her job in February and was thinking about joining a gym. She and Josie had been taking agility classes in Howell, where she met two women whose dogs were active in Furry Angels. Josie took the training and became certified for therapy, and now Kayne's life "has completely changed. We go to the hospital five times a week."

After leaving her job at 4 p.m., she picks up Josie and they go straight to Saint Peter's. "It's been awesome to give back to the community," Kayne said.

Teddy the Pomeranian was purchased from a pet store by his owners, Jamie and Alex Arango, South River, but as much as they love their adorable pup, that's not something they would advise other people to do. "We fell for the puppy in the window," admitted Jamie, but Teddy came from a puppy mill and wasn't healthy. He had a luxating patella, a collapsing trachea, and intestinal problems, and it cost the couple over $2,000 in veterinary bills to make him well. At 2 years old he must take daily medication for premature arthritis. However, he has been a therapy dog since May and has visited nursing homes and hospitals, as well as libraries, where children read to him.

Lola, a Japanese chin mix, is owned by John Fenton, Middletown. He adopted the 3-year-old dog after seeing an ad on Craigslist. "She's good with people; she loves everybody," he said, and the two often visit nursing homes and libraries. As part of her therapy dog certification, Lola had to be able to ignore treats until her owner told her she was allowed to take them. This is important, Fenton said, because there may be pills and other medications dropped on hospital and nursing home floors.

Jay the Chinese crested, owned by Robin Carney, Millstone, is hairless except for the top of his head and the tip of his tail. Carney has MATT DENTON three other dogs, two of whom are therapy dogs like Jay. Initially, she was supposed to foster him for Adopt-A-Pet but ended up falling in love with and keeping him. Carney, who works at Freehold Raceway with harness racehorses, first saw the Chinese crested breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City, and thought they looked like little ponies. Although Jay is small, nothing scares him, according to Carney. They have gone into the Millstone school district and go to the Frost Elementary School in East Brunswick every month to read with children.

Bart is a 10-year-old Newfoundland who had a hard life before being adopted by Cindy Adelung, Jackson, two years ago. He was formerly used as a stud dog at a puppy mill, and when Adelung first got him, Bart didn't know how to go for walks. It took her about six months to socialize the giant black dog, but he is now a therapy dog and regularly visits residents at Brandywine Nursing Home in Howell and the School for Children in Eatontown, for young people with disabilities.

Adopt-A-Pet co-founder Sharon Gaboff, Millstone, said she would like to thank everyone who came out and showed their support. "I believe that helping the animals is a team effort, and last night was a perfect example of great teams working together," she said.

Carol Araneo-Mayer, Toms River, also a co-founder, said, "We pray that our dogs get homes like each and every one of the dogs tonight have. Those are loved and cherished animals who are being given so much love that they have plenty to share."

She added that as a rescue group, they couldn't ask for anything more than to take a oncehomeless animal and find it a wonderful home.

Nothing is more gratifying than "to have that dog loved and made a part of the family," Araneo-Mayer said, "and then to have his/her owner love that dog enough to want to share their special gifts with other people," she said.

Araneo-Mayer said she is especially grateful to the therapy dog teams who made the fundraiser such a success, adding that Adopt- A-Pet is honored to have placed many of these dogs in their permanent homes and to have them, once again, give back to the community.

Araneo-Mayer said Rescue Ink has agreed to return next year for Adopt-A-Pet's second annual art auction.

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