The Last Resort
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                       The Last Resort - In the Media


Close to $2,000 raised for West Milford area animal rescue group

SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

A casting call at Hair of the Dog groomers in Newfoundland is not only putting a Glen Rock canine on the upcoming season of Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog," it has also helped a local rescue group raise its highest amount ever – $1,884 for homeless animals.

Close to 100 families attended a fund-raiser for The Last Resort animal rescue, which also served as a casting call for Animal Planet's 'It's Me or the Dog.'
Close to 100 families attended a fund-raiser for The Last Resort animal rescue, which also served as a casting call for Animal Planet's 'It's Me or the Dog.'

"It was a huge turnout," said Sabrina Joens of the June 12 event for The Last Resort, a non-profit volunteer rescue for homeless, neglected, abandoned, and abused animals. "It was the Last Resort's biggest fund-raiser to date."

The event held outside Joens' grooming shop, Hair of the Dog on Route 23 North, brought roughly 100 animal lovers, if not for the casting call, then for other pet attractions like a dog wash and nail clinic and DNA testing of canines. (DNA testing is used to determine what breed or breeds a dog may be, Joens explained.)

Joens said she chose The Last Resort as beneficiary of the event because of its role in fostering animals from high-kill shelters.

"It's all a huge network of people that are fostering," she said.

Since November 2008, The Last Resort has rescued more than 1,000 animals, including donkeys and horses, from high-kill shelters in several states stretching from Georgia to New York and including New Jersey. Close to 1,000 dogs and cats have been placed in foster and adoptive homes as well.

According to The Last Resort, which survives on donations, the average dog costs about $600 to rescue. Besides donations, the rescue group is also in constant need of drivers to transport rescues as well as households to foster animals until a forever home can be found.

Those interested can fill out a foster or adoption application on The group is also searching for a permanent facility to save more lives. 
To view the article online  click here 

July 7, 2011
West Milford animal rescue group looks to find foster families for holidays
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Suburban Trends

Heading home for the holidays isn't just for humans any more.

Bonnie, a 3-month-old Beagle/Lab mix, is coming from Georgia to find her forever home and needs a foster family to help make that happen.
At 9 months old, Gracie is highly energetic and very sweet. She loves to run and is getting the concept of fetch. She's even house trained.  

A nationwide campaign to empty animal shelters for the Christmas holiday by placing dogs and cats in foster homes is underway, and the Last Resort Rescue, based in West Milford, is one of the more than 13,000 pet-rescue groups reaching out for loving homes.

Lisa Rose, foster coordinator for the Last Resort Rescue, concedes that dogs and cats probably are not aware of the holiday season, but families are, she said.

And this is a time of year, she said, when people are more willing to give.

"I think that people's hearts are warmer for the holidays and they will be more opt to open their doors and hearts for the holidays," she said.

At 9 months old, Gracie is highly energetic and very sweet. She loves to run and is getting the concept of fetch. She's even house trained.
Bonnie, a 3-month-old Beagle/Lab mix, is coming from Alabama to find her forever home and needs a foster family to help make that happen.

Rescue groups are hoping that those who do foster for the holidays won't stop there.

"What happens is people will realize that fostering isn't that difficult and then they will continue to foster," she said.

Fostering a pet could be the ideal solution for those who want a dog or cat but not a long-term commitment to a pet. Perhaps folks are moving in six months. They don't have to miss out on having a pet if they foster for that time period, Rose said.

The Last Resort has six dogs that it would like to place in foster homes for the holidays, along with several puppies. For those interested, she said, the Last Resort will supply a crate, food and other necessities unless folks want to donate what's needed for their foster pet.

A screening of each prospective foster family allows the rescue group to place the pet that is the best match.

"We most especially need people who have no dogs," she said, since making the match is easier without other pets to consider, but other homes will be considered as well.

Through this national effort, called "Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays," the Last Resort Rescue hopes to build up its ranks of foster families, which now extend all the way to Pennsylvania. With more families, the group can rescue more dogs and cats often from kill shelters in the South.

The holidays are the best time, she said, to make the commitment – even a temporary commitment – to a dog or cat because families have more time off from work or school and can spend time with their new pet.

People interested in making this holiday season a happy one for a pet in need or who want more information should contact [email protected] or visit its website at

The Last Resort Rescue has an average population of 50 adoptable dogs and 10 adoptable cats. They can be viewed online at or through

The goal for the "Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays" program is to have pets into a home by noon on Dec. 20.


Animal News


Helping the homeless dogs
The West Milford Messenger 9/17/10

To view an online version of this article, click here

Andrew Malec wanted to do something special for his birthday, but he wasn’t thinking in terms of scoring a new XBox or bike. No, Andrew wanted to help out the homeless dogs in and around West Milford. So, his mom contacted Lisa Rose, a volunteer with The Last Resort Animal Rescue and Sanctuary based in West Milford, to get a list of what the group needed to help with their rescue efforts. Before she knew it, Rose was greeted with a load of goodies for the many dogs the group fosters. “Kudos to Andrew Malec,” said Lisa Rose. For more information on The Last Resort Rescue, go to

News and information at The Animal Rescue Site
Rescue dogs march in parade

To view this article online, click here

The doggone days of summer are almost over, but the sun was shining bright and people were enjoying the weather at the second annual Dogfest, which took place in Hillsdale, New Jersey this past Sunday.

According to, the event, which featured scores of shelter dogs parading in front of onlookers, raised money for animal rescue groups and helped a bunch of canines find a nurturing, permanent home.

"We are celebrating the love people have for their pets and raising awareness for rescue," Julie Ogden, who volunteers for The Last Resort Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in West Milford, told the news outlet.

One of the pups present was Champ, who was taken into a local shelter after being abused. He is now faring well and working as a therapy dog.

"When I had my second heart attack I was home depressed, and they called us to tell us about Champ," Mike Martin, who adopted the beagle, told the news outlet. "When I started taking care of him, my depression started going away."

According to the Humane Society, between six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters in the United States every year.ADNFCR-2796-ID-19933280-ADNFCR


Dogfest showcases dogs looking for a home
Sunday, August 29, 2010 
The Record

HILLSDALE - With their small paws in the air, Kanga and Zandar played Saturday at Beechwood Park unaware of what their fate could have been.

Karen Moore of River Edge preparing for a smooch on Sunday from Icepop, a 12-year-old white pit bull at the annual Dogfest in Hillsdale.
Karen Moore of River Edge preparing for a smooch on Sunday from Icepop, a 12-year-old white pit bull at the annual Dogfest in Hillsdale.

The two brown mixed hounds, which are 3- and 4-months old, were rescued from a kill shelter in West Virginia a few days ago. But on Sunday they were among a dozen dogs who participated in a parade featuring pooches needing to be adopted.

“They were supposed to be killed three days ago,” said Denise McCann, president of Almost Home Dog Rescue of N.J., a non-profit that rescued the dogs and is now providing foster homes for them. “We are looking for permanent homes. They will stay with us, and will be safe, until we place them.”

The parade was among several events geared toward canines at the second annual Dogfest, which brought local rescue groups together to show off their four-legged friends, and raise funds for local animal organizations. The event attended by hundreds, was organized by Open Doors and Amazing Grace Foundation, a non-profit founded by Ruth Tschudin of River Vale.

Jimmy Kennedy, left, and brother Brian of Park Ridge petting Fender, a Weimaraner/shorthaired pointer up for adoption. 
Jimmy Kennedy, left, and brother Brian of Park Ridge petting Fender, a Weimaraner/shorthaired pointer up for adoption.

“This has exceeded our expectations. Every piece of this area of the park is filled with people,” said Tschudin.

Organizers and participants said the main goal of the event was to find foster and permanent homes for rescued dogs and to remind those in attendance that when they begin a search for a pet, shelters and rescue groups are always a good place to start.

“We are celebrating the love people have for their pets and raising awareness for rescue,” said Julie Ogden, who volunteers for The Last Resort Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in West Milford. “People spend so much money on their pets, you can see that here, but people also need to be reminded that there are so many animals that are killed every year.”

“These events bring in all different dogs,’’ Ogden of Westwood added. “And there are a million different stories that can be told.”

Ogden pointed to Storm, a 3-year old Siberian husky, now owned by Greg Boron of Ridgewood. Storm was brought to New Jersey last year after being rescued from a puppy mill in South Carolina, where he was used as the “stud” dog, said Ogden and Boron. Storm arrived with a chewed ear, heart worm, an enlarged heart, and was extremely untrusting, Boron said. After working with the blue-eyed dog for months, Boron said Storm now doesn’t leave his side, is exercising regularly, and is healthy

“He and I are jogging partners,’’ said Boron, who works with abused and neglected dogs. “He is the greatest jogging partner. He just wants to keep going and going.”

Another rescued dog that made an appearance was Champ, a beagle who was horribly burned with acid in Paterson in 2007. The dog was nursed back to health by Mike and Janice Martin, who are now his owners, and currently works as a therapy dog. Mike Martin and Champ make visits to schools and nursing homes.

"When I had my second heart attack I was home depressed, and they called us to tell us about Champ,'' said Mike Martin, who lives in Ocean County. "When I started taking care of him, my depression started going away.”

Icepop was among the most popular attractions at the event. The 12-year-old white pit bull, sporting pink shades and matching outfit, was licking faces for a dollar. The money she raises is being donated to Almost Home Dog Rescue of N.J. Icepop has been licking for dollars for years, and her owner says the pup has probably raised more than $12,000 in that time.

“We did this on a whim many years ago and she made $300, and we thought that we were onto something,” said Cathy Lucianin of Oakland, who adopted the dog when she was 5 months old.

Besides more than a dozen rescue groups, the event drew several local vendors of dog food, gourmet treats and pet accessories, as well as dog-sitting providers. Dogfest was helped by Purina Pro Plan Rally to Rescue, which advocates pet rescue adoption, and donated funds and T-shirts for the event, organizers said.

Dan Blatt of Hillsdale brought his 4-year old son, Brendan, and Sarge, his 1-year old Labradoodle to the park on Sunday. Blatt said the event caught his attention because it was something that could entertain everyone. He picked up a couple of dog sitting business cards for future use, he said. 

Tom Collins and Claire Cox of River Vale stopped at the park to "support the dogs." They said they didn’t have a dog because they are not allowed to have one where they live, but would get one if they could.  

"There are so many beautiful dogs,'' Collins said.







We were the Shelter Spotlight in the Greg Biffle Foundation's August 2010 Newsletter!!!

August 2010
Volume 5, Issue 8

2011 NASCAR Pets Calendar
The new 2011 NASCAR Pets Calendars are here! The Greg Biffle Foundation has produced the widely popular NASCAR Pets Calendar for the past five years which features NASCAR drivers, their families and pets. All proceeds from the sale of these calendars help animal welfare agencies across the United States.

The drivers featured in the 2011 calendar are Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip and Miss Sprint Cup. The calendar also features members of the media including Chocolate Myers, Claire B. Lange, Wendy Venturini, Jimmy Spencer and John Roberts.

Check our website store today and get your 2011 NASCAR Pets Calendar!

Win Biffle’s Golf Cart
Get your $20 raffle ticket today for Greg’s suped-up, custom-made golf cart! This four-passenger 2002 Honda golf cart is one-of-a-kind and features 20 horse power with nitros, custom flame paint job by Formula One Customs, a carbon fiber dash, sparco steering wheel, custom-made seating, chrome wheels and a cover.

Purchase your tickets today at or

Foster Homes Needed
If you are interested in helping the abandoned pets in your area, you should consider being a foster. Shelters across the county are in need of foster volunteers to help care for the animals. If you can offer a safe, loving indoor environment for an animal, contact your local shelter and lend a hand.

Shelter Spotlight – The Last Resort
The Last Resort located in Hewitt, NJ, is dedicated to saving the lives of homeless, neglected, abandoned and abused animals. Their mission is to provide a safe refuge, rehabilitation and permanent home for all the animals they rescue. By working collaboratively and utilizing their combined skills and expertise they have been successively rescuing animals for seventeen years.

Last year, they placed over four hundred animals and hope to increase those numbers this year. They are proactive in educating the community and they offer many outreach programs as well as work closely with schools to raise community awareness of rescue animals.

For more information on this great rescue, please visit them on-line at

Be a Responsible Pet Owner
The Greg Biffle Foundation is a proud supporter of pet adoption and spaying and neutering. Please be a responsible pet owner and help stop the overpopulation of unwanted pets. For more information on spaying and neutering, please visit Spay and neuter your pets! You CAN help make a difference.

Quote of the Month

"When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not amusing herself
with me more than I with her." ~ Montaigne

Our Mission
The Greg Biffle Foundation was founded in 2005 by Greg and Nicole Biffle to create awareness and serve as advocates to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motor sports industry. Financial support for the foundation comes from a variety of sources including individual contributions, NASCAR Pets calendars, and the sale of various racing and other sports memorabilia. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded funding to more than 300 animal welfare groups across the county. For more information on the Greg Biffle Foundation or to make a donation, visit

P.O. Box 4359 • Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-8751 • 704-663-5416 fax[email protected]com




August 22. 2010 From Lehigh Valley Live

Bethlehem resident inspired after adopting dog from Bowling Green, Kentucky

To view this article online click here

The Express-Times

The dog Janice Kulischenko adopted from Bowling Green, Ky., is the best she's ever had.

While the Bethlehem resident isn't positive the dog came from Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, she can't rule it out, either.

After the adoption, she got involved with helping save animals from shelters.

On Saturday, she drove a Saint Bernard from a kill shelter in Hamburg, Pa., to the dog's new home in Bushkill Township. Brandy will live with Jon and Jenny Masel, their three children and their mixed-breed Rhodesian ridgeback named Kobe.

Brandy landed at a shelter in York, Pa., when her family lost its home in foreclosure and could no longer care for her. The Last Resort Rescue arranged the foster and paid all the costs of getting Brandy to her new home.

Kulischenko said her yellow Labrador retriever, Daisy, was nearly euthanized.

"When I think about how close she got to getting put down, I think, 'What a waste,' " she said. "And now she is a therapy dog."

The Last Resort Rescue is holding a dinner and dance fundraiser Sept. 17 at Nancy Run Firehouse in Bethlehem Township, Pa.

Reporter Sara K. Satullo can be reached at 610-867-5000 or [email protected] Talk about issues in your town at




Purina's Rally to Rescue

August 21, 2010 12:44 PM

Purina pro-plan professional dog trainer Melissa Heeter spoke with Steven Fabian backstage at The Early Show on Purina's Rally Across America Tour which advocates for pet rescue adoption. 

The Last Resort is a Rescue Ambassador for Purina Rally to Rescue and one of adopted dogs, Cailee, was filmed during the CBS morning show with her mom Joan!

See the video here!



July 9th, 2010 (From The Alternative Press)


Hundreds of Animals Find Loving Homes at Livingston Mall

Hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens found loving homes when Simon’s Livingston Mall recently hosted the Best Friends Super Pet Adoption event. "Every animal deserves a warm, loving place to call home and we were proud to collaborate with Best Friends Animal Society to make this a reality for these wonderful pets," said Elizabeth DiDuca, area director of marketing & business development for Livingston Mall and Rockaway Townsquare. "The Best Friends Super Pet Adoption event is just another example of how the mall aspires to bring valued and significant events to our surrounding community."

Presented by Best Friends Animal Society, the two-day event was a huge success, with over 300 cats and dogs from approximately 30 Tri-state-area shelters and rescue groups finding permanent homes. Also during the event, families had the opportunity to consult with skilled representatives to learn about the background of each animal and discuss adoption opportunities. Over 7,500 local animal lovers attended the event.

"The Best Friends Super Pet Adoption event found homes for more than 300 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in one weekend," commented Beth Mersten Cruz, NYC programs events specialists for Best Friends Animal Society. "Best Friends Animal Society worked with more than 30 rescue and shelter groups towards our common goal of No More Homeless Pets. The goal of No More Homeless Pets is achievable and everyone can be a part of this movement! Be a hero and save a life by adopting or donating today."

For more information about upcoming adoption events, please visit

Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit, membership organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets. The society’s leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country’s largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the support of a grassroots network of members and community partners across the nation.

Livingston Mall is located at the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and South Orange Avenues in Livingston, New Jersey and managed by Simon Property Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. A two-level, super-regional shopping center, Livingston Mall is anchored by Lord & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s and Sears and has more than 103 specialty stores as well as a new food court. Additional Simon Property Group information is available at 

Photo above: Best Friends Animal Society volunteer Debby Renna gives a warm hug to Thelma, just of the hundreds of dogs that were available for adoption when Livingston Mall recently hosted the Best Friends Super Pet Adoption event.

Photo by Becky Lyn Tegze





June 2009 (From The Connection Magazine - Bridgewater - Somerville)


 June 2010 (From Fayson Lakes Fax)




4/20/10 (From The Harrisburg Examiner)

Dog transporter cited for multiple violations

To see an online version of this article click here
April 20, 1:22 AMHarrisburg Pet Rescue ExaminerJan Gilmer


Successful transports include plenty of water & walk breaks for the dogs.
Successful transports include plenty of water & walk breaks for the dogs.
Jan Gilmer

A major lifeline for many animals is the animal transport and many of the transports travel through the northeast. Unfortunately, not all transports are a successful event for the animals involved. Those transports that usually fall into questionable acts are the paid transporters who tend to over pack their vehicles and spend no time during the transport to provide 'potty and water breaks' for the animals they are moving.

Recently, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement found 17 dogs crammed into a van in Delaware County. The dogs were sitting in dirty conditions inside the panel van. Two dogs were not contained, and the others were jammed into undersized crates with inadequate ventilation. There was no food, water, leashes, bowls or bedding of any kind for any of the dogs.

The transporter, Anne Marie Wessel from Lillington, N.C., was transporting eleven of the dogs to New York and Vermont. The additional dogs had been taken to other locations. Agents from the PSPCA (Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) were contacted by the dog wardens about the transport and they arrived to intercede. Wessel surrendered the dogs to the PSPCA and was cited with five transport conditions violations including failure to have health certificates, which are required for interstate transports, for the dogs. The certificates are required for incoming dogs to protect Pennsylvania dogs from contagious diseases carried by other animals.

Special Deputy Secretary for Dog Law Enforcement, Jessie Smith, admitted that "this was not a typical rescue transport. This was a paid transporter who made no effort to follow Pennsylvania's requirements for humane transport. These dogs were suffering from the conditions they had to endure during this trip." Smith added, "the bureau appreciates the efforts of groups that rescue and find new homes for dogs in a responsible manner. But this enforcement action is about a transporter who violated the Pennsylvania dog law and, more importantly, did nothing to safeguard the dogs under her care."

There is a provision that was added to Pennsylvania's new Dog Law to aid rescues by exempting transfers between rescue network groups from the ban on dog transfers in public places, but because this was a paid transporter the exemption did not apply.

If you would like to find out more information about the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, please visit the PA agriculture website.

If you are living in Pennsylvania and would like to become involved in legal rescue transports to help those animals in need find safe homes, please contact The Last Resort Rescue.




The story of Sampson: The I-40 dog who touched the hearts of many

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April 14, 3:19 PMNashville Dog Rescue ExaminerLauren v.
Samspon observes the world with a renewed faith in humanity. Three legs have not slowed him down.
Samspon observes the world with a renewed faith in humanity. Three legs have not slowed him down.
Kate, Sampson's adopted family

Rescuing dogs isn't just a task left up to animal control. We can all have a hand in helping homeless pets; all you need is a big heart and willingness to volunteer your time, energy, and possibly by opening your home to foster a pet in need. Not every dog can be saved, but there are plenty of rescue miracles happening right here in Nashville. One of those miracles was a dog named Jovi and this is his story.

It was almost evening one chilly, rainy night when a dog-lover named Lisa packed up her car and children to drive from Memphis to the outskirts of Nashville. It was a long trip and barely still light out, but the radio soothed the passengers as they drove past open fields that dotted the drizzled landscape.

Not even two hours had passed however when Lisa spotted a dark blotch in the grassy median. Could it really be a dog? She thought. Out here?? Lisa immediately pulled over to the side of the road and got out to try and coax the little guy over to her car. That's when she noticed the frightened animal was limping.

The basset hound/black lab mix was terrified and tried to run from her at first, but cried out in pain. He turned back and hung his head in dispair instead, willing himself into the hands of a stranger he didn't know; Trusting she might offer relief from his broken leg and pelvis.

Lisa held out her hand and gently caressed the dog who would later be called "Jovi." He was only a few years old and very alone out in the dark rain along Interstate 40. The dog may not have known it then, but his luck was about to change the night he met Lisa. Many dogs are abandoned, killed or injured when on their own outside the city limits and to this day no one knows how the dog ended up out there. Jovi could have easily become a statistic, but instead he was going to survive.

Gently, Lisa lifted the 40-pound ball of fur into the back of her vehicle and he only cried out once to let her know of his sad story. The children took over the rest of the drive, caressing his head and telling him he would be okay.

Lisa quickly made some phone calls, desperately trying to find a rescue that could help the injured I-40 dog and give him the medical help he desperately needed. One phone call led her to the next before Samantha at the Last Resort Rescue  stepped forward.

If you believe in miracles, Jovi's story was one miracle that led to another. Not only did he survive this one night-- and possibly more-- on the roadside, but he was put in Lisa's path, miraculously seen in the darkness and rain, by a woman who couldn't bear to leave him out there alone. The final step to Jovi's miracle was the rescue that agreed to sponser him was not even located in Tennessee, but in New Jersey.

The only catch for Jovi was that he needed a foster home before the rescue could agree to cover his expenses. The truth was that rescuing this dog would be for nothing if his medical needs were met but not his care. He could then end up in a city shelter if no one could temporary watch over the dog during his long recovery.

Jovi was taken to a veterinary clinic and waited while his guadian doggie angels got to work. Thankfully, a temporary foster family agreed to take care of him immediately following his amputation surgery and for the following few weeks until a permanant foster could be arranged. Yes, Jovi would be a three-legged dog but at least he was alive and very much loved by those who stepped in to save him.

Jovi's name was later changed to Sampson. He was adopted on February 5th by a new loving family that has fallen hopelessly in love with him. I recently caught up with them while writing Sampson's story and they shared this update:

"Sampson is a complete joy! To know him is to fall hopelessly in love with him. Everyone is amazed that he gets around so well without a leg. We say, 'Don't tell him he's handicapped!' He has adapted so well and his leg is getting so strong now that he can stand supported on just his back leg. He is learning to sit up and can do it if he puts his front legs on something. I'm sure it's only a matter of time. He also runs very fast. He slows down to let Dale keep up with him when they are chasing deer off the property. Apparently, he doesn't appreciate sharing 64 acres with them.

We wonder every once in a while how he wound up on that highway. I have made up a bunch of scenarios, any one of which could be true. No matter what brought him to us, we couldn't be more grateful. He is very trusting and can't understand why you wouldn't want to scratch his belly when he flops on his back at your feet...

Next weekend, Sampson is going to be a demonstration dog at a Canine Physical Therapy Workshop. I can't wait to see the reaction from the observers to him!"

This special dog had a guardian angel that night on the road. Some cases can never be forgotten and Jovi/Sampson will always be remembered by those who met and supported him during his journey to adoption.

If you are interested in becoming a foster family for a dog in need, please contact Samantha Grieves at [email protected] or Tammy Woods at [email protected]. Homeless dogs are waiting for you and foster care does make a difference.

Don't forget you can subscribe to more articles by clicking the tab above. New stories will be sent directly to your email address.

Sampson enjoying life with his new adopted family.
A special thanks to adopter Kate for sharing these photos.
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3/11/10 (From the Pascack Valley Community Life)

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Scuffy's Pet Store opens window of opportunity for dog rescue group
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Below, Lisa Rose, a volunteer at The Last Resort Animal Rescue in West Milford, shakes hands with Stacey Gelkopf, owner of Scuffy's Pet Store in Wayne, over their new partnership for homeless animals.

Above, although not yet ready for Scuffy's window, here are some additional puppies that owe their lives to The Last Resort Animal Rescue and Sanctuary and will be future candidates for adoption.

WAYNE — Puppies once at the end of their leash of life are now finding themselves in the "window of opportunity" at Scuffy's Pet Store in Wayne in a partnership designed to showcase rescued animals in need of a good home to families who might adopt.

"We get a tremendous amount of traffic here," said Scuffy's owner Stacey Gelkopf, of how she hopes her high-volume store will help make a difference for The Last Resort Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, a West Milford non-profit.

Owner of Scuffy's for almost 25 years, Gelkopf explained that the store recently accomplished a major renovation and decided that a new mission should accompany its new look. That led to the creation of what employees are calling the "window of opportunity" where homeless animals would get a second chance.


On this particular day, three adorable puppies are slumbering in the window of opportunity and don't have to do much to draw onlookers at what is indeed a high traffic area next to the movie theater in the Preakness Shopping Center on Hamburg Turnpike. One white and black pup is soaking up water from a spout but his siblings aren't interested. When fully grown, these dogs of mixed descent will be medium to large in stature.

Scuffy's is not charging anything for the puppies but The Last Resort will ask that families meet adoption criteria, fill out an application (available on line) and then provide an adoption donation of about $300, which covers medical needs like spaying and neutering, according to volunteers.

Lisa Rose, a volunteer with The Last Resort, said that she hopes that the window of opportunity at Scuffy's will start a trend where pet stores will become showcases for homeless dogs.

Gelkopf, the store owner, said that she does not expect to lose financially by donating the window to homeless dogs. In fact, she reasons that those who enhance their families with an adoption from the store are likely to frequent Scuffy's for their pet-care products.

Before deciding on The Last Resort, Gelkopf said that Scuffy's researched different animal welfare agencies to find one that would be the best fit for the store's special window.

She chose The Last Resort because of the unique work that it does rescuing dogs that face unnecessary euthanasia by inhumane methods at kill shelters in southern states like Tennessee and Georgia. Samantha Grieves helps transport the dogs from state to state by assigning drivers, from among her 300 volunteers, about a one and a half hour stretch in the journey. The organization exists entirely on donations and volunteer efforts and recently put out a plea for help in getting over one of its toughest funding hurdles. Several dogs came in with health problems – like heart worm – all at the same time and The Last Resort felt like would have to close its doors.

Even today, funding and volunteer foster homes remain the nonprofit's big needs, but Grieves counted down a variety of ways to help, from baking for a sale to inspecting a foster home to driving to Newark Airport to pick up a new doggie arrival.

Since the rescue operation was launched in July of 2008, Grieves said that it has gone from saving two or three dogs a week to sometimes 10 dogs weekly. A total of 320 dogs have been rescued from kill shelters, since Grieves and Nancy Warner, president of The Last Resort, pulled their resources together to benefit the animals, she said.

The number of foster homes ranges from five to 10 and, "all of our fosters are full right now," so more are urgently needed, she said. To meet growing needs, The Last Resort also rents kennels in the Newfoundland area of West Milford along with kennel space down South where animals must pass a health watch before being transported to New Jersey.

It's hard for these volunteers not to take on more dogs and cats because those connected with The Last Resort are well aware of the many kill shelters in the South and how the methods of destroying the animals are cruel, including electrocution and gas chambers.

Although The Last Resort is proud to have saved over 300 dogs, volunteers realize that many more lives are being lost to the kill shelters.

"The statistics are staggering," Rose said.

Grieves added, "Six to 10 million dogs a year are euthanized in the United States."

Although much of the work The Last Resort performs is with dogs, cats are also among the rescues.

To find out more about The Last Resort and animals awaiting adoption, visit on the Web at


10/2/09 The West Milford Messenger

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The Last Resort heard about a fundraiser benefit dinner raising money for the military dogs.  We wanted to help out so we made a $100 donation.  See the articles below 






The Last Resort had a booth at the Super Pet Expo where they brought Hercules along.  At the time, Hercules only weighed 85 lbs.  This was only about 3 weeks after he had been rescued from his entire 6 year life on a 3ft chain in a junkyard with only a dripping spicket nearby as he only source of water.  How could the journalist pass him up? Such a sweetheart in such bad shape!