Long Island’s animal rescues, shelters, and volunteers often work around the clock to keep animals safe. As 2021 comes to an end, we’re recapping some of the best rescue stories as told by the heroes who dedicate themselves to saving our furry friends.
Our first story begins with a 14-year-old poodle named Jack. His owner recently died and Jack was brought to Twin Animal Hospital in Bay Shore to be euthanized due to his old age. A vet tech immediately called Bonnie Rosen of Melville to assist. As a veteran rescuer, Bonnie used her networking abilities to find an amazing family who already had a 15-year-old poodle at home. Bonnie made arrangements for Jack to be introduced to what would turn out to be his new forever family, “and within just one week, Jack was enjoying his beautiful new home and loving his new forever family,” says Rosen.
When Marge Golding of Dix Hills received a call through the Tender Loving Cats hotline for help spaying/neutering a colony of stray cats and kittens, she knew just what to do. “Together with the feeders we developed a trapping plan to neuter the adults. They described their regular feeding regimen and agreed to withhold food so the cats would be hungry enough to go into traps,” says Golding. Traps were set and vet appointments were secured. Golding had trouble hiding from the cats, but the feeders were trusted humans, so they offered to operate the drop trap in her place. Success! Nine cats from the colony were neutered and treated for noted medical issues. The kittens were fully vetted and are now awaiting their forever homes. “The moral of this story: The feeders were cooperative, and we worked together. If you need rescue help, be prepared to be part of the solution,” says Golding.
For local rescuer John Debacker, a day doesn’t go by when he doesn’t help an animal in distress. From a raccoon with a jar stuck on its head to a runaway cat at JFK airport, Debacker has rescued them all. When recapping 2021, Debacker describes his most intense rescue as the one that involved a cat trapped by a sewer in the middle of the Grand Central Parkway. “We had to shut down a major highway, which required cooperation from the police,” says Debacker. Upon initial assessment, the cat was emaciated and rushed to an emergency hospital where, sadly, it lived out its final days. But had it not been for the extraordinary work of volunteers and law enforcement, this kitty’s story would have had a vastly different ending.
Anyone can have a rescue story of their own. You can be a hero by remembering to always adopt and never shop. If you can’t open your home to a pet, consider donating to your local shelter or rescue, which typically has online wish lists. Perhaps better yet, volunteer your time to help care for the furry creatures that need us the most.