Island goes to the dogs — and cats

EBETH LONES PHOTO
Waiting for adoption at last Saturday’s ARF’s Adoption Event. It didn’t take long.

Parked in front of the Shelter Island Police Department headquarters this past Saturday, two Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) mobile adoption units opened their doors at 11 a.m.

Kat Montgomery, an ARF staffer, said there was a newly married couple from Shirley who had waited in their car for two hours for those doors to open.

“They patiently ate breakfast in their car and were the first in line,” Ms. Montgomery said.

The couple adopted three-month-old litter mates Popsicle and Wave, and this was just the beginning of a busy adoption day for the popular litter of adorable catahoula hound/lab/boxer mix puppies.

ARF staffers had hoped to find “forever friends” for the animals they brought to Shelter Island during their “TAILgating Cat and Dog Adoption Event,” and their hopes were realized.

The event was planned during a busy end-of-summer weekend, when many people are on the Island to visit the annual Chamber of Commerce Art Show & Craft Fair at the Shelter Island School and the Green Expo at the American Legion post.

Shortly after the first adoption of the day, Paola and Tom Kusner of Cresskill, N.J., adopted the third litter mate, Slushie. The Kusners spend time on the Island in the summer, and their visit to the ARF event was a family affair. They lost their beloved dog suddenly last year and went to the event with nieces, nephews and other family members.

The whole family quickly fell in love when they met Slushie and encouraged the Kusners to adopt her. And not to worry, the last litter mate, Happy, only had to wait a few more hours to find her new family.

For those who were ready to adopt, people filled out an application, had a conversation about housebreaking and “the chosen pet’s needs, the family’s needs, and we require a meet and greet if there are other pets in the home,” said ARF Executive Director Scott Howe. “Adoption can be done at our shelter in East Hampton seven days a week, and the adoption process can be completed on-site during one of these events. People fall in love with what they see, and we then have a conversation about what we have and proceed to find the right size, age and pet to fit their lifestyles.”

Lenore Berner fell in love with Blue, a 2-year-old cat, and was waiting to hear back from her husband before moving forward with the adoption. The couple has a 6-year-old cat at home in New York City and would like to have another to keep it company.

Ms. Berner, a self-described “cat person,” said their first cat “bonded with my husband and now I need one for myself. I want a cat who will be affectionate and one with personality,” two qualities that drew her to Blue.

Island residents saw a few familiar faces at the event, with Shelter Island’s Jan Brewer, Nancy Butts, and Jenny Zahler volunteering during the event. And while not all visitors were quite ready to adopt, many people stopped by the ARF event with their families and young children to get a puppy or kitten fix with petting, kissing or lots of tail wagging.

ARF was founded in 1974 in East Hampton as a result of the overwhelming stray cat and dog problem. According to their website, “ARF has saved over 29,000 cats and dogs.”

They are a “no-kill” adoption center who care for animals regardless of how long it takes to find a home, except in extraordinary circumstances, such as incurable illness or severe and dangerous behavioral problems.

Approximately 500 to 700 pets are adopted annually from the East Hampton location, according to Bridget Stonemetz, one of the adoption coordinators at ARF.

Seven dogs and one kitten were adopted during the four-hour TAILgating event on Shelter Island this year. Ms. Stonemetz said there was a good turnout on Saturday and the pet adoptions are a “great result for an event like this.”

For more information about potential pet adoption or volunteer opportunities, visit arfhamptons.org or call ARF at 631-537-0400.

EBETH LONES PHOTO
Happy, the puppy, about to find a good home.

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