GREENBURGH, N.Y. – When the 18-wheeler truck turned the corner onto Pets Alive Westchester's property, the crowd of staff and volunteers laughed, smiled, whistled and cheered. Fifty-three dogs had traveled a 31-hour journey from Arkansas to arrive at the Greenburgh animal shelter.
Pets Alive Westchester (PAW), a no-kill shelter, was the recipient of an 88-dog mass rescue from Pope County, Ark. "JP Ranch and Rescue," the no-kill sanctuary that formerly housed the dogs, began rescuing after a 2007 tornado. However, recently, one of the owners was diagnosed with cancer and the ranch was forced to close.
"They did their best, but now they just can't go on any longer," said Marcy Rydd, PAW's community relations officer.
Since PAW is a large facility, they were able to house the additional animals. While 53 dogs traveled to New York this week, another 35 will join in the coming month. This brings PAW's dog count to approximately 350, alongside 200 cats and a handful of rabbits.
"We have the space and we're lucky for that," Rydd said, explaining that smaller locations can normally only accept two of three dogs at a time.
The ranch owner's medical issues hit home for PAW employees. Some years ago, Pets Alive's executive director was diagnosed with cancer. While she recovered, she implored the company to pay it forward as an internationall-recognized no-kill animal shelter.
"We know this is what we want to do," said Rydd. "We want to be able to step up again the next time there is a need for a mass rescue. Our future plan is to be able to serve the local community and nation when it affects mass numbers."
The newly-acquired dogs are all under 7-years-old, although many look younger because they are in great shape, said Rydd. The dogs were transferred from a clean no-kill shelter to another, and will remain at PAW until they find homes.
"The dogs are very, very happy," Rydd said. "Our responsibility is to get them, take care of them and get them to a home. We hope that they can get a home quickly and I'm sure they will."
The new dogs, along with the other PAW animals, are currently available for adoption at the Greenburgh location at 100 Warehouse Lane.