Your New Best Friend Awaits

If you can believe it, I did not grow up with dogs. (For the record, it was my dear old dad who couldn’t handle the hair and slobber, despite the fact that every dog he came in contact with immediately cleaved itself to his side … and pant leg.) I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine considering the way I go on about my beloved chocolate Labrador, Seamus, who remains my baby despite the fact that he is technically 70 years old (in dog years, of course) and I now actually have a human child who is 14 months and legitimately a baby.

I can thank my husband for propagating my love of pooches: While we were dating, we decided to get the aforementioned darling dog. The minute I was handed our tail-wagger (who was a mere four weeks old at the time and literally fit in the palms of my hands), I was a goner. Now, no dog bed is too elaborate, no dog toy too ridiculous, no food too expensive for my brown boy. And since that day, I have become a full-on sucker for canines of all shapes and sizes: Whether bulldog or Bernese, Labrador or Lhasa Apso, Mastiff or Maltese, I will stop any and every dog owner on the sidewalk just so I can pet their fuzzy charges. (Yes, I am aware this behavior borders on totally creepy.)

Because of my all-encompassing doggie devotion, I am predisposed to feeling heart-wrenching sympathy for those pooches who are sans homes and so have recently become a big fan of the Animal Alliance of New Jersey, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing dogs and puppies, cats and kittens from overcrowded, overburdened animal shelters and animal control holding facilities, and placing them into the safety of its foster care network. Run by a nearly all-volunteer staff, AANJ’s foster care program includes a kennel which houses up to 40 foster dogs and a network of private homes where some foster animals reside until adoption. They also run the Planned Pethood low-cost vet clinic in Lambertville, which is the only one of its kind in the Mercer-Hunterdon county area.

Most recently, however, AANJ went all “A Team” and rescued 13 Chihuahua puppies from a hoarder in Philadelphia. If you’re ooh-ing and aah-ing over the picture at the top of the post, there are three pups from this litter still in need of adoption and they’ve got your name written all over them (well, not literally, because that would be wrong, but you know what I’m saying). If you’re interested in making one of them your own, visit animalalliance.org for the full scoop. You also can keep tabs on all of the great work AANJ is doing on Facebook or by reading their blog.

However, if Chihuahuas aren’t your particular brand of bow-wow, then take note: This Saturday, September 11, AANJ is having an adoption day at the Montgomery County Pound (on Route 206 in Belle Mead) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. But if you just can’t commit to bringing home a new best pal, never fear because you can still tap into your animal-loving nature as AANJ is always in need of volunteers (click here for the application form), too. Taking a dog for a walk has never felt so good. Animal Alliance, P.O. Box 1285, Belle Mead; 609.818.1952 or animalalliancenj.org.

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of Princeton Scoop online and a freelance writer who has worked for several magazines, including Vanity Fair, Talk, W, and New Jersey Life. She lives in Princeton with her husband, daughter, and chocolate Labrador. She welcomes any inside scoop on what to do and see in the area. E-mail her at jennifer@princetonscoop.com.


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