Coming Home Rescue in Rockaway, NJ, is celebrating its third birthday and volunteer, Jennifer S., has been there since the beginning.
When she began volunteering for the dog rescue organization, she processed applications and helped at the adoption events including transport dogs to and from the locations.
“Currently, I intake and release the dogs from all the Internet sites we use (our website, Petfinder, Adopt a Pet), process applications, and have been busy assisting with fundraising,” Jennifer said. “This year alone I had a big part in the Calendar Raffle as well as the Pub Crawl. I also submit a picture and bio of a dog each week to local newspapers and press releases as needed.”
Jennifer said the amount of time she puts into volunteering depends upon the needs of the group but noted that Coming Home Rescue “understands that you can only do what you can do and never pushes you to do more than you can handle.”
She considers her volunteer efforts as a bit of “me” time, escaping her everyday life to help others. “Everyone needs a little “me” time, I just share my “me” time with helpless dogs who need a little love and attention.”
Jennifer finds the whole experience very rewarding when the organization transforms a sick, scared or older dog that was going to be put sleep back to good health and then adopts them out to a family that adores them.
Although there have been many moments that have impacted her while volunteering for the group, there are two that have stood out.
“We saved one dog named Bones. He was in terrible shape as there was no meat to him at all and he needed surgery, which was not cheap. Most shelters or rescues just looked right over him. He was sick, a pit, and they had no need for him. We on the other hand saw more to him. We were able to get him the proper health care, give him attention and show him what love was all about. He was adopted by a wonderful family who thinks the world of him.”
Coming Home Rescue also saved a handicapped pup named Maddie who was slated for euthanasia because of her disability. She, too, was adopted and comes back often to visit the volunteers.
“Volunteering is not what most people think. Many think that it is so sad to see the dogs, and that if they volunteered, they would have to adopt all the dogs so they choose to stay away,” Jennifer said. “That’s not the case. It is a happy experience all the way around. There are many aspects of volunteering whether it be, pulling the dogs from euthanasia, vetting them, walking, brushing, driving them to events, training, fostering, listing information about them on websites, processing applications, publicizing, fundraising and so much more. What people need to know is it is because of the things that you are doing that help save the dogs and get them the home that they deserve.”
Jennifer’s furry family members include a 6-year-old female Lab/Golden retriever mix named Bella and a three-year-old Spaniel/Lab mix named Freckles who her family adopted from Coming Home Rescue in February 2011. “I look at Freckles all the time and think to myself, how could anyone want to give you up? If it was not for Coming Home Rescue, she may not be alive today!”
Some of her family members have followed her example with an aunt adopting a senior Bichon Frisé and a cousin adopting a Pit Bull mix.
And at the end of the day, it’s the closeness of the rescue group that Jennifer loves best.
“The volunteers at Coming Home Rescue all share a common mission–to help homeless dogs in shelters throughout NJ. Many rescues help save dogs in the south, but I want to do something for my community and my state, and this is it. In addition, the volunteers at Coming Home are amazing. I do not just consider them people that I volunteer with. They are more like family to me.”