BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Revlon, a new Montclair transplant from South Carolina, ran around retrieving balls thrown by Montclair Animal Shelter Director Liz Morgan behind the Montclair Animal Shelter last Friday. The 2-year-old border collie mix looked amazingly adapted to her new home in spite of an 11-hour trip covering 650 miles from her previous home at the Marion County, S.C., animal shelter. She, along with eight other dogs, were rescued and taken in by the Montclair Animal Shelter before Hurricane Dorian hit South Carolina last Thursday and Friday.
The nine dogs — including Revlon; Calvin, a 9-month-old boxer/catahoula mix; Lilly, a 4-year-old shepherd mix; Glenda, a 4-year-old lab; and two shepherd puppies — were transported by van by Carolina Babies Transport last week, driving overnight to the shelter in Montclair.
Although Dorian was kinder than expected to the area along the South Carolina coast that was hard hit last year by Hurricane Florence, Morgan said on Thursday that Montclair had lost contact with the South Carolina shelter. The area did experience some flooding, but was recovering this week.
Before shelter officials could commit space to hurricane victims, they went locally to rescue seven dogs from kill shelters in Newark, Paterson and Bergen County, said Morgan. One was a shepherd, Suki, who gave birth to seven puppies soon after being taken in by Montclair shelter volunteers. Others include Tony, a great dane, doberman mix; Diva, a senior boxer; and two pitbulls, Chowder and Emily.
“Charity starts at home,” said Morgan.
Space is precious at the Montclair shelter, which can only hold a maximum of 24 dogs. But the success of the recent Clear the Shelters initiative Aug. 17-18, in which 13 dogs were adopted for free, meant that the shelter had an unusual open number of open kennels. That allowed officials to welcome in animals evacuated from the path of Dorian.
Not only are shelter officials attempting to adopt out the animals, but they are asking for donations be made to the Friends of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter, the fundraising arm behind the shelter’s good works.
Adoption fees are $160, but each of the South Carolina rescues cost about $285. The licensed transport company charges $125 per crate, while vaccines, vet visits and spaying or neutering can cost another $160. Animals that come from southern shelters are not always spayed or neutered, said Morgan.
“Please come by the shelter and open your heart and home to an evacuee,” Morgan said. “We can then help others if there is an open kennel. If you adopt an evacuee you are saving two lives — the dog at hand, and you create a kennel opening for another flood-zone dog. If you cannot adopt right now monetary donations can be made at fomtasnj.org,” Morgan said.
During storms and natural disasters, a network of shelters sets up through the east coast to help shelters in the path of storms find placements for animals before tragedy strikes.
Morgan said the shelter hopes to help the animals that were not able to evacuate in the Bahamas, where Dorian did the most damage. Although reports this week have the number of dogs that perished at the Grand Bahamas Shelter at 220, Montclair hopes to help with the 100 dogs that somehow made it through the hurricane.
The Montclair Township Animal Shelter, 77 North Willow St., is open daily from 1 to 4 p.m., and 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information, call 973-744-8600.