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BumbUlina waits to go home with her new family. KATE ALBRIGHT/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

By GWEN OREL
orel@montclairlocal.news

They are the best boys. And girls.

The doggos at the Montclair Township Animal Shelter participate in a weekly Facebook roll call with Director Liz Morgan: The shelter at 77 North Willow St. is not yet open for drop-in visits, so she posts a video to the shelter’s page, introducing all the dogs.

That’s where Angelo Fama saw Blondie Sue, a friendly 2-year-old pit bull.

He, partner Elizabeth, and their blended family of seven children visited MTAS this past Sunday. Fama especially wanted a pit bull, having grown up with one, and October is Pit Bull Awareness Month.

October is also the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Adopt-a-Dog Month.

So Morgan steps up the dog pics a little on Facebook to encourage potential adopters to come in. Team members are pictured holding the dogs, who mug for the camera.

There were 10 dogs in the shelter as of Monday. Fourteen were adopted in October.

“The picture did it all when I saw her,” Fama said. Pit bulls are one of the most loyal dogs, and are so good with kids, he said. “If you ever have a pit, you’ll never go back to another one.”

Blondie Sue sat blissfully while all seven children petted her, in the yard behind the shelter. When the family left, Blondie Sue started to follow them.

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Blondie Sue visits with her potential new family. KATE ALBRIGHT/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

The deal was sealed on Monday, and she went to her new home in Spotswood. She’ll have to revisit Montclair a few times to finish treatment for heartworm and to be spayed; the shelter will cover all of the costs.

Adopting a dog costs $160 and includes all shots, being fixed and microchipping. Morgan usually asks adopters to visit a couple of times, especially if there are children, unless she knows the people. 

Katie York, who came this past Sunday with sons Calvin, 8, and Henry, 6, to pick up English bulldog Bumbelina, 4 years old, is someone Morgan knows, as York works in Montclair, as the director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair.

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The family had lost their 13-year-old dog in August. Morgan has matchmaking skills, York said, and the family fell in love with Bumbelina as soon as they met her. 

“There is a special personality that can go with young children,” Morgan said. “We  refer to it in the field as a bomb-proof dog. No matter what is going on around them her temperament is not going to change.”

rly Stedransk, 15, a 9th-grader at MKA, holds Rosie, a fluffy dog. COURTESY DORI STEDRANSK

Morgan also knows Dori Sedransk: She volunteers at the shelter. She had three dogs already when Morgan said that Rosie, a year-and-a-half-old bearded collie mix, would be right for her family. Rosie is very fluffy, Sedransk said with a laugh; her family likes fluffy dogs. The family’s three other dogs are senior citizens, so it’s nice to have a young one in the mix. After just 2½ weeks, Rosie gets along well with the other dogs, as well as her two children, and is so respectful and nice and sweet, Sedransk said.

The Chaffin family of Montclair was on waiting lists at different shelters to get a dog — their two children, Phoebe, 7, and Isaac, 11, wanted one — when they saw a dog in the MTAS roll call on Facebook. The first dog they sought was adopted by someone else, but Morgan matched them with Louie.

The 8-month-old pound boxer mix has sad eyes, said dad Josh Chaffin, but he is a happy dog.

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Phoebe, 7, hugs Louie, her “younger brother.” COURTESY JOSH CHAFFIN

The family has not had a dog before. Louie has changed their lives. He has even brought out a nurturing side in their daughter. At 7, Phoebe is the youngest and treats Louie like a little brother, Josh Chaffin said.

Having Louie has made them sleep better, and given them something to obsess about other than politics, he added, laughing.

Life can be unstructured during the pandemic, or make you feel glued to your screen, said mom Maisie Chaffin. 

“We’re on Louie’s schedule now, and I think that’s been good for us,” she said.

And having a dog has opened up Montclair to them both. “Now, I have a dog-walker’s eye view,” Josh Chaffin said. For the last two years, living in Montclair, he never noticed dog walkers. “Now I notice them everywhere.” 

Angel receives love from Director Liz Morgan. KATE ALBRIGHT/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

“Roll call” from Oct. 15. Blondie Sue is no longer available.