2006-06-22 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets...

Pets of the Week
by Joanne Anderson

Left, Charlie the Spaniel and White Poodle at right Left, Charlie the Spaniel and White Poodle at right Bulletin: "We interrupt our regularly scheduled local program to bring you "Bobbi & the Strays", not a '50s doo-whop group, instead a vibrant pet rescue organization based in Queens."

Mishap works in mysterious ways. The 4 month continuing search has yet to recover Vivi, the Westminster Whippet lost at JFK, but, in the meantime, the coordinated effort has brought some animal welfare workers closer together. Long Island and NYC rescue, once parallel universes, are now networking more, all because of friendships made trying to save this poor show dog.

Since founding her group in 1998, Bobbi Giordano, a former clothing store proprietor, and now the heart and Energizer Bunny of "Bobbi & the Strays", has taken on a mammoth mission. She, with the help of some wonderful volunteers and foster homes, dedicates all her time to two huge tasks: rescuing owner surrenders, but primarily strays from the city streets and municipal shelters (AC&C) in each of the 5 boroughs and Westchester, and to placing them in loving, forever homes. Bobbi even found room for some Katrina evacuees.

Like other private humane societies, Bobbi's organization promotes low cost spay/neuter - the real stopgap to pet overpopulation. In the last year and a half alone, "Bobbi & the Strays" has helped rehome over 200 cats and 300 dogs. Her statistics are accurately recorded for the Mayor's Alliancethe public/private partnership working with the City of New York toward the day when no NYC dog or cat of reasonable health and temperament is killed, merely because the animal does not have a home.

Bobbi rents space for many of her strays at the Vetport (the animal kennel at the airport) which also became the temporary Vivi headquarters when the Whippet first was lost in February. We toured Bobbi's cages when we came in from the cold for comfortsthe precious hot chocolate and bathrooms available to searchers at JFK. A Babylon Shelter dog trap, with Vivi's owner's scented towel inside, stayed in her hall until it was dispatched to Bay Side.

From Bobbi's volunteers, we learned of many other dogs and cats that had been lost or abandoned near the airport, besides the high profile Vivi. Bobbi tries to help each one, including those discovered because of Vivi... a lost dog stranded on Guy Brewer Blvd. ... the Mama dog caught on video tape at a feeding station set up for the Whippet. Mama was seen moving her pups into a tree trunk.

Actually this column was supposed to be an adoption plea for one of Bobbi's waifsa Dalmatian, thrown over a fence and locked in an abandoned concession at a Woodhaven golf course. The details of his care pre-Bobbi are sketchy, but it seems the Dal stayed there about a year, and survived on some hand-outs from the workers. The dog was emaciated and bald due to a severe skin infection by the time Bobbi learned of his plight and vetted him. Why it took so long to get him help remains our nagging question. The good news is that the Dal didn't need this push since he is now in a loving home in Connecticut. His saga is just one of the endless stream of Bobbi's strays.

"Bobbi & the Strays", like all grassroots humane groups, needs volunteers for rescue, transport, foster care and fundraisers; suppliespet food, blankets, meds; and responsible people to adopt their homeless pets, but "Bobbi & the Strays" will soon be homeless too. The lease on the Vetport will be up in about a year, and the group is looking to purchase property to give their animals a nice place to stay while they are waiting for their permanent homes. They are seeking a building with heat, running water, and electricity that would contain enough room for kennels, a cat room, and a small office. The land has to be zoned for commercial use. Got a building? Call 718845-0779; 917213-9840.

Via Vivi and ties to "Bobbi & the Strays", I've found rescue camaraderie, potential homes, training tips, and even Tellington Touch practitioners for my foster Pointer. The search is not over; perhaps summer will bring a change of luck. Vivi, wherever you are...thank you, and stay safe.

This week "Pets, Pets, Pets" is going to venture a little further from home to feature some of Bobbi's strays. You can see more photos on www.bobbicares. petfinder.org. Some pets are at the Vetport or other animal hospitals; some are in foster care. Call the same phone numbers above or email: bobbicares2@aol.com to learn more about them, or to download an adoption application.

This skinny, young, neglected white mini-Poodle is part of a huge horde that "Bobbi & the Strays" and other organizations took from a "collector" in Brighton Beach. One mini-Poodle gave birth to a litter of 6 chocolate pups at the vet a few days after the raid. Mom and babes are in foster care. "Charlie the Spaniel" is the Mr. Personality of Cockersabout 5 and neutered. Also: "Kate"a purebred Bull Terrier and "Miles"a white Shepherd mix, suffering from the new baby "Lady & the Tramp" syndrome.  C a t s : "Moonpie"a 5 month old B o m b a y ; "Miko"a snowshoe Siamese; "Sinatra"a tuxedo dumped outside a pet food store in the cold. He can belt out "New York, New York" in meows, of course.

Fundraiser for "Bobbi & the Strays"tomorrow, Thurs. 6/22 at 6:30 PM at the Posh Night Club at the Garden City Hotel Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction. Call 516-248-4100 or 516-679-5556 for details.

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