(Updated) Pup Abandoned at Park Finds Home

choco.jpg(Adds details) A reader sent this story in, after she had come across a young dog abandoned in a park (she wrote in the third person) and had hoped to find him a home. She emailed Baristanet this morning to say that a West Milford couple, who had heard of his plight and whose own former-rescue dog died recently, had confirmed they would adopt the dog.

One frosty December morning, while out for a walk in Watsessing Park in Bloomfield, Montclair resident Linda Federico-O’Murchu came upon an abandoned 9-10 month old puppy, tied to a chain-link fence. Despite being cold, hungry and frightened, the pup greeted her with joy, as if they were long-lost friends.
Linda called the animal control authorities and, while waiting for them to arrive, ran to a deli to get him food and water. He carried his bowl over, the food still in it, to be next to her while he ate.
The police arrived and brought the pup to a shelter in Newark. Upon discovering their policy of giving stray animals only a week before euthanizing them, Linda reached out to animal activists, Sandy Reynolds and Beth Mersten of Shelter Showcase. The shelter arranged for Linda to pick the puppy up and Sandy put her in touch with a Montclair resident named Toni LeQuire-Schott, who offered to foster the pup.

Almost as soon as Toni got him, however, the puppy got sick with a medley of ailments including mange, but with Toni’s care and medical treatment, he’s now a healthy, comical, rambunctious pup, whom Toni named Choco.
If you would like to adopt this affectionate, energetic dog or make a tax-deductible donation to help with his vet bills (Toni has spent nearly $2,000 for his medical expenses), please contact Beth Mersten on 973.812.7297 at Shelter Showcase. All donations for Choco will be set aside for his care.
Thank you in advance for your kind generosity and have a wonderful New Year!

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. OMG! This looks exactly like a younger version of my Kelly! Ooooh, I would adopt in a heartbeat but we have our hands full with our senior pup. If I keep looking at that photo though….:-(

  2. It still never ceases to surprise me that humans are capable of such cruelty. Thanks to those who are helping.

  3. I agree, JG. Why take on the responsibility of a pet if you cannot handle it? I you can’t handle it, it’s your responsibility to find someone who can, not just abandon it. I am hopeful this cute little guy will find a loving home soon.

  4. Is it a chocolate lab? It looks like one or it could be one of those smaller breeds. My landlord would never let me take in a lab but smaller breeds seems to be okay with them.

  5. The ethical and socially acceptable thing to do with any unwanted “responsibility”, which cannot take care of itself, is to exercise one’s right of privacy and choose to go down to a clinic and have it terminated.

  6. well that one we know is fake. Walleroo, to my knowledge, has never ever expressed moral indignation here.

  7. For a person who is so vehemently anti-abortion, ROC, you don’t mince thoughts when it comes to our animal companions. Remember, one person’s burden or inconvenience is another person’s joy. I would not have my dog today if someone thought the same as you do.

  8. Walleroo is being “smart,” posting off-topic and, worst of all, being cheeky. These are all major violations of the new comments policy. (And in the future, only Debbie will ever be allowed to be cheeky, however wanly.)
    I await with relish walleroo’s punishment.
    I know you were going for irony (and your comparison was valid, although it’s been made before), ROC, but I too understand going to any lengths for a pet one loves. At some point they become full-fledged family members. Far better loved than, say, mothers-in-law.

  9. I just shared this notice on Facebook as I have a lot of dog lover friends.
    In other news:
    Walleroo: Thank you, Sir, may I have another?

  10. Watsessing park is a notorious ‘drop-off’ place for unwanted pets. My neighbor, a dog lover and rescuer, has told me of a few other dogs that were tied up at this park and left.
    I am pretty sure that a couple of my cats were abandoned there.
    I saw a stray dog wandering through the park a couple of days ago and in spite of my new policy of not interfering with these animals, I found myself at the fence trying to get his attention. He studiously ingnored me, finding whatever he was sniffing on the ground, infinitely more interesting than the dolt at the fence. I scanned the park for an owner.. nothing there. He continued his journey and I wished him well, hoping that perhaps he was one of those animals whose owners let them roam at will and would be returning home later to a warm bed and full bowl.
    It’s so very good to hear that this dog will have a loving home and family. He is one of the lucky ones.

  11. [comment deleted because poster couldn’t move his lips fast enough to read the entire thread beforehand]

  12. “Watsessing park is a notorious ‘drop-off’ place for unwanted pets”
    Interesting. Perhaps the fence is a sort of “baby hatch” for unwanted pets. So perhaps the act of leaving him there wasn’t so cruel after all jerseygurl.

  13. As a PAWS volunteer for many years, I sadly learned how callous people can be with regard to their pets. I recall one guy who brought in an 18-year-old cat to be euthanized simply because “he didn’t want it any more.” The cat was in good health.
    My PAWS experience, sadly, made me see the derogatory side of human nature. Stories like Choco’s help to restore my faith in my fellow human beings.

  14. He brought a cat to PAWS (a ‘no kill’ facility) to have it put down?
    An 18 year old cat was in good health?

  15. p.s.
    Could an 18 year old cat get adopted? Should he have let it go on the street to fin for itself?

  16. CHOCO IS ADOPTED! We are happy to announce that Choco has found a loving home and is now known to the world and his loving family as “Opie”! We still need DONATIONS to help cover his medical bills and other needy animals like him … please donate at http://www.sheltershowcase.com
    Message from his adopters:
    “On the evening of Wednesday, December 30th we welcomed Opie into his new home in West Milford, NJ. He immediately sniffed around the house checking every corner and crevice. He was anxious and curious about his new surroundings, but we played with him for several hours and he warmed up quickly. Surprisingly, he slept peacefully through his first night. The next morning he jumped on the bed licking our faces as if to show us that he was satisfied with his new home and family. We have a nice back yard for Opie to run and a lake where we can take nature walks together. We recently lost our 14yr old pit Misty who strangely enough looks much like Opie. It has been a blessing to have Opie as a part of our family and we are most grateful for all of the caring and selfless hands that helped save his life. We look forward to many loving years with Opie.” -Ann Marie and John

  17. Dec 30th?
    So it wasn’t so much of an “update” as a non-story.
    (oh, is that prohibited to point out?)

  18. PAWS was not an official no-kill facility; the volunteers worked hard to find homes for the animals so the euthanasia rate was very low. Dogs wqere occasionally euthanized if they were too vicious to be safely adpoted.

  19. Story Correction: Shelter Showcase was not directly involved in saving Michael Vick dogs. Rather, one of founding Board members of Shelter Showcase works for Best Friends Animal Society (www.bestfriends.org) which is the organization that rescued and rehabilitated many of the Michael Vick dogs, who are now known affectionately as the “Victory” dogs.

  20. SO very glad to hear this pup found a home! It sounds as if the people who fostered and then those who adopted him are real animal lovers, and he is going to have a very happy life.
    Mrs. Martta, from the picture, I would guess that Choco (or Opie as he’s now called) is a pit bull or pit bull mix as he looks exactly like our Diva! He may have some lab in him, though, as it is a pretty common combination.

  21. I love stories like these. I’m a huge dog, cat and rabbit lover and I’m glad this pup found a home. I’m also going to start taking walks thru Watessing – be warned landlord – to keep an eye out for strays during this cold spell.

  22. “Heads up”
    So since Toni is a volunteer and not herself a tax exempt organization how is the donation thing supposed to work?
    Tax exempt organizations aren’t allowed to “pay back” someone else’s expenses, only their own.
    And “All donations for Choco will be set aside for his care.” So a check will go out to his new family?

  23. Tax exempt organizations aren’t allowed to “pay back” someone else’s expenses, only their own.
    I’m not sure that’s the case, unless I’m misunderstanding your point. Are you suggesting that a tax exempt organization can’t reimburse volunteers for expenses? or something else?

  24. If it’s over $600. Yes that’s exactly what I am saying.
    If The TE organization writes Toni a check for $2000, then they have to report that to the IRS on a 1099 as income for Toni. If Toni is in the “business” of animal care, she could expense it out. But other wise she’d have to pay income tax on it.
    If it weren’t so, then tax exempt organizations would be an effective money laundering / tax evasion loop hole.

  25. Wow, the local abandoned dog gets 38 comments, the overseas human rights story gets 3. A very deep group here.

  26. You apparently don’t know much about the Web and human nature, Lafalot. At any rate, feel free to go over to the human rights thread and put up a post. We await your deep, meaningful statement.

  27. huh? Sure I did. They can’t “pay someone’s else’s expenses” they can hire them for services (ie. the Tax Exempt Organization’s own expenses).
    They would be breaking the law if they paid her $2000 and did not file a 1099.

  28. Tax exempt organizations aren’t allowed to “pay back” someone else’s expenses, only their own.
    That statement is an absolute – I don’t see anything about a dollar limit in there. My ex-boss had an interesting saying that he repeated often, usually when someone was worming.
    “Say what you mean, mean what you say”
    On the human rights thing, I dunno – puppies are catchy. Also, there’s no such place as Burma (head’s up?).

  29. Whatever Rob. That’s what I was talking about. Perhaps I can be forgiven for not going into the gory tax details in the initial post since it’s rather dull.
    And here’s some more detail. Technically even if it’s one dollar Toni is required by law to report it as income. The $600 threshold is the point at which the payer of the funds is required to report it. In all cases any monies paid to Toni are income to Toni and not ‘repaid expenses’.
    Clear enough?
    It seems more like that you’re more interested in “catching me out” at something rather than “Bring[ing] something new.” which (as we all now know) is the new law of the “land”.

  30. Seems to me we dont have enough funds or support for wounded veterans, but the hand always comes out for pets.
    This article has all the writing on the wall, “we are looking for donations”

  31. p.s.
    It would also turn on what is considered an “ordinary and customary business expense” which I don’t think vet bills would qualify.

  32. Hey, I’ve had exorbitant expenses for my cats recently. Please open your wallets quickly and send all donations to:
    The Nellie Fund
    c/o The Baristas
    Contributions to this fund will exempt you from all the rules in the Comment Policy.

  33. It seems more like that you’re more interested in “catching me out” at something rather than “Bring[ing] something new.” which (as we all now know) is the new law of the “land”.
    Not at all, in fact I was living by those laws. Remember – clarity counts.

  34. Exactly Nellie.
    Unfortunatly our 16yo cat needs about 2k worth of diagnostic testing to tell me he is old, has heart and liver disease.
    Anybody willing to poney it up?
    Luckily we found a new vet who understands us and was able to help his issues without testing for everything under the sun.
    I believe our new vet doesn’t have a summer home on LBI like the former.

  35. If I didn’t own cats, I’d be driving a Range Rover ( I like the commercial where they drive over impassable terrain ). Multiple pets can cost several thousand dollars a year in vet bills, food, litter, toys. I think I spent over 5,000 last year.
    You know what? They are worth every penny!

Comments are closed.