Baristaville celebrated Petfinder’s 15th Birthday with parties at shelters all over the US this weekend, including a block party at the Montclair Animal Shelter on Saturday night. The Montclair event also marked the First Annual New Jersey “Week For The Animals.”
The party started at 5pm and continued well into the night, with music, food, drinks and of course the guests of honor: shelter dogs and cats who reviewed the crowd looking for their new person. One of the guests of the block party pointed out that people do not pick shelter animals to take home, instead it’s the shelter animals that pick their people. At the end of the evening one dog and 10 cats had selected their new people; several people made arrangements to return with their significant other later in the week.
One of the special moments of the block party was seeing Colin and Julian Monteleone of Glen Ridge go home with two kittens. Their smiles shone brighter than the sun. Another highlight of the even was meeting Marlene Price, a physician who works with economically disadvantaged people in Brooklyn but is known locally for her menagerie of rescue animals. Charlotte, a senior dog who is believed to be 10 years old, chose Marlene as her person about 6 months ago. Charlotte joined a home with two other dogs, Zoe and Cary, 2 cats, and 2 birds. All three dogs came to the block party.
As with any good party there was cake. The ShopRite of Nutley provided a large cake for people celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Petfinders.com for the two legged guests; The Yellow Dog Bakery, also of Nutley, provided an organic pumpkin cake, iced with yoghurt, for the dogs. Itchy, a female Staffordshire Terrier, got the very first piece of cake. Snacks and noshes for the people guests were also provided by Starbucks, Creative Catering, Greek Delights, Muscle Maker Cafe, Veggie Heaven and Air Castles. Music came from two Montclair High School students who are a part of Serendipity Café.
Lynn Gaeta, an Animal Control Officer and Volunteer Coordinator called the first block party a success due to the efforts of volunteers and those donated their time and gifts for the event. Although a municipal shelter, government funding for the shelter provides the minimal state mandated care for the animals. At Montclair, the donations of material items and money provide soft bedding for the dogs and cats, toys, and even veterinary care for animals whose illnesses might result in being put down in other shelters. (a dog with an ear infection will get special medication, a cat with a urinary tract infection will receive the necessary care at the Montclair Animal Shelter, that sort of care is not mandated by the state and is available because of the volunteers and donors). The Montclair Animal Shelter is also special as it is a no kill shelter meaning that an animal that is not adopted will have a home for as long as it takes to find the right person to go home with.
Lindsey Gilson, a Veterinary Technician and Animal Control officer at the shelter went home with Arizona. Arizona was born to a German shepherd who was so emaciated that the staff didn’t realize at first that she was pregnant. Arizona, the runt of the litter, celebrated her 6 week birthday on Friday which is a major milestone as it was unclear of any of the puppies would survive. The unique level of care in Montclair gave Arizona and her siblings a new lease on life.
With so many heartwarming stories many guests at the block party wanted to help the animals but couldn’t take them home for assorted reasons. To meet that need the Montclair Animal Shelter set up a gift table on which two legged guests left food, toys, blankets, leashes, paper towels, and soap. After the party gifts can be left at the front door of the shelter as staff are there at various times every day to care and feed the animals. Cash donations can also be made to the shelter.
The Montclair Animal Shelter is at 77 North Willow Street, near the Walnut Street Train Station. It is open on Tuesdays from 2pm to 6pm, Wednesdays to Sunday from 2pm to 4pm. The staff knows that not everyone can visit the shelter at those times so appointments to meet your new best friend can be made by calling 973-844-8600.