Written by Marlo Jappen Friday, 11 July 2014 08:42
Sebastian, a two year-old pit mix with chocolate and caramel fur, wags his tail and splashes inside of a kiddie pool outside of the Forgotten Friends of Long Island rescue center in Levittown. The energetic pup is looking for a home, just like the four other dogs housed at this location in the basement of the Animal Hospital at 4 East Village Green.
“He’s good with other dogs and actually likes cats,” said Beth Marzo of Plainview, a dog coordinator at Forgotten Friends of Long Island. Sebastian was rescued from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter where he lived for one year.
Forgotten Friends of Long Island is a non-profit rescue organization that survives entirely off of donations and fundraised money.
“It’s all volunteer,” said cat coordinator Jody Karaler of Wantagh who takes care of the 58 cats and kittens sheltered at this center. “We cover all the shots and vet expenses of any cat that leaves here.”
Forgotten Friends of Long Island rescues cats and dogs from local animal shelters and saves abandoned animals in the community.
“I felt that there were so many animals overlooked by the public and animal rescue organizations,” said the rescue group’s president, Loretta Rinaldo of Plainview. She started this organization six years ago, but the Levittown location just experienced its grand opening on June 8.
“The biggest obstacle we face is the huge debts from vet care,” she said.
Rinaldo, a Registered Nurse of 36 years, ensures that every animal receives proper medical care. The animals are spayed, neutered, dewormed, de-fleaed, given shots, and tested for diseases.
Forgotten Friends of Long Island takes in animals from difficult situations. Jameson, a friendly 3-year-old pit mix, spent more than two years in the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, and never knew of a home. The bonded mother-daughter duo, Nikki, 5, and Jenna, 8, both a beagle-terrier mix, were left abandoned and tied up to a man’s fence.
Molly, an 8-year-old pit mix, spent three years in the Town of Hempstead shelter. Her ears were chopped with scissors and her teeth were filed.
“I believe she was a bait dog,” said Marzo. “She’s very gentle and loves walks.”
“Everyone of these animals have a great temperament,” Marzo said. “The goal is to find these animals their forever homes.”
However, the volunteers at Forgotten Friends of Long Island don’t give these animals to just anyone. They do home checks to make sure that the animal is in the right hands.
“The match is very important,” said Rinaldo.
For animal lovers who don’t want the long-term commitment, fostering one of these animals is also an option.
“Fostering these animals benefits them greatly,” said Marzo, adding that the rescue group loves “foster failures,” which she said are foster families that fall in love with the animal and decide to adopt them.
The organization has more than 40 volunteer dog walkers that take on different shifts. Current volunteers at the organizations come from such towns as Levittown, Massapequa, Farmingdale, Seaford, Hicksville and Plainview.
“We’re always looking for volunteers that are able to walk big dogs,” Marzo said.
Forgotten Friends of Long Island is hosting a fundraising event at the AMF Bowling Center in Wantagh on Saturday, July 26 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. For $20, guests can enjoy two hours of bowling, pizza and soda as well as a Chinese Auction. If interested in donating to the organization or adopting one of the animals, please visit www.forgottenfriendsoflongisland.org or call 516-719-0808.