• Joseph F. Berenato

Dogs come home for the holidays


Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Animal Aid USA co-founder Karen Talbot and Woof Love Rescue Director Rose Hamilton were on hand when the rescue dogs arrived. (THG/Joseph F. Berenato. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

On December 5, dozens of rescue dogs were brought by Animal Aid USA into Hammonton on their way to find new homes.


Rose Hamilton, the director of Woof Love Rescue, said that Animal Aid USA travels to Georgia every 28 days to transport dogs to New Jersey.


“They go with a full rig—it’s a 40-foot transport rig—and usually between three and five vans. We bring back pre-selected dogs for various rescues. When the rig and vans pull in, all the rescues are here to get their pre-selected dogs. Various rescues go back to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. We’ll all take our dogs to foster homes or other rescues, and we’ll get them all checked out and they’ll go up for adoption,” Hamilton said.


Volunteers from various rescue agencies took dogs on their way to their forever home. (THG/Joseph F. Berenato. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

Hamilton said that each dog would be examined in a mobile veterinary unit by Dr. Mark Rosenberg.


“We provide basic medication kits and supplies for our fosters. They’ll pick them up, and the vet will examine everybody. We’ve got a nice space for him to look at the dogs, and it’s quiet. It’s a good location, because it gets him out of the way. It can get a little chaotic—it’s all controlled chaos, but it’s still there. He’ll get them in and be able to look at them here,” Hamilton said.


Rosenberg elaborated.


“After they came up from transport, I get the honor to evaluate them, troubleshoot any problems that they have as they go into their foster care and try to help them be responsible for their care until they get to their forever homes,” Rosenberg said.


Dr. Mark Rosenberg examined Scruffy, a 1-year-old terrier mix from Blackshear, Ga. (THG/Joseph F. Berenato. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

At 9 a.m., the caravan pulled into a lot on 13th Street owned by Asphalt Paving Systems, which donated the use of the space. Karen Talbot, the co-founder of Animal Aid USA, said that the company has been involved with the rescue operation since its inception.


“Our very first caravan to Georgia was in January of 2011, and it happened to be with a borrowed van from Asphalt Paving, with Kenny Messina and Bobby Capoferri,” Talbot said.


Talbot said that, on that first trip, she noted to her husband, Dante LaSasso, that the experience was “life-changing.”


“He said that we could do it every once in a while, and what I heard was, ‘We can do this every 28 days for the rest of our lives.’ Every 28 days since January 2011, we have been on the road,” Talbot said.


Jacquie Hampshire and Lisa O’Toole—who were among the volunteers—posed with Cookie. (THG/Joseph F. Berenato. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

Since the first trip in 2011, Animal Aid Rescue—a 100 percent volunteer organization—has helped more than 36,000 dogs.


“It’s just grown in epic proportions,” Talbot said.


Animal Aid USA utilized a number of different sites since it began; the arrival on December 5 was their first in Hammonton.


“We were arriving at a different location, but, as fate would have it, we ended up back here, and this property happens to be owned by Asphalt Paving. It’s just such a full circle,” Talbot said.


Volunteers unloaded dogs brought from Blackshear, Ga. to find homes. (THG/Joseph F. Berenato. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

Talbot also expressed gratitude to Greg Crescenzo of Atlantic Investigations, which is housed next to the lot, for “his hospitality at the site.”


“Greg Crescenzo next door has been so accommodating,” Talbot said.


Talbot said that she was thrilled to be able to bring the operation “home to Hammonton.”


“It’s just so symbolic that, not only did we bring it home for the holidays, but we brought it home to where we started. To bring it home, we feel that now, we’re safe, and we really are home—and we won’t ever have to look for another location,” Talbot said.