Tag Archive | "Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons"

Jamie Berger

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jamie and olive 3

Jamie Berger, of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF), spoke about the organization’s upcoming designer show house and some of the other ways community members can get involved. Photo by Sole Riley.

By Mara Certic

What does Saturday’s designer show house entail?

Not only are we an adoption center in Wainscott, we also have a thrift shop in Sagaponack, which helps to fund what we do here. I believe it’s 15 to 19 percent of our operating budget that actually comes from revenue at the thrift shop, so it’s absolutely instrumental in what we do. This is now the fifth year of the designer show house. Obviously we weren’t the first to do a decorator show house, but it’s got a little bit of a twist to it because the designers volunteer their time and they use items that they’ve found at the thrift shop, or items they’re personally supplying. It really came from the idea of taking the thrift shop stuff, and incorporating that, or an item that inspired you to create a themed room.

How many decorators are involved in this year’s show house?

There are six designers, and they each get a little room—we call them vignettes—and they’re invited to come to the thrift shop over the winter, take a look at what we have and from there they stop by on occasion, see if there’s anything new that inspires them to create their new space. The designers just got into the thrift shop this week to start setting up their spaces for Saturday night.

So is each vignette like a separate room of a house? 

Exactly—it’s whatever inspires the designer. So Mark Shriver was inspired by a four-poster bed with carved birds that he found at the thrift shop. So he has decided to create “Tippi’s bedroom,” in honor of Tippi Hedren. It’s something that moves them. One of the other designers, Kevin Heart, was given a space that has dog wallpaper on it. So he went with that theme, and he’s calling his room the Dog Portrait sitting room. And everything the designers put in there will be on sale, so not only do you get to experience these great designers and their creativity, you can actually own a piece of the room, or the whole room if you wanted. And of course, it all benefits ARF.

How long will all of the little vignettes be on show?

So Saturday night is the cocktail party. We have two different ticket levels: 5 p.m. is the higher end ticket, which gets you in before anyone else. If you’re really interested in purchasing, I’d suggest coming then. And then general admission will be from 6 until 8 p.m. Sunday, it will be open for the general public, and we’ll ask for a suggested donation of $10. We hope that we sell out of everything on Saturday night, but if we don’t then everything’s still for sale, and the sale will continue into Sunday.

What will this money be used for?

It really goes to our day-to-day operations, what we do here at the adoption center, whether it’s food, just paying our overhead or specific rescues, where we do travel to other areas.

How else can community members pitch in?

We do really rely on our vast number of volunteers for a lot of the programs we have. We have people who come by and walk dogs, people can volunteer at different events that we have. We also have a project called Operation Cat that helps manage the local cat populations here. It’s a trap, neuter and release program, and it’s totally based on volunteers.

The other day I saw an ARF van at an event. What is that used for?

Oh you saw our mobile van… Not only does that help in our transport, so that the animals are much more comfortable, but it’s been key for getting our animals adopted. Our mobile van is out every weekend. There are a lot of people who don’t want to come to shelters and we just thought if you’re not willing to come here, we’ll bring the animals to you. I think it’s about 40 percent of our adoptions that come off the van now. It’s really helped us get our animals adopted.

For more information visit arfhamptons.com

ARF of the Hamptons Announces New Series of Dog Training Classes

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ARF dog trainer Matthew Posnick. 

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons has announced the launch of three new series of dog training classes.

Puppy Kindergarten resumes on Friday, June 6, from 4 to 5 p.m. Classes will focus on socialization, interactive skills and simple obedience.

The course will run for four straight Fridays and the fee is $100. A reduced fee of $75 is available to those who adopted their puppy from ARF within the past month.

Dog Obedience 101 and Intermediate Classes will start on Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15.

Dogs and their handlers will learn basic obedience using positive reinforcement techniques. The curriculum includes Leash Handling, Let’s Go, Turning Techniques, Stay/Stand, Sit/Stay, Down/Stay, Leave It, Come, No Jumping and Leash Pulling Prevention exercises.

Participants can choose an introductory course on Saturday or Sunday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. for five straight weeks. The intermediate class is held on Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 10 to 11 a.m., also for five straight weeks.

The fee is $150 for all five classes; or $125 for those who have adopted their dog from ARF within the last year.

Recreational Dog Agility classes return on Saturday, June 14. Participants will be the bond of trust between themselves and their pet as they get great exercise working their ways through a variety of obstacles. A class for beginners will be held on Saturdays from 4 to 5 p.m. for five straight weeks. An intermediate class will be announced at later date.

The fee is $175 for all five classes.

All the classes are taught by Matthew Posnick and held at ARF’s Adoption Center at 90 Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott.

Non-Profits Feel Economic Pinch

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Across the board local businesses are hurting from the recession, but perhaps local non-profit organizations are feeling the impact more acutely. With the government contributing very little to their budgets, many local organizations are primarily funded by individual donors or corporations. Kristina Lange, of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, said that although the volume of donations has remained the same, the amount donated has substantially declined. Bay Street Theatre, which relies on a combination of donations and grants, recently learned that grant money they were expecting from the New York State Council on the Arts had been put on hold, as Governor Paterson cuts down the state budget. Both ARF and Bay Street Theatre reduced their annual operating budgets by six and fifteen percent, respectively.

Although Fighting Chance, a free-of-charge counseling and resource center for East End cancer patients, has a ‘rainy day fund’ of $80,000, they have trimmed their budget, instead of tapping into these funds. The organization cut their expenses, primarily by reducing their advertising expenditure, and is operating on an “austerity budget for 2009,” said Duncan Darrow, founder of Fighting Chance.

Anticipating a shortfall in donations, many local non-profit organizations also trimmed their already lean budgets for this year. Kristina Lange reported that ARF implemented a hiring freeze, and subsequently reorganized their staff.

In addition, the non-profit cut down on community programs. Last year, ARF offered spay and neutering clinics for pet owners, as well as pet micro-chipping. These programs were cut from the budget.

Even with these setbacks ARF was still able to provide their key services, like a dog agility and obedience school, pet therapy, a pet bereavement support group and, of course, their kennel for animals up for adoption.

Despite the fact that ARF reduced their programs, Bay Street Theatre found ways to increase their programming without breaking the bank. On inauguration day the theater’s doors were open to the public for a free screening of the day’s festivities. The theater will televise the Oscar celebrations on Sunday, February 22, which will also be free to the public. During these screenings, Bay Street operates a concession stand, which helps defray the cost of keeping the theater open.

“For us to put on a full blown Equity show is outrageously expensive,” said general manager Tracey Mitchell. “We recognize that people don’t have a lot of cash. This is one way we can provide something free to the community.”

The new programs at Bay Street include a children’s theater camp, “Cabaret at the Bay” evenings and “Saturday Morning Picture Show” screenings of classic family films. The children’s theater camp will run in accordance with the school breaks during February and April. Mitchell said the camp was created to lend a helping hand to working parents.

As the economy continues to take a downturn, almost every local non-profit organization has noticed an increase in community demand for their services. ARF reported a 26 percent increase in pet adoption from 2007 to 2008, as nearly 731 dogs and cats were adopted last year.

“I attribute this in part to people finding comfort in animals. It feels good to rescue an animal from a shelter,” said Lange. ARF is noticing higher rates of pet abandonment and the non-profit is also housing more puppies than usually.

Darrow, founder of Fighting Chance, said that nearly half of the cancer patients on the East End contact the organization.

“Patients are now looking at the stress of a cancer diagnosis, coupled with the stress of surviving the recession,” said Darrow. “Most of these people are not highly affluent, and some of them are losing their jobs. Even in the best of times, chemotherapy and radiation treatments are stressful.”

Darrow added that Fighting Chance has established various programs to help these people. The organization offers a “Help-at-Home” neighborhood fund, which awards cash grants of up to $500 for existing patients. Darrow said these funds are often used to repair the patient’s car, since they often have to receive treatment once a day for a number of weeks. Fighting Chance also arranges for cancer patient transportation to treatment centers, with the help of Twin Forks Limo company.

These non-profit organizations remain an integral part of the community, but some non-profit staff wonder if they will be able to outlast the recession. Of ARF, Lange said “we have been around since 1974 and we have never felt anything like this.”


Above: Sag Harbor resident Carol Wesnofsky with Richu, a Peckinese she adopted last year at the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.