Next Saturday, Asbury Park is destined for the dogs and residents are thrilled.

More than 30 city homes will participate in the town-wide yard sale benefitting, in part, the Rescue Ridge animal shelter – a renowned grass roots organization known for taking in “eleventh hour” companion animals in our area.

I spoke with the organizer of Asbury Park’s Second Annual town-wide yard sale, Sonja O’Brien last week.

TBP:  Why is this more than your average yard sale?

Sonja:   The sale is three-fold win-win for everybody.  First, it helps our community with its spring cleaning.  Two, it gives bargain hunters the opportunity to find some fantastic treasures.  Most importantly, however, every participating home has agreed to give at least 10 percent of its proceeds to Rescue Ridge.

TBP:  Why did you and your husband Tom become involved with Rescue Ridge?

Sonja:  We went to Howell to see first-hand the work of the organization and spoke with the group of tireless volunteers.

Now, more than ever, the shelter needs our help.  Because of the economy, Mary Beth Tkach, the leader of the organization, has taken in more companion animals in need than ever before and she runs it on a shoestring budget.

The volunteers there really roll up their sleeves and do everything they can to foster the dogs and cats until a family is found to love and take care of them.

TBP:  Rescue Ridge is an “eleventh hour” or “last chance” shelter.  What does that mean?

Sonja:  It finds homes for animals that other shelters and people have given up on.  The volunteers at Rescue Ridge do not give up.  This is what these people love to do.  They give their time and their hearts to the animals.

Rescue Ridge takes in companion animals from Asbury Park and the surrounding areas.  It also has adopted-out to great families here.

They also have a place for feral cats and agree to take on the cat’s medical care and food needs for life.

TBP:  That is a beautiful thing.  I need to have my tangent because I love animals so much – anybody who does anything but cherish a defenseless companion animal is a disaster and the lowest of low human beings… wimps.

And leaving a dog outside on a chain all day in the winter is abuse.  I want to make those people sit the winter out, outside.  And the Michael Vicks of the world should have the same things done to them as they do to canine companions. 

If you see any abuse happening, please call the police.  And follow-up with the police to make sure the low-lifes were taken care of.

Sorry Sonja – that kind of stuff gets me at my core.  What can shoppers expect at this year’s city-wide yard sale?  I hear you have more homes than last year participating, too.

Sonja:  Last year we had 1300 shoppers and we expect more this year.

There are more than 30 homes participating all over the city.   One home has a lot of Asbury Park Memorabilia.  Another has tons of construction tools and material for sale.  Also, there is another home with a lot of interesting furniture, special vintage items and antiques.

Homeowners have told me that they are bringing out special items they would not normally sell at a yard sale to raise lots of money for the shelter.

Also, people who do not want to shop can drop off a check or dog toys to support Rescue Ridge.

Asbury Park Town-Wide Yard Sale, Saturday, April 30, 9 am to 3 pm.  Rain or shine.  Afterwards, the Wonder Bar is hosting Yappy Hour and Langosta Lounge is welcoming companion animals and the people that love them on the boardwalk.

Check the Coaster, TheBPlot.com and CityofAsburyPark.com, next Thursday (April 28) for a map of the yard sale homes.

To learn about pets available for adoption, about the shelter or how to donate to Rescue Ridge, click here

To read the Coaster and TheBPlot.com’s first article about Rescue Ridge (“Shelter Shelters the Toughest”, August 13, 2009), click here.