Pick Your Paws, one of a number of grass roots companion animal rescue organizations in our area, has quietly been saving the lives of “eleventh hour” dogs and changing the lives pet owners since 2009.

The organization’s volunteers run to the rescue of the most desperate and defenseless of dogs scheduled to be euthanized in less than 24 hours at shelters in New Jersey and New York.  Heather Gogola, Heathre Goldberg and Tammy Boland, Pick Your Paw founders, place each rescue in a foster home where the families manage the dog’s rehabilitation (mental and physical) and ultimately find them forever homes.  To-date, the group has rescued more than 200 dogs.

I met Gogola, a teacher by day, at her area home along with some wonderful dogs.  This woman is saving innocents and doing the work of an army of angels. (more below)

Adopt Johnny, the sweetest pocket pit bull.  Photo courtesy: Natalie Markova

TBP:  I am in awe of what you do and how you do it.

Gogola:  Fostering the dogs at local homes helps us really understand their personalities and helps future forever homes make the best choice.  We want to make sure the dog and forever family fit is the best it can be.

We are a group of three women supported by ten amazing volunteers.  We all have jobs, families, children and many dogs.  The hours are ridiculously long and it is exhausting to consider but it is nothing less than an intense calling, if it was less than life or death, no one would do this.

I remember every fragile dog we have saved and how close they were to being euthanized.  Zoey, was a horribly ugly puppy when we rescued her from the “destroy” list in New York City.  A mastiff pit bull mix, she was afraid of the dark, needed multiple veterinary trips and daily medication.  She was also amazing – great with other dogs and she loved kids.  As she healed with us for four months she became perfection.

Her forever family found her on our Facebook page (Pick Your Paw Rescue) and she now lives a beautiful life on the beach.

That is what animal rescue is:  one long night of agonizing, four months of exhaustion and a lifetime of love for a puppy and family.  Looking back, I know what could have been lost and I believe what we are doing is well worth the sacrifices.

TBP:  Because you are saving the dogs that cannot be immediately adopted at a shelter that means a lot of sweet Pit Bulls.

Gogola:  A Pit Bull’s greatest desire is to please and they are being abused and slaughtered.  For every 600 pit bulls that enter shelters, only one will make it out alive.  They were called the “Nanny Dog” in the early 1900’s because of their loyalty and legendary affection for children.  They are smart, natural clowns and loyal.  It is truly all about how they are raised and what kind of environment they live in.

There is no greater underdog and as a rescue, we fight for the underdog.  Every pit bull deserves a sofa and a blanket as well as tons of love.

TBP:  Could not agree with you any more.  And Pick Your Paw is having a Halloween party for dogs and adoption event at Yappy Hour next Saturday (Oct. 27), beginning at 1 pm.

Gogola:  We have over $1000 in prizes, including a great donation from Patti Scialfa, for dog costumes.  It is going to be a great time.  One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit needy animals.  Everyone is welcome and we appreciate the support.

Check out the dogs available for adoption at PickYourPaw.org and on Facebook.  For more about the Halloween party, click here.