RESIDENT HIGHLIGHT: Clifton Resident Saves, Heals, and Relocates Animals in Need
When I contacted Susan Janett, she asked me if I could wait a few hours before speaking with her. “[It’s] a life-threatening emergency,” she said. “[A puppy’s been] severely neglected.” Between text messages, she sent photos of what seemed to be a gentle creature: gray-haired, long-eared, and puppy-eyed. The dog, named Hussle, had a prolapsed anus. “Hussle isn’t unique,” she later told me, “We get a lot of cases like this.”
In Janett’s line of work, neglect, inability to afford proper pet care and even abuse is often a shared characteristic among the rescues. “[W]e’re constantly getting calls from people who can no longer afford to care for their pets…[or] just had a baby…you just never know.”
“I’ve seen it all,” Janett confided. Since 2009, Janett has been rescuing dogs. A lifelong animal lover, it was only after the tragic death of Daniel Pritchard, a close friend’s son, that Janett discovered her passion for rescue.
“I was really in a very sad place,” she told me, “and I was just driving around, not really going anywhere…when I noticed an adoption event [at a] Petco…and I went in and sat down to play with the dogs, and it was like…I heard the angels sing.” The next week, Janett went back and committed to working alongside a newfound mentor, Rosemarie Cafiero.
“It was Rosemarie who really got me into it,” Janett explained, “[she] was the most important influence in the course that my life would then take.” Indeed, not only did Cafiero inspire Janett to work for, and later become the vice president of, Orphaned Pets, Inc., but she also helped Janett co-found Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch, Janett’s current non-profit organization.
After Cafiero passed away in 2016, Janett has continued the Rescue Ranch’s work. Unlike other rescue groups, Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch uses online networks to connect pets with foster families. “I never take in more animals than volunteers,” Janett explains. These foster families later become the rescues’ forever families. At Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch, people foster to adopt.
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but Rosemarie was setting [the rescue] up for me,” Janett explained, “She gave me something to have even after she left.”
Now, Janett spends long days saving, healing, and relocating animals. For her, animal rescue is a national endeavor. As the nonprofit’s president, Janett oversees every rescue case personally, even those from down south. “We also have a southern pull team…who supports me in pulling animals on death row about to be euthanized…if [the animals] [are] beautiful soul[s] who ended up in a kill shelter through no fault of their own…we pull them.” Currently, Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch receives an eight to thirty dog transport every three weeks.
These transports create a large influx of animals for the organization. Yet, despite difficulties in finding enough fosters, Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch successfully handles every case. Janett credits the organization’s work to their volunteers: “We wouldn’t be able to [rescue] without them.” Indeed, in cases like Hussle’s, where his surgery is quoted around ten thousand dollars, it’s all about those who give. Currently, Janett uses Facebook to connect with her community of donors and friends – “What sustains us is the…support we receive.”
But it's not all about money. “We all bring gifts to this world,” Janett explains, “Anyone can start in rescue, whether you can foster a dog, or you’re good with a computer, or you’d like to hold a leash at an adoption event, or you want to run a fundraiser, or you want to help at [Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch’s] resale shop in Verona where all proceeds go to saving animal lives…[anyone] can contribute to saving lives.” In cases like Hussle’s, anyone can be a life saver.
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