Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch - A Labor of Love in Clifton
Susan Janett of Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch invited me to come to one of their transportation events in Clifton on Saturday to see how their community based rescue group works. I met the Transport Volunteers - Ellen’s Angels, named after Ellen Eisen, one of Janett’s dearest friends and a fellow animal rescuer, who passed away in 2021. Watch the transport event here. Community members come out to volunteer and help carry the animals off the van and give comfort to an animal that may not have had an easy life.
The History of Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch
Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch is a labor of love and friendship, and it shows. Rosemarie Cafiero and Susan Janett had worked together rescuing animals for years before they decided to create Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch in 2017. Rosemarie Cafiero was ill and would pass away the next year and Janett wanted to create a beautiful tribute to her friend and mentor. She decided that instead of using a traditional rescue format, using brick and mortar shelters, Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch would build a community here in Clifton and the surrounding area, taking dogs from kill shelters and other situations and placing them in foster homes.
Janett works with a network of rescuers in shelters who go into high kill shelters in the South and elsewhere, and those rescuers will pull dogs that they believe are family dogs who could be adopted. Unfortunately there are so many dogs in some of these shelters that even healthy young puppies are euthanized in a matter of weeks, if not rescued. Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch will also take dogs from local shelters and owner-surrenders, if they believe they can place them. The dogs are put in local foster homes for two weeks, during which time they are temperament tested and get the vet care they need (including vaccination, heartworm treatment, and spaying or neutering, if appropriate). They then send the information to Janett, who makes the decision on who should be on the long trip North.
Two Girls And A Dog - The Long Ride North
Connie Bland, of Two Girls And A Dog is the transporter for Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch. She had driven up from Alabama with a van full of dogs ready for their new homes and two very cute ferrets. She greeted Janett with a big hug and then helped Ellen’s Angels unload the animals. Rosemarie’s Rescue had collected crates and gates to go back to Alabama to support more foster families, so the van would not be going back empty.
Meeting the Fosters and the Liasons
Once the dogs were taken off the van Ellen’s Angels led them into Janett’s backyard, where they ran around and met their foster families. Alexandra Tuorto showed me the bags of supplies and treats that she makes with the Junior Volunteers, ready to hand out to the foster parents with their new pets. Each dog gets a harness that doubles as a thundershirt, for extra comfort, and a cute little silver tag bearing the name of Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch. A little Chihuahua mix named Crash settled in for some cuddles from Alan Wishengrad. A beautiful Aussie who had been abused in his first home was eager to give everyone licks before heading home with his new family. The process was very quick because all the foster homes are pre-approved. Susan Piorkowski and her daughter drove down from Connecticut to pick up Buddy, a young black Labradoodle. Asked why they had chosen Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch over a more local rescue, they said that one of their friends had adopted from Rosemarie’s Rescue and had a wonderful experience and they felt that the individualized support she received was really key to a successful transition.
Why Foster Homes?
Encouraging adopters to foster-to-adopt allows the family and the dog to adjust to one another without any commitment for two weeks, with the support of a personal liaison who is available 24/7 to address any concerns or issues that can arise during the transition. Janett has a team of volunteers who send every dog home with everything they need to make the transition as easy as possible - crates, blankets, bowls, toys, food, and the necessary vet services. Janett explained that about 98% of the foster families end up deciding to adopt the dog and make them a family member. I spoke to Lauren Elliott who is a pet liaison and a foster pet parent herself, and she explained to me that as a pet liaison, she sees herself as a partner to the foster families - she will help smooth the transition and make sure the pup and the family have everything they need. All dogs need a little time to acclimate to a new home and the pet liaisons are key to this process.
How You Can Help
If you’re interested in adding a new best friend to your family, you can apply to be approved as a foster at Rosemarie's Rescue Ranch. You can also apply to be an emergency foster for as little as a few days to give a pet a place to decompress and heal. There are other ways to help Rosemarie’s Rescue, too. All medical bills are paid for through donations which can be made by Paypal or on the website. Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch also does classes and fundraisers, which The Clifton Times will cover as they come up. The rescue even has a resale boutique in Verona.
If you’re looking for a way to get your young people involved and engaged, Rosemarie’s Rescue also has a Junior Volunteer program, run by Alexandra Tuorto who is a teacher. Young people under 16 need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian and will help out at adoption events, help make gift bags for foster families, and learn about the work the rescue does. Susan Janett and Alexandra Tuorto will also go out to local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts troops with service dogs and talk about how to raise, handle, and train your dog.
Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch brings our community together to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals in need, and we hope that you’ll consider supporting their mission!