Many pet owners suffer the challenges of or health-related emergencies and find it difficult to continue to care for their animals.
But Amy Azzara Cirincione, owner of in Cutchogue, and Dawn Camis Bennett of have made it their mission to help pet owners in need – and the pets themselves.
Through this story of rescue, which will be posted in two parts on North Fork Patch, we are taught by some very special women in our community that nothing should stop us from trying to help others — including our animal friends.
Last month, Cirincione, received an urgent phone call from Mary Ann McDonald, coordinator at the Brookhaven Animal Shelter, regarding a family's cry for help involving their four great Danes and their inability to take care of them due to their own personal hardships.
Helping this family along with many others throughout the community, workers at the Brookhaven Animal Shelter are trying to deter the separation of families. "We tried for several months to help this family with food and medical care for their animals, as we are continually working to keep families together through these difficult times," McDonald said.
Along with her natural love, dedication and extensive knowledge of both animals and rescue, there was another reason McDonald contacted Cirincione—her devotion to the breathtaking great Dane breed.
After accepting the challenge, Cirincione instantly phoned friend, fellow dog rescuer, and canine expert, Dawn Camis Bennett of . "We had to work quickly — there was no time to spare," Cirincione said.
The first obstacle was to find a rescue group that could assist them. Cirincione and Bennett found that most animal rescue groups were too inundated to help. "There is just so much that animal rescues have to deal with – it's very difficult for them to take more dogs," Bennett said.
One of the rescue groups unable to take the dogs at that time was Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League.
How busy are animal rescuers? The interview for this story with a Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Animal Rescue League Coordinator, Gay Ann Wayne, took place at midnight. This was partially due to the fact that among her other responsibilities, she was caring round-the-clock for an extremely ill rescued dog.
Wayne explained that the main reason that they couldn't take any of the Danes in was due to the fact that they didn't have any available fosters. "We train our foster parents extensively before any dog is put into their home, for safety's sake, we do not just put dogs into private homes," Wayne said.
Even though there are times when a dog can be placed in a temporary facility until a foster can be found — Wayne explained that this was not possible with these particular great Danes. "There's no way we could've put these dogs into a boarding facility — they just would've gotten worse," Wayne said.
Knowing that they were running out of options the pressure mounted. "If these dogs would've been placed in a shelter they would've gone crazy and eventually would've been destroyed — there was no way we were letting this happen," said Bennett.
Stay tuned for part two of the great Great Dane rescue on Wednesday.