Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

    An Animal’s Last Resort

    When animals are in dangerous situations with nowhere to go, The Last Resort Rescue is their last hope. The Last Resort Rescue is a foster-based no-kill rescue in Northern New Jersey. They primarily rescue dogs from kill shelters in the South.

    Their mission is to save animals that are in danger of being euthanized by taking in the local pets that people had to give up due to the poor economy. The rescue was started in late 2008 when there were very few volunteers, albeit ones who “pledged to always put the animals first,” says one of these original volunteers, Julie Ogden, a sixth grade science teacher at Woodcliff Middle School. The Last Resort has saved over 1250 animals in their short, but crucial, existence.

    Many of the animals that come to The Last Resort are homeless, neglected, abandoned, and abused. More times than not, these poor creatures are put in kill shelters. Animals in southern shelters are not safe: many are required to hold strays for three days and when time’s up, they gas them.

    “If the owner surrenders them, they don’t even get those three days, they can be gassed immediately,” says Ogden.

    Putting a dog or cat in a southern shelter is equivalent to knocking on death’s door.

    Four million cats and dogs are euthanized in United States shelters each year, which breaks down to one animal put down every eight seconds.

    Ogden adds, “In the last few years we have seen a rise in animals who have come into rescue because their owners have lost their homes or could no longer afford to care for them.”

    All the animals that pass through The Last Resort “faced losing their lives and were in that position because of the irresponsibility of a human somewhere” says Ogden.

    Humans are responsible for animal cruelty, such as abuse. Owners who neglect their pets are as evil as perpetrators of animal abuse. Animals have hearts and minds that need affection and care. What is truly crushing is thinking about the thousands of animals left to die by the people they trusted. Humans sometimes do the wrong thing for seemingly right reasons. Justifying the abandonment of a pet is simply inhumane. The Last Resort provides these once homeless creatures with safe refuge, rehabilitation and permanent re-homing.

    As a teacher, Mrs. Ogden tries to instill certain values into her students. These ideals include awareness, responsible pet ownership, and change.

    She comments, “introducing them to the hypocrisy that America –while seemingly a nation of animal lovers, spending billions of dollars on their pets– can look the other way while over 4 million animals are killed in our shelters often in very inhumane ways. If children are not exposed to reality, how can we expect them to become the adults with the understanding and compassion necessary to end this problem of overpopulation? It is very easy to walk into a pet store and buy a dog when you are ignorant of the fact that your decision has caused the miserable lives and deaths of many others.  I educate because I truly believe it is our only hope for a better tomorrow.”

    The Last Resort Rescue is known for taking on the most challenging cases. Whether it be the Pitt Bulls who, although consistently finish in the top 5 of all breeds with the best temperament, get bad press and are hard to adopt out; or elderly dogs with heart conditions, The Last Resort is dedicated.

    “In fact,” says Ogden, “it is our mission to be the last resort so while other groups will go into shelters and pull the young, pure bred, highly adoptable animals, we try to save those that have been left behind.”

    The Last Resort is all volunteers and donations. Besides the diligent team of rescuers, it’s special in that every single penny goes to the animals. Pro Plan Rally to Rescue Ambassadors, affiliated with Best Friends, four-time winner of the Petfinder Shelter Challenge, The Last Resort is making a difference. You can find them and their adoptable pets at

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