Melissa Gentry and some willing volunteers ready 90 puppies and dogs for their journey to Port Washington, New York.

By Marlana Ward

A road trip and the hope for a loving home are in store for some lucky canines that recently made the transition from local Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary to North Shore Animal League (NSALA)of Port Washington, New York. On Monday, May 1, 2017, over 90 dogs began their journey north east in search of loving families to welcome them in.
Since 2000, Melissa Gentry, founder of Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary, has been on a mission to see that area animals are treated humanely and given the chance to be loved. What started out with a single dog named Sam has now grown into a shelter capable of housing over 100 energetic, lovable dogs.
One of Gentry’s passions is to save dogs destined for euthanasia at shelters renowned for high kill rates by intervening and bringing them to Rescue Dog’s facility. “Our goal is to help these shelters become no-kill so every animal will have the opportunity to have a loving family and a safe place to call home,” explained Gentry. While the organization does reach beyond the county borders, Johnson County remains the main focus of the group. “We do give Johnson County residents first priority with the space we have available for housing and transport in our effort to decrease the overpopulation in our immediate area,” said Gentry.
Rescue Dog is also on hand in situations of animal neglect or cruelty within the county. “We work side by side with Sheriff Mike Reece and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department on abuse or neglect cases,” Gentry shared. “Recently we took 26 dogs from one property per sheriff’s order. When there is a need, we try our best to help anyway possible.”
At times, a well-loved pet must be surrendered by its owners for a variety of reasons. When this happens, Rescue Dog provides a safe, understanding answer in what can be an emotional situation. “We get a lot of owner surrenders and strays from here in the county,” said Gentry. “We prefer to have an owner surrender their dog than for the dog to be dumped out. We do not ask 100 questions, we’re just glad the owner is doing the right thing!”
Over the years, a great partnership between Rescue Dog and the NSALA has developed. NSALA is nationally renowned for their tireless efforts to ensure loving homes for the many dogs that find themselves without a home each year. According to their website at animalleague.org: “Since 1944, North Shore Animal League America has been saving the lives of innocent dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens , over 1,000,000 to date.” It is Rescue Dog’s relationship with NSALA that has allowed rescue efforts to grow and dogs to find great homes across the country. “NSALA helps me move large numbers of dogs out of Johnson County that would otherwise have no place to go,” expressed Gentry. “It is a great comfort to know NSALA is there to help me as I continue in this work daily. NSALA has stepped in with injured dogs, three legged dogs, and this trip a dog with legs that are backwards. NSALA has helped us help so many counties become no-kill and stay no-kill.”
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