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THE OBSERVER | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017

Rescued dogs brought to Kearny By Ron Leir rleir@theobserver.com West Hudson Publishing Company’s Fastest Growing Free Weekly Newspaper Established 1887 Family Owned & Operated

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KEARNY – A local veterinarian and his staff opened their hearts — and their medical office — to a quintet of canines from the storm-ravaged Southland. Dr. Herbert Leary, owner of Arlington Dog & Cat Hospital on Passaic Ave., has played host to five pooches transferred from two Texas shelters to New Jersey to make room for other animals directly displaced by the flooding that swamped the environs of Houston in the wake of Harvey in late August. Leary credited veterinary technician Natalie LaBarbera and fellow employees as the driving force for the canine caretaking commitment. “When the hurricanes devastated Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, Natalie and other staff said they were interested in helping pets from the area and I’m happy we can contribute to helping their lives get better,” said the longtime veterinarian who has spent 21 years at the Passaic Ave. facility. LaBarbera, a North Arlington resident who has three dogs, two cats and a canary of her own, said she was looking for a way to get involved on behalf of the atrisk animal population. She found out “they were trying to clear out the shelters in the Houston area to avoid euthanizing the animals and to make room for the ones displaced by the hurricane.” After learning St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison was taking in storm-impacted animals, LaBarbera reached out to them

Top photo by Ron Leir; bottom courtesy of Carol Jean Doyle

Above: Gathered in front of Arlington Dog & Cat Hospital, from l., are Dr. Herbert Leary with Lucy, Stephanie Rodrigues with Zoey, Allison Petriccione with Missy and Natalie LaBarbera with Max and Oreo. Below: Mayor Alberto Santos thanks Leary for donating the dog park sign.

but they turned out to be full up and they already had plenty of trained volunteers. That’s when her employer entered the picture. “Dr. Leary said he wanted to help and said we could take in five dogs,” LaBarbera recalled, if a way could be found to get them to Kearny. After calling around to different shelters, the technician made a contact with and learned Traveling 4 Paws Rescue, a nonprofit based in Cranford, was transporting animals up from Texas for adoption in the New Jersey area. The agency agreed to turn over five dogs to Arlington Dog & Cat Hospital for temporary care and, hopefully,

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new homes. In early October, LaBarbera arranged to drive to Cranford to make the first pickup. “There were so many crates filled with puppies and dogs, it was so sad,” she remembered. “Our first dog was Zoey, a female black Lab, about 4 years old,” she said. Zoey ended up adopted by Pamela Rodrigues, the sister of Stephanie Rodriguez, an office assistant at Leary’s facility. Next came Oreo, a male 4-year-old black-and-white Terrier mix; and Max, a male, 7-year-old brown-andwhite Jack Russell Terrier. Owners are still being sought for them.

Then there was Lucy, a female light-brown Pitbull whose age is estimated to be about 5, adopted by office technician Allison Petriccione of North Arlington. Last but not least was a puppy called Missy, a female brindle 7-month-old Dutch Shepherd mix in need of physical therapy for a prior injury. Oradel Animal Hospital has donated its services, providing therapy treatments for the pup twice a week, and Missy seems to be responding well, according to LaBarbera. She, too, is up for adoption. All five canines have been checked for traces of heartworm disease, which is common among dogs in the South, LaBarbera said. Zoey has begun treatments for it; the others tested negative. Leary has pledged to provide whatever else may be needed to ensure the dogs are in good health while in his care, including vaccines and spay/neutering. Missy will need to be spayed, LaBarbera said. The veterinarian has also extended his generosity to the town by donating an identification sign for the municipal dog park in Riverbank Park at S. Midland and Passaic Aves. which opened in May 2016. Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle placed the sign’s value at $1,650. She said the doctor and his staff have participated in the town’s UEZ-sponsored PAWrade the past three years. “The dog park is a great addition to Kearny and, every day, our clients bring their dogs to play there,” Leary said. “It’s a great way for dogs to socialize and for people to bond and it fosters good pet ownership responsibility.”

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