In tough times, pets have place to go

JACKSON TWP., N.J. - December 1, 2010

They're among dozens of cats and dogs who are temporary guests at the Seer Farm in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

It's a non-profit shelter founded two years ago by community activist Laura Pople, who was horrified by stories of pets being abandoned by owners hit with home foreclosures and tough financial times.

"We can put something in place that will take care of these families and provide their animals with a temporary home," Pople said.

Gabby Kashow of Port Richmond owns Diesel and Philly and has had them since they were puppies. When she and her husband Fred got in to financial trouble back in the summer, they and their two children moved in with Gabby's mother in Mount Laurel.

Unfortunately, the dogs couldn't stay because of allergy issues. Desperate, she turned to Seer Farm.

"To be able to know that we can get our finances together and our lives together and be able to go back and get our dogs, and they're being well taken care of there? It means more to me than anything," Gabby said.

Pet owners are asked to contribute if they can to the animal's upkeep, sign a contract saying they'll reclaim their pet and are encouraged to visit.

"It's really great to see them, but it's horrible to leave," said Kashow.

Gabby and her husband are now close to being back on their feet financially and have even begun looking for a new place of their own. They hope to be able to reclaim their beloved dogs by April.

"Reunions are always the best days any of us have is when a family calls and says we're coming to pick up the animal and we're going home," Pople said.

Seer Farm runs on grants, sponsorships and donations with help from an army of volunteers. It also handles pets that need temporary care because of illness, domestic violence or deployment.

So far about 65 animals have been reunited with their owners.

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