NJ man swings ax to help animal shelter

EWING, N.J. - December 27, 2011

Russ Miller runs a Ewing construction supply business, but spends lots of his free time splitting wood. It's great exercise, but Russ has a bigger motivation: all the profits from the wood he splits and sells go directly to the Ewing Animal Shelter.

"They get money, everyone gets a tax write-off, dogs get neutered and spayed and I get my karma boosted a little bit here," Miller said.

There are piles of wood everywhere, some seasoned and some recently split. Area tree contractors drop huge pieces of wood off in a lot behind Russ's company Onyx Fasteners on Princeton Avenue.

Over the last couple years he's raised at least $2,000 selling firewood and has his customers write their checks directly to the shelter.

The workers there love their benevolent Paul Bunyan.

"Since the economy's so bad we're not getting as many donations so for Russ to do something like that is rally helping the animals to keep them fed, get them their shots and everything else," Amy Mostrangeli of the Eweing Animal Shelter said.

Chopping wood and selling it is an unusual way to raise money for unwanted animals, but for Russ Miller this is a labor of love.

His two dogs came, Mr. Rizzo, a St. Bernard, and Simba, an Italian mastiff, from local shelters.

"I've had rescue animals since 1989. Greatest dogs in the world," Miller said.

Russ is hoping other dogs and cats will have the chance to be rescued from a shelter. And if that means chopping and splitting mountains of firewood, he's happy to swing that axe.

"It's so much better for the head, for the body and I don't have to pay $60 a month to go to a workout place," Miller said.

No, Russ Miller gets a workout that benefits him and the animals at the shelter.

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