Shirley couple aide rescue dogs at attack sites

By Derek Breton Of the NEWS Staff

Bangor Daily News - Friday, September 21, 2001

SHIRLEY -Owners of a Maine kennel and a kind-hearted woman in Long Island, N. Y., have been working to give rescue dogs searching the rubble at the terrorist attack sites a helping paw.

In wake of the recent terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, much of the public's attention has gone toward the well-being of the people working at the crash sites. Jennifer Freireich of Long Island, however; didn't forget the furry friends working alongside rescue workers.

"There's so much glass and twisted metal and smoldering rubble," said Freireich. "The booties provided by [corporations in the area] were too cumbersome, and they didn't hold up well under the conditions."

Freireich looked on the Internet for dog sled mushers and managed to fmd three organizations. From a group in Montana she was able to purchase 150 pairs of booties for $100. A group in Wyoming never returned her calls, but it was a couple of animal lovers in Shirley who provided the best response of all.

Amy Dugan and John Osmond of Mountain Ridge Kennels responded to the call of need on Sunday; Sept. 16.

"We got wind that the dogs were cutting their feet going through the search areas and we thought we could help out," Dugan said Thursday "We wanted to do what we could."

Dugan and Osmond sent down 500 pairs of booties that were more comfortable and durable than other types. The pair also sent down 50 pairs of leg wraps that are used to protect dogs' legs from abrasions, while also giving additional support to prevent stress-related injuries. The donations had a combined value of around $600.

"They hadn't gotten anything like those legs wraps," said Freireich from New York. "They thought those were great."

Freireich walked around the militarily secured area in Manhattan for hours on Wednesday before she was able to get to within two blocks of where the World Trade Center formerly stood. There, she was able to give the booties and leg wraps to a mobile veterinary unit.

The unit said the wraps and booties would be given out immediately as they were in great need, Freireich said. A number of the items have also been sent to the Pentagon crash site in Washington, D.C., as the search dogs there were in need of those items, she added.

Dugan and Osmond had tried to I help out previously through a dog sledding contact in Manhattan, but that person was told that those supplies weren't needed.

"Things are so hectic down there, sometimes the left doesn't know what the right is doing," said Osmond. "We tried avenues with the government that didn't work. We knew we had to get them to somebody who'd get right to the scene."

Osmond said he knew the contributions would be sufficient as his dog teams use the same equipment the rescue dogs are using.

"We have 32 dogs. We know what working dogs do," he said. "With these boots the dogs can feel the ground which is very important, but they're made of a very tough material. The old fleece booties just weren't cutting it any more."

Freireich has been busy soliciting corporate aid for victims of the attack. A former worker at the Bronx Zoo and an emergency animal service member, Freireich said she is going to get her own German shepherd and train it to be a rescue dog.

In the meantime, she said she will continue to do what she can, but noted she could not have been as successful as she has been if not for her new Maine friends.

"It was just fantastic of [Dugan and Osmond] to donate what they did," she said. "I want a dog sled ride when I meet them and I'll give them a tour of my New York when they come down."

home paw button

Web Author Dave Hartt
Last Update: 22 September 2002
Copyright © 1998 by C.A.C. inc. - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED