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By Scott Leishman

My wife Valerie was browsing the Internet for a cat to rescue. We have had a few cats along the way. Then, a picture of Clyde popped up. He is a white and gray Chihuahua and potentially corgi (or so we were told) mix. We see more terrier in him, especially the way he shakes up his toys. He’s also a little Yoda with the ears…

Clyde came from Tennessee and PupStars Rescue and was being fostered right here in Rye. So we were able to visit him before we began the adoption process. PupStars has a rigorous application and interview process — might be easier to get a government security clearance — but their goal is to make sure their charges are going to good homes. We’re glad we passed the test and were allowed to bring him home, and grateful to the foster family, who were very sad to see him go.

The only time Clyde, now 4, barks is when he needs to go for a walk. It is especially nice to have a new, relatively young dog that is housebroken and friendly to people and other dogs. Even the mailman likes him. He does like to chase squirrels though.

We split dog-walking duties. I usually take Clyde for a three-mile hike at lunchtime behind Playland, and, once the season is over, to Oakland Beach. This has broken up my otherwise sedentary day and I have lost a good chunk of weight since Clyde arrived.

He rotates family members when deciding where he is going to sleep. Having been to camp in Maine, Clyde travels well. He is loved by our entire immediate and extended family.

Scott Leishman and his rescue pup, Clyde    

Photo by Geoff Tischman


My name is Cole. I am part of the family who adopted Ellie. When she was a few weeks old, she was found with four other puppies from the same litter and brought to New York Pet Rescue in Harrison, and fostered by a really kind family in Rye.

Lots of things happened leading up to the day we brought Ellie home.

It all started when my brother, sister, and I convinced our mom that it would be would be really fun to have a dog. As my brother Grady said, “It’s good to adopt rescue dogs because they’ve had a hard start to life and they need a family.”   

We started by checking out pet rescue websites. By adopting a dog that was rescued we saved two dogs by making room in the foster family’s home for another one. We saw tons of great dogs when we went on the website, but there was something special about Ellie’s picture. Even as a tiny puppy, she sat up tall and looked patient, gentle, and kind, which she is to this day.

My mom waited until we were all home from school and we went to meet her in person at the foster home. I will never forget the moment when I saw her for the first time. I got out of the car and she was standing in front of the white gate — a little puppy, with caramel-colored fur, big brown eyes, and floppy ears. She looked up at us as if she knew we’d come for her. She ran right over to meet us when her foster mom opened the gate, then she ran into the back to show us her siblings. They were all very cute, but Ellie was playful yet quiet, and sweet in our arms. She felt like ours.    

We were planning on adopting her the next day, so that afternoon we went to the pet store and bought all the things we needed. We got waste bags, a leash, food, and water bowls, a collar, and some other stuff. The next day we picked her up at the foster home and were so excited to bring her home and play with her. We thought she was the most adorable puppy ever.

We borrowed a book from the Rye Free Reading Room on how to train a puppy. We potty-trained her by giving her treats and praise. Eventually, we taught her to sit, lie down, and give us her paw. She tries so hard to give us her paw that she ends up giving both at the same time.  

Ellie has been part of our family for a year now and we can’t imagine life without her. When we walk in the door, she is so happy to see us she says hello by wagging not only her tail but her whole body. We lay with her on her doggie bed and snuggle with her when we feel tired or sad. She always makes us feel better. If my younger sister or brother gets upset, she will lick them until they smile or stop crying. 

Our favorite things about Ellie are her floppy ears, her positive attitude, playing with her on our play set (she can climb the ladder by herself and goes down the slide), and how much she loves and cares about us. 

Grady, Isabel, and Cole with their rescue dog Ellie    

Photo by Geoff Tischman

By Jeannette Cummins

Oliver is the best dog ever. He’s fun, funny, and absolutely the greatest companion. 

He came to us when he was five years old. He previously lived with a family friend of ours who was no longer able to take care of him because of a sudden, severe illness. Oliver wasn’t the dog I had in mind to adopt – larger and quieter than I had envisioned — but he desperately needed a home and so we agreed to take him. Within a couple of days, I knew it was a match made in Heaven.

The great thing about adopting adult dogs is that they are over the dog equivalent of the “terrible twos.” When Oliver arrived, he was house trained and had lovely manners — he never chewed on furniture or jumped on our guests. He rarely puts a foot wrong – except with the mailman or any other person who walks down our driveway on an unauthorized basis. We did have to work with him on walks – barking at other dogs, darting in front of cars. Because he had lived in a rural area, Oliver had not been trained on a leash. But now he’s happy to get leashed up so his people don’t get lost.

My initial concern about having a quiet nature was misplaced. Dogs needing adoption are under stress and as soon as that stress is reduced, they immediately respond. As for size, when a dog is well behaved, size isn’t an issue.

There’s good reason that, throughout history, dogs have been a symbol of fidelity. As time’s gone by, we talk about dogs offering unconditional love. Either way, dogs are truly our best friends.

 Christopher and Jeannette Cummins with Oliver

Photo by Geoff Tischman 

Photo by Geoff Tischman

By Dave and Yvette Goldman

They say that dogs choose their owners. We couldn’t agree more. As soon as my husband and I finished renovating our one bedroom Rye cottage into a family home, we knew it was time to adopt a dog! We drove out to Long Island to the North Shore Animal League. There was never any question about <not> going to a shelter. Never even crossed our minds.  


Abby was the first puppy they put in our arms. Room after room of puppies, and older dogs too, and yes, we wanted to take them all.  We held her, this 12-week-old Black lab mix, she looked at us, we looked at her, and then...we put her back in the crate to explore the other rooms, to see the other puppies. Another dog captured our interest, we played, we cuddled, we considered, we almost had a match. But something tugged at us, something made us go back to the first room of puppies for another look…

We can still see her face, her little body, the way she sat in that crate and stared at us when we entered, and no lie, we both felt her tell us without words, “I am your dog. (It’s about time you got done messing around with that other one!) I am yours.”  The connection was so strong, so real, so unexpected.  Here we are, many years later, and our bond with her is strong, true, and deep.  The joy she brings to our lives, our home, our daughter, is difficult to put into words. But you know. If you are reading this, chances are you love or have loved a dog of your own, so you know.


When Abby was 6 she started looking lonely. Our daily trips to Rye Town Park to play with other dogs had tapered down, (new rules and a new child). We decided it was time to give her a brother. We saw online through Petfinder that the New Rochelle Humane Society (now the Humane Society of Westchester) had a litter of puggle/lab/shepherds up for adoption. We went there because they allowed us to bring Abby, so she could meet and choose her brother, (our girl loves all humans but is selective with other dogs). There were two boys in the litter, the first one came out and quaked with fear when faced with Abby! He was terrified; he’s not the one. Then the second boy came out. A little tough guy. He stood right up and tried to stare her down. It was almost comical as he was so small and skinny and she was most definitely not. 

There he was, so young, so fierce, like a little bully. And in my mind I’m already planning dinner and looking on Petfinder and deciding upon the next day’s errands...when I hear my husband say, “That’s the one!  We’ll take him.” And I hear the shelter volunteer agree.  <What??  Wait!  Him?  But he challenges her!> And my husband knew...that’s a good thing.  So, Grady became ours. They frolic and rough house like two boys...and he brought a sweet chaos to our home. We love him just as much, and just as sweetly.  He found us, he chose us. (Though I’ve never been able to tell what he’s thinking the way I can with Abby, those puggle eyes are a mystery to me…)


And the years roll on, we all have our ups and downs. Abby is now 12, Grady is 6, and sometimes, he jumps on her to play, and her back legs aren’t as strong as they used to be...Perhaps a new pup for Grady to play with?   


There are so many wonderful rescue groups in this area.  They do the most amazing work, finding homes for the thousands of dogs in need; beautiful, loving, pure-breed, half-breed, designer breed, mixed breed, mystery breed, dogs that might languish in shelters for years, or lose their precious lives. The people that do this work are true angels.


So we looked on Petfinder, filled out applications, looked some more...sometimes the cute pup in the pic that you fell in love with goes home with someone else. And that’s okay, because they are the lucky ones, they found a home. And then, a few weeks ago, we saw a litter of “small breed” pups that came up from the south by Happy Life Animal Rescue. Our application approved, we drove to Brewster for the adoption event. Four of the seven littermates were there, all boys, all playing, a rolling ball of puppy joy. We fell in love with a little brown fellow. Our daughter held him for a long time, and we were smitten. Sadly, we then learned that he had been promised to another. (Can I brag about a 9-year-old child that didn’t cry or carry on even though the disappointment was so real that her Mom was about to burst into tears!) Meanwhile, all the other littermates were gone. All of them.


Silently we drove the hour home, and as we turned onto Playland Parkway, the phone rang. One of the boys was indeed available, could we come back? We turned around and went back, and there he was, a little white dog with brown spots and the sweetest disposition of all. Scoopy. Our new boy. Meant for us.

And the sweet chaos continues.

<If you have a rescue story to share, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..>


Moses and Holly Keep on Truckin’

By Pastor Sherri Falco

The big blue truck with the Bread of Life sign on the side has become a familiar sight in Rye as it makes its rounds “rescuing” excess food from local supermarkets and distributing it to shelters and soup kitchens throughout the area. Somewhat less visible, perhaps, are the two furry faces peeking out the truck window on any given day.

One of those faces belongs to Holly, a black Boston terrier mix adopted from the North Country Animal League. From the moment we met her, she has been a bundle of energy and joy. “Exuberant” would be a suitable adjective to describe her. Holly loves life and lives it to the fullest. We have tried unsuccessfully to train her on several occasions in various obedience classes, but she has steadfastly remained her own dog.

There happened to be extra room in the truck one day, so we invited her along for the ride. One ride is all it took. Holly was hooked. Now she loves to ride in the truck, invariably in the front passenger seat, and often sneaks in uninvited. Holly has become the unofficial Bread of Life canine helper. She insists on being involved in all of the action and will give up her front-row seat in the food rescue truck to no one.

Our first rescue dog, Moses, who was adopted from SPCA in Briarcliff, has been demoted to backseat passenger since Holly’s arrival. He is a shepherd mix, a bit timid in nature, with warm brown eyes that captured our hearts from the moment we saw him. Although he is lucky enough to have a backyard of his own in which to play, he literally jumps for joy when we ask, “Moses, do you want to go for a ride in the truck?” His preferred method of riding is with the window open. His ears flap in the wind and his nose captures all of the wonderful scents wafting by. Moses, in the final analysis, seems perfectly content to play second fiddle to Holly.

The Bread of Life Food Rescue & Pantry, which is run from our home in Rye, has grown to feed over 10,000 people per week in southern Westchester County. Our dogs are part of the family and, thus, part of the Bread of Life team. There is constant activity at our home in terms of both people — volunteers, clients, visitors — and also food intake and distribution. Holly and Moses are in the middle of it all, enjoying every second of it.

The story of our rescue dogs is the story of lives redeemed. It is the story of hope, which is a central focus of the Bread of Life. We endeavor to bring not only food to those who are hungry, but also to give hope and help for a brighter future. Holly and Moses themselves went from abandoned to loved, from hungry to well-fed, and from rescued to rescuers. Perhaps, it is only appropriate that they have a front-row seat in the Bread of Life truck.

Photo by Geoff Tischman

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