When Chief (now Ben) was picked up by Jersey City Animal Control he was so frightened he managed to squeeze into a space underneath our kennels, and wouldn’t come out. But we knew exactly who to call about a fearful and emotionally shut-down Rottweiler who otherwise wouldn’t have had much of a chance: Sammy’s Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center. Sammy’s Hope executive director Darren Young drove up to the shelter that day to meet Chief. And he brought with him a helper: a pit-mix named Chuck whose job is to interact with shelter dogs and determine their comfort level with other dogs. Chief seemed to come out of his shell a bit with Chuck, and he left LHS with Young that day. Within two weeks he was adopted by a Sammy’s Hope volunteer.
Sammy's Hope, based in Sayreville, is named for a large brindle pit bull/boxer mix who stole the hearts of a group of volunteers at the Edison Animal Shelter back in 2010. The group, which has about 100 volunteers, continues to focus on bully breeds as well as fearful dogs. Young says he keeps capacity relatively low in order to focus on dogs that need extra enrichment. “We can give dogs extra help, and we have success with fearful
dogs by having them work with other dogs…. We focus on NJ dogs, where there is a real need, and we are very comfortable working with pit bulls. They are very misunderstood dogs, very sensitive and cuddly, and also strong.”
Young cultivates personal and professional relationships with shelters like LHS, “cooperative animal welfare partners that have the same goals we do. Kim [LHS Director of Operations] knows the type of dogs we work with, and her list is almost always right.” So far this year, Sammy’s Hope has transferred 17 dogs and 9 cats from us.