What do a dog named Chester, Katie Couric, and Brazilian dancing have in common? The answer is ARF, The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. ARF provides for the health and welfare of dogs and cats on the south fork of Long Island, offering shelter and adoption services, medical care, spaying and neutering, as well as community outreach and humane education programs.
Chester, a beautiful, yellow lab mix, is one of the foundation’s beloved rescues- and its mascot in a way. Kristina Lange, ARF’s development coordinator, tells Chester’s tale, “He was rescued by a group of students at Ward Melville High School in Brookhaven (Long Island). They have an organization called ARK (Animals Rescued by Kids). Chester was found running loose on the streets. Ms. Lange came across Chester at the Brookhaven Animal Control Center during the holiday season of 1999. He was all skin and bones at the time, but she knew that a little tender loving care could make him a happy, healthy dog, ready for adoption.
Within a week, Chester was adopted. Unfortunately, he was returned shortly thereafter. Following numerous adoption trials, it became clear Chester wasn’t right for a household with children.
Chester was becoming a long-term resident of ARF. Soon, his photos and story were posted on ARF’s website. (ARF is a member of petfinder.com, a national on-line adoption service that showcases animals for adoption as well as the programs the fund offers.) At last, a woman from Sayville saw Chester on the website, had a friend drive her to the shelter and she adopted him on the spot. Chester’s new owner says she and the pooch are perfectly happy together in his new home.
Another ARF rescue involved Katie Couric and “Masie”, her Cairn terrier. According to Lange, “A woman came in with a dog she found on Montauk Highway. The office manager ran the tags and found Masie belonged to Couric. The dog had somehow slipped out of the house.” So, it turns out Couric— who had attended ARF’s annual benefit three days before— has ARF to thank for the return of her much-loved companion. That is some pretty good canine karma.
Other tales of celebrity rescue include Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffet, both of whom adopted ARF cats.
This August, ARF’s benefit is ‘Bow-Wow Brazil,’ and the stars will come out to support the cause in true South American style. Chuck and Ellen Scarborough are honorary chairs of this year’s event; a dinner/dance with live and silent auctions. Festivities will also include Brazilian music, dancing, and food. As always, however, the real guests of honor will be the ARF adoptees themselves.
For more information visit: arfhamptons.org.