For The Love Of All

Independent/Lisa Tamburini

Calling all animal lovers, owners, and rescue alumni. The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons will have a jam-packed schedule of events to celebrate the furry ones in our lives when it holds the 20th annual ARF Alumni Reunion/Pet Celebration Day on Saturday, May 4 at its adoption center. This free community event will be held from 10 AM to noon and promises activities for two and four-legged beings.

Let the pooches sample fresh meals made from healthy ingredients, courtesy of Ollie Dog Food, and certified organic dog treats from Fetching Fields, while humans sip on beverages from the Hampton Coffee Company and nibble on Dressen’s Donuts. Spin the wheel with Solid Gold for a chance to win a free bag of America’s first natural and holistic pet food. If you think your dog is up for the challenge, enter it in the agility and obedience contests with Matthew Posnick for a chance to win a prize.

“The event is open to all pet lovers, whether or not they have a former ARFan,” said Jamie Berger, ARF’s director of marking and communications. “This year the celebration will feature a wellness theme as well as a low-cost vaccine and microchip clinic. We are hoping the community will take advantage of these low-cost services,” she said. At the event, ARF will offer a $25 fee per vaccine for unaltered cats and dogs and $10 per microchip.

“And we can’t wait to reveal the winner in The Independent’s ‘Cutest Pet Contest,’” she added. There were 220 entries in the contest, which have been narrowed down to winners in five different categories.

In true Hamptons fashion, ARF is fluffing things up with a tailored animal wellness experience. “Ask the Animal Behaviorist” with Dr. Barbara Pezzanite will help you understand the inner mind of that creature living in your home. You can also learn about hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage, Reiki, and cold laser therapy for dogs with Randy Handwerger, who has worked with ARF since 1994, when she was a professional animal photographer.

In celebrating the love of all animals, of all ages, the Alumni Reunion/Pet Celebration Day additionally welcomes professional artist and representational painter, Carol Saxe, the artist/author of “Privileged Pups.” “I have always had rescue dogs. I currently have two ARFans, my daughter has one, and my son and his family have one also,” she said. “ARF is just a great organization with great people and I’m happy to contribute in any way that I can.”

Her new book will be available for $10, with proceeds going to ARF. Attendees are welcome to have a five-by-seven-inch sketch done of their dogs on site.

Landscaper, designer, and consultant Anita Cheikin Heiser will hold a plant sale on-site to benefit ARF as well.

Now in its 46th year, ARF has saved more than 25,000 cats and dogs. Through its Op-Cat program, it has successfully spayed or neutered more than 20,000 cats. The no-kill shelter rescues animals from East Hampton to New York City and continues to partner with organizations in South Carolina, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

“ARF has grown into an organization that can now be part of a national effort to end euthanasia of homeless animals across the country,” said ARF executive director Scott Howe.

A fairly new initiative is ARF’s focus on animals that have been at the shelter for over a year. “We really try to focus on the animals that have, for whatever reason, been overlooked for adoption,” Howe said. There are currently nine adult dogs and 19 adult cats available. “Another way that we started to measure our success is by how quickly animals get adopted,” he said. “And so that means for us, we need to put special focus on adult dogs and cats, because they always take longer to adopt.”

The ARF Adoption Center is located at 124 Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott. The ARF Thrift & Treasure Shop is at 17 Poxabogue Lane in Sagaponack. To learn more about ARF or to adopt a dog or cat, visit

To view this week’s feature, click here.

To view all of the entries and winners of The Independent’s Cutest Pet Contest, click here.

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