Niagara Gazette —
One important thing that sets the group apart is its insistence on home visits before it will allow adoption of its rescued animals. Members have made more than 300 home visits already. Adoption fees are $200 to $300, but the past year is evidence people will pay in support of such care for the rescued animals, including those who have been abused and those who come from puppy mills.
Their experiences prove that following one’s dreams doesn’t always make for happy days every day.
“There’s a lot of sadness to this, a lot of things I’ve been exposed to I don’t want to know, like the puppy mills stuff,” Kwiatkowski said.
But, they persevere. “We focus on the positive,” Kwiatkowski added. “We think, ‘Look at the life I saved today.’ “
“It feels great,” van Harssel added. “You just know you’re using what you know how to do for a bigger good.”
For those interested in supporting their efforts, there are many ways to do so.
The thing Heart of Niagara needs most is temporary storage space. The van Harssel garage is filled to overflowing with donations of food, cages and other rescue-related items. The group also needs a continual stream of support in the form of foster families, volunteers and fundraiser attendees.
Some of their upcoming events include meet-and-greets at area malls and at festivals including the Lewiston Gardenfest and the Lewiston Art Festival. There will be another major fundraiser at Lockport Locks on June 14. Those interested can also like the group on Facebook by searching for “Heart of Niagara.”
In the meantime, families like the Dorgans of Wheatfield are benefiting from the efforts of Heart of Niagara. Janelle Dorgan said that Gracie, now 10 months old, has brought a great deal of joy to the household, which includes daughters Jillian, 8, and twins May and Marlee, 5.
“The dog has literally changed our lives,” Janelle said. “She is just awesome.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION To learn more about the Heart of Niagara animal rescue organization, visit www.heartofniagara.org or call 345-7129.