Of Weehawken’s dogs, rescued and abandoned

One pet ‘tail’ ends happily, one tragically

[Editor’s Note: The following is one Weehawken resident’s account of his encounter with an abandoned dog last weekend. However, we are also sharing, in a sidebar, a tale that ended more tragically, and the residents involved in that one are seeking support.]

Around 10:20 on a recent evening, I’m in my basement in my Weehawken home enjoying “Better Call Saul” when I pause the show to go take a leak. I walk upstairs to the first floor, hit the head, and I’m coming out of the bathroom relieved when my wife hurries downstairs from the second floor, saying, “Someone is ringing the bell!”
I didn’t hear any bell because at that moment the same someone is pounding on my front door.
I step out onto our sun porch and look through the glass on the right side of the door to see a heavyset dude with a beard.
“Who are you?” I inquire.
“Is this your dog?”
“We don’t own a dog. What do you want?”
“Someone left a dog tied up to your railing.”
I look through the glass again, and tied to our left handrail down the stoop is a medium-sized dog in a sweater.
A dog in a sweater. What the hell?
“We don’t own a dog,” I tell him. “We’re calling the cops.” Thinking this is some scam to lure us outside, my wife dials the local police.
“I’m calling the cops, too!” says the heavyset dude with the beard. I see him walk into the middle of the street where a woman with a dog is waiting.
I notice he has a dog, too. It occurs to me: they’re two neighbors out walking their two dogs and they’re not pulling a scam.
I head down to my garage, grab a big billy club, and let myself out into the driveway. I approach the dog, who is at first fearful and cowering. He is obviously someone’s pet: well cared for, healthy. He’s wearing a fashionable doggy sweater with a paw print design on back. He has a nice leash, hooked around my railing.
I turn on my flashlight and check the side of my house. Maybe some young kids were out walking him (it is a him) and they’re now making out on the side of my house? No one is in the shadows. The young couple with their two dogs comes closer and I apologize for responding as I did. They apologize for alarming me. I text my wife to check and see if it’s the neighbor’s dog. A moment later she writes back NO.
It dawns on me that someone tied this dog up and walked away from it.
“I have a video camera…” I say to the couple, indicating the camera by my front door.
“Oh. Maybe you’ll see who it was?”
Another couple comes along, two young guys, and they begin to play with the dog. They don’t seem to know what’s going on and they get the dog agitated, barking.
“I’m sorry, but would you please not agitate the dog? The dog was nice and calm.” The two dudes move on.
The other couple goes back across the street and I ask where they’re from. They live around the corner. Which is where they head after we exchange some more “Who would do this?” small talk.
I’m left with the dog and my billy club. The dog is a real character, a friendly puppy who doesn’t know just what the hell is going on. But he’s taken to me and sits near, tail wagging while I pet him to keep him calm. For a moment I think, “Maybe this is our dog…” and I realize that our cats might have an issue with that, especially Roger, who’s only seen dogs on TV or through the window.

Caught on tape

A moment later the police arrive. The officer tells me this kind of stuff goes on all the time, people abandoning their dogs like this. He said they even throw them over the cliffs.
“What kind of a person would do that?” I ask.
“Yeah, right?”
He takes the leash and guides the dog to a SUV and they drive off.
I go back inside and check my security camera and find this footage of someone in a hoodie abandoning their pet on my property. It’s heartbreaking to watch.
I’m trying to empathize with the person who would do this, trying to put myself in their place and relate to how difficult it must’ve been to walk away from their dog. It’s so desperate. I’m trying not to be angry about it, to be glad that the dog is going to a shelter and won’t be destroyed. At least I think he won’t.
It’s late now, but in the morning, I’ll check and check the fate of the dog my wife dubbed “Mr.
The next morning, I do check. The police say the pup has already found a good home.
I’m glad this story had a happy ending. But I beg any of you seeing this to do the right thing and not abandon your dog while I’m trying to watch “Better Call Saul.”


Justice for Marley: Can you help?

The following is an account of what recently happened to a Weehawken resident, as sent to the newspaper by her friend. Note that this is only one party’s side of what happened. However, we have a recent update and the resident can use even more support.

When you bring a new puppy home, you dream of long walks on nice days, cozy nights cuddling, lots of treats, love and kisses.
Sure, having a dog, or any type of pet, is work, but the majority of pet owners wouldn’t have it any other way.
Weehawken resident Jackie Chong’s dream of becoming a pet owner was no different. When she and her three sons recently decided the time was right to get a dog, Jackie headed to a local pet shop in Union City where they fell in love with the cutest, cuddliest bulldog puppy. They were told he was ready to go home with them. They named this precious package Marley and the family fell in love with him.
After only two days home with his new family, Marley became ill. He was so bad that he was unable to eat or drink and was enduring days of diarrhea, which gave him a sick, emaciated look.
Jackie and her boys were heartbroken but determined to get him better, taking him back and forth to the vet.
With each visit it seemed the news got worse; one vet said the dog was only four weeks old, far too young to be adopted. The doctors also said that Marley had not been given his shots as she was initially told by the seller.
After three weeks, there were mounting bills from three different veterinarians, a very sick puppy, and a heartbroken family trying desperately to save the dog they had not yet had the chance to enjoy. The only cuddling and kisses Jackie was able to give Marley were laced with prayers that he would one day turn the corner and his health would make some improvement.
Jackie and her family remained hopeful for the slightest bit of good news, but once Marley began having seizures, they received the devastating news that he most likely had the distemper virus, a contagious and very serious viral illness with no known cure.
“We didn’t know for sure if Marley had distemper, and we all prayed so hard that was not the case,” said Jackie, who took to social media for added prayers and support for her dear dog.
Sadly, Marley did, in fact, have distemper. It was just a matter of time. He finally succumbed to his illness on Valentine’s Day, with his heartbroken family by his side.
Jackie vowed to not allow Marley’s death to be in vain, and set out to ensure future pet owners would be spared this gut wrenching heartache.
She is looking for other people to add support when she goes to court in Union City this coming Monday. Also, her veterinary bills have climbed into the thousands and a gofundme account was set up by her son at https://www.gofundme.com/932qxekk. She is a single mom and borrowed money to help pay for Marley’s bills.
The court date is Monday, March 7, 8:30 a.m. at the Union City Court House.
“If you have had a similar experience with a local pet shop, please come and make sure justice is served,” said her friend, Natalie Giusto Ferrullo, who wrote this account.
As an update, last week, on Feb. 29, someone contacted a friend and anonymously donated a new bulldog puppy to Jackie and her family — not to replace Marley, but to help the family heal. They lovingly welcomed “Bella” into their home and were ready to begin the neat journey in their lives. But on March 2, Bella was up all night coughing. Jackie’s son took Bella to the animal hospital on March 3. They ran tests and said it was pneumonia kennel cough and they were not equipped to handle it, so she had to take Bella to another hospital (just like Marley) for more tests. Bella was brought to a hospital in Oradell, where bills ran high. Jackie is on a tight budget. The family was shocked to have this happen twice, and is seeking any help they can get.
On her Facebook page, Jackie wrote of Marley, “This was my baby’s last pic. He did have that virus and he’s no longer in pain. My heart is so heavy right now. I have never felt pain like this before but I know Marley knew how much he was loved and we tried to do everything in our power to get him healthy but he had to pass on to doggy heaven. Thank you so much my friends and family for all your prayers.”
To learn more or donate to the vet expenses, go to gofundme link above or contact Jackie at jackelineechong@gmail.com.: — Natalie Giusto Ferullo

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