BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A 10-week old Lab/Collie mix named Stella was pulled from the shelter in Swainsboro, Georgia and brought to the Home For Good Dogs (HFGD) in Berkeley Heights for one reason: to help her find her own forever home.
They broke out the champagne on November 28, 2015 for Stella, who not only found her family, but her adoption marked a huge milestone, the 4,000th adoption at HFGD since their doors opened in 2010.
When it was announced that the Perrone family of Madison was the 4,000th adoption, the family was delighted. For Keri and Enrico, and their nine-year old daughter, this was an extra special day of bringing home their very first family dog.
"We knew we wanted a rescue dog from Home for Good Dogs," said Keri. When they learned about Stella, Keri and her daughter came out to meet her. However, the adoption was delayed because Enrico could not attend the official "Meet and Greet" with the dog until Saturday.
The "Meet and Greet" is the final step in the adoption process at HFGD. "If we see that the dog isn't reacting to the family, we will tell the family that this dog isn't right for you -- let's try another dog," said Rich Errico, co-founder and treasurer of Home for Good Dogs Rescue. "A lot of people don't like to be told 'No'."
Enrico Perrone, a police officer in North Plainfield, could not get the evening off from duty -- the "Meet and Greet" would have to wait until Saturday.
Keri and her daughter were anxious as they left Stella on Friday with the fear that another family could adopt her.
When they arrived on Saturday, Stella was indeed available, and when the Perrone family learned that their adoption marked the 4,000th adoption, tears of joy were in Keri's eyes as the family welcomed Stella to her "Forever" home.
Home for Good Dogs began five years ago when a group of 8 volunteers thought it would be a nice way to give back to the community, said Errico.
With a goal of saving five to 10 dogs a month, the group of volunteers came back from their first trip with 30 dogs in their first transport. "We adopted all 30 that weekend," said Errico. "We looked at each other and knew we were on to something," he said. "We average 850 dogs a year."
Although Home For Good Dogs is known to be strict in their application process, their policies come down to the safety and well being of the dog.
"When the dog walks out, we are 99.9-percent certain it went with the right family," said Errico. "Not only are we helping the dog, we are helping the family -- the completeness of the family. The last piece of the puzzle -- it just fits."
Click here to learn more about the new HFGD facility to be built in South Carolina to treat the rescue dogs for conditions such as mange and heartworms and get them back to a good point of health before bringing them to New Jersey.
Home for Good Dog Rescue (HFGDR) is a 100% foster-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) dog rescue established in 2010 in Summit, New Jersey with offices in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. They rescue dogs from high-kill shelters in South Carolina and Georgia, which are overflowing with unwanted dogs on the brink of being euthanized. They then transport the dogs to New Jersey where they are placed in loving foster homes while they await adoption into loving homes for good.