MORRISTOWN, NJ - When Wendy Gottsegen, Executive Director of the Morristown Synagogue Temple B'nai Or, turned to a local rescue to find the companion for her poodle Fiona and cat Daisy, little did she know that the dog she was adopting was once a stray in Sochi—one of the dogs that became famous after the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.  The Morristown based rescue Sochi Dogs: Extraordinary Strays is a Morristown based rescue organization, run by a mother-daughter duo. Tanya and Anna Umansky started saving dogs from the streets of Sochi after learning about the crisis. To date 100 dogs have found homes, the 100th dog being adopted right here in Morristown.
“Wendy came to us with several criterion and a list of dogs she liked on our site. We were able to narrow it down and it turned out that Klava was the one,” says Anna Umansky one of the co-founders.
Klava was found on a cold January night begging for food by a grocery store with her two newly born puppies. That night the shelter was overcrowded. There was simply no room for any additional dogs but it was clear that without help neither Klava nor her puppies would survive.  Maria Plotnikova, a Sochi Dogs volunteer took in the family of three in hopes that a couple of dogs would get adopted freeing up space.
“We say when you adopt, you save the life of your dog and a dog out on the streets,” says Umansky, “This couldn’t have been more true for Klava.” .
"These women have created a shelter where they really know the dogs", said Gottsegen. "They guided us on the right choice for our family (9 yr old, cat, existing dog) and then entrusted us with a well-adjusted, healthy dog that is exactly as they promised. They take life-long responsibility for these dogs, and take the time to make the right match.  It's really important for families looking for a dog to know that. And Klava is perfect! She is adjusting and getting along with everybody in the house. I can’t believe she was ever out on the streets.”
"Its a lot of work and certainly takes up a lot of our time but its so rewarding and essential", said Umansky. "We can't just stop what we are doing. When you meet these dogs and can see how kind, affectionate and grateful they are. To think that they could have been killed on the street with a gun or poisoned  is shocking.
Individuals looking to adopt or help stray dogs can visit to see available dogs, donate, or participate in the organization’s “Toast the Sochi 100” fundraiser.