When she isn’t attending to clients as an Allstate Insurance agent in Malverne, Karen Bury, 47, devotes her time at home to looking after another type of clientele — one that walks on four legs.
As an avid volunteer for Fur Babies, a 10-year-old local dog rescue not-for-profit that saves puppies from animal shelters with high euthanasia rates and fosters them in volunteers’ homes — Bury opens her arms to several canines at a time, providing proper care until they are adopted.
“I’ve always been a dog lover, and I love volunteer work,” said Bury, who is currently housing two fostered dogs — Bolt, a 5-month-old deaf and blind Australian shepherd mix, and Bug, a 7-year-old beagle and bulldog mix. “There’s a satisfaction in knowing these animals are safe, happy and healthy.”
Founded by Kristen Prelesnick, 30, and Kimberly Hock, 41, both of whose business cards identify them as presidents, Fur Babies has enlisted a core team of 12 volunteers from both Nassau and Suffolk counties to rescue dogs from shelters — such as the Center for Animal Care and Control of New York City, the New Haven Animal Shelter in Connecticut, and the Town of Hempstead and Smithtown animal shelters — and nurture them so they become more socialized for new owners, a mission that has resulted in 300 matches and counting.
In preparing rescued dogs for a second chance, Fur Babies offers a gamut of health services — ranging from spaying and neutering to full medical exams, complete with necessary inoculations — that exceed the minimal care offered at pet stores.
Given their not-for-profit status, Prelesnick and Hock garner funding for these veterinary services and expenses mostly through donations, adoption fees and fundraising events. Recently, Fur Babies received a $1,500 check from a contest sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue, in which customers donated to a service organization of their choice.
The organization also cares for canines with donated supplies — blankets, collars, paper towels, wee-wee pads — courtesy of fellow volunteers and various supporters. In addition, Prelesnick and Hock welcome the contributions of volunteers who offer their homes.