A holiday display and animal rescue in Merrick


The Merrick community is likely familiar with the Heide Family Holiday Display, located at 2509 Yale Place. Former competitors on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2018, the Heide family — comprised of homeowners Karen and Lenny and their son Phillip — have a 45-year-old tradition for their house to be the brightest on the block.

This year, their Christmas-décor display is back once again, and aside from spreading holiday cheer, the family is raising money and collecting donations for the Freeport-based Bobbi and The Strays Animal Rescue.

On Dec. 11, from 3 to 5 p.m., those interested in donating and meeting some dogs from the rescue were stop by the Heide’s home.

“We’ve been doing the lights for 45 years,” Karen Heide said. “We just started doing the fundraiser for Bobbi and The Strays.”

Bobbi and The Strays houses about 50 dogs and over 100 cats between two locations — Freeport and Glendale, Queens.

“We bring in animals in terrible, terrible condition,” Mary Talon from the rescue organization said. “We constantly get animals in. We find them — people dump them. There are multiple reasons they are being dumped at the shelter, some are feasible and some are not.”

The Heide’s were collecting monetary donations, as well as food and supplies, such as wet and dry cat food, wet and dry dog food, cat litter, paper towels, dish soap, laundry detergent and bleach.

“They are doing a monetary collection as well as donations,” Talon explained. “We also have an Amazon wish list. Monetary donations are very important — and greatly appreciated — because we have very large vet bills.”

Bobbi and The Strays also offer volunteer opportunities for both dogs and cats.

“As far as being a volunteer, we have a volunteer form — it is on our website,” she Talon said. “People can download it and email it back — the email is on the website as well.

“If you want to be a dog walker, you have to take a training,” Talon added. “We call it a four-dog-walk-training, where you will be trained on the different types of security that we have for our dog walkers. Cat volunteers are needed as well — cat volunteers will come in, sit with the cats, help socialize the unsocialized ones, play with them and brush them.”

For animal adoptions, all of their animals are listed on their site, bobbiandthestrays.org, which is updated frequently. Adoption applications are also available online. In an effort to find their animals the best homes, they do conduct home visits.

“We try to get the best adopters that we can possibly get,” Talon said.

The Heide Family will continue to accept donations for Bobbi and The Strays through the end of the holiday season. They invite anyone in the community to come down and see their Christmas display — the lights are on from about 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night.