When Curt and Bobbie Arnel started adopting dogs from rescue groups, their eyes were opened to what these organizations go through to ensure the safety and well-being of countless dogs and cats. Wanting to do something to help, the Arnels, of Merrick, founded Rockin 4 Rescue, a nonprofit whose sole purpose is to give back to rescue groups on Long Island.
The Arnels’ found their first rescue, a Maltese names Oscar, at A New Beginning about 10 years ago. He was older dog, and they cared for him for three years until he died.
“We were heartbroken,” Curt told the Herald last week. “And we decided after a few months we were going to get another dog. We decided we would only want to get a rescue dog, because, you know, we’re not in favor of puppy mills and that sort of thing. With a rescue dog, you get to give a dog a second chance.”
In early 2017, the Arnels adopted Shane, a mutt, and the experience was life-changing.
“We found out that there were all these rescue agencies, and it’s like a whole network,” Curt recounted. “As we got more and more involved in this rescue stuff, we became aware of the plight (of) not only dogs, but also rescue organizations themselves, because they’re always short on funds.”
Not long after they adopted Shane, the Arnels founded Rockin 4 Rescue, and now, six years and one pandemic later, the couple has raised $20,000 for rescue organizations.
Rescue groups are responsible for every need of the animals they care for, from food and water to making sure they’re walked several times a day and are up to date on shots and veterinary treatments. “It’s a very expensive process,” Curt said, “and obviously, they can’t charge their patients.”
Curt, a musician on Long Island with the bands Off The Record and Classic Clapton set up a collection jar on nights he was performing. “If it was a light night, maybe 20 bucks would go into the jar — a good night, over 100,” he said. “We just figured that instead of looking for tips for the band or anything like that, we would make it a jam with a mission, and people responded well to that.”
In 2019, the couple decided to host Rockin 4 Rescue’s first benefit concert, at the now-closed KJ Farrell’s in Bellmore. “That was packed,” Curt recalled. “We had a whole bunch of the best local bands playing, and people donated raffle gifts. We raised a lot of money. It was very successful.”
A second benefit concert was planned for 2020, and delayed twice because of the pandemic. Last year it finally took place, at a larger venue, the Warehouse, in Amityville.
“It’s a great venue, and it’s bigger than the one we had in Bellmore,” Curt said. “It’s a well-organized, well-run establishment, and very well-regarded in the Long Island community.”
At the end of this month, Rockin 4 Rescue will host its third annual benefit concert, returning to the Warehouse. On March 26, from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m., attendees can enjoy a full afternoon of music, featuring five local bands, for just a $10 donation at the door. Proceeds will be donated to Posh Pets, a rescue group based in Long Beach, and Bobbi & the Strays, a Freeport-based agency. Both have sterling reputations, the Arnels said.
Many Rockin 4 Rescue volunteers are helping to make the concert come together, but it’s something the Arnels say is a labor of love. “It’s our way of giving back to the community,” Curt said, “and to the dogs that can’t help themselves.”
Bobbie added that their efforts don’t exclude cats. “We really are dog people,” she said. “But the rescues we give the money to, including Bobbi & the Strays and Posh Pets, they have plenty of cats in there, and we don’t tell them what to do with the money. So it does go to help the cats also.”
Rockin 4 Rescue helps agencies in other ways too. “We try to do little things when we can,” Curt said. “If there’s a particularly bad situation for a dog — it needs extra money for medical care — we’ll donate more. We try to help out wherever it’s needed.”
The Arnels said the benefit concert is a great deal, and a nice way for people who enjoy live music to spend a Sunday afternoon.
“Our own personal search for the rescue dog of our dreams was successful,” Curt said. “And it just opened our eyes to what was behind the scenes.”
The Warehouse is at 203 Broadway in Amityville. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call or text (516) 459-5704, or visit Facebook.com/Rockin4Rescue.