Pet society

A pet service that eliminates the risk of adoption


March 27, 2022

By Jeff Wilson–

A cat can have nine lives, but Cotton would probably trade eight for the one he’s currently living.

Dobbs Ferry resident Kristine Neufeld affectionately cuddled her ten-month-old adopted black kitten – Cotton was one of 70 rescued from a hoarder – as she spoke in an interview about the feline and where she was acquired: Rock N’ Rescue, a South Salem-based nonprofit animal (primarily cat) adoption agency. What sets this shelter apart from many others is that it emphasizes pet compatibility with adopters, providing bonding therapy for both, and earning its motto, “We rescue animals to save people”.

“Rock N’ Rescue uses an adoption process that attempts to bridge the gap between what the family wants and what the adopter can do,” said Neufeld, strategic communications manager. “Their application asks questions like, ‘What type of animal are you looking for? Is the house noisy? Are there children? Other animals?’ A nervous cat is no good in an active household, for example,” she pointed out.

“My husband and I had a very stressful atmosphere at home. We were looking for something that wasn’t stressful. We feel like this guy (Cotton) is our guy; we adopted it together; it was a connection of sorts,” she concluded.

Anyone visiting Rock N’ Rescue, located in a house overlooking Lake Truesdale in South Salem, might be surprised to find mostly empty cages. It’s a good thing: All animals are in foster care and only brought to the shelter when adopters come for what co-executive directors Juli Cialone and Marla Valentine call curbside adoption. After being interviewed by Cialone to ensure compatibility with their future cat, adopters engage the animal in a “meet and greet” in their car, where they are coached by managers to bond with the animal : how to hold it, caress it, massage its chin, stomach or scratch its head. An exclamation – “I’ll take it!” – almost invariably follows.

A feature of Rock N’ Rescue is the temperament test, which involves observing a cat’s reaction to kitchen timers, going out in a carrier, having the fur under its neck petted – all to see what he tolerates.

“We have a good idea of ​​how a cat can handle stress,” said Valentine, a New York state-certified master social worker in nursing homes for many years. She introduced Derp, the pug-headed Persian she was cradling.

“Derp has been temperament tested with children, with adults, with dogs and cats,” Valentine said. “She is capable of being handled very well. I can lift her,” she demonstrated, “I can put her on my shoulder…there’s really nothing I can do to this cat that will cause her to bite or scratch. Rock N’ Rescue serves families of children with autism, Tourette syndrome, depression, suicidal thoughts or PTSD.

Neufeld had more praise.

“They want to have a relationship with the adopter; they want you to send them pictures,” she said. They’re honest, she claimed, (“They’re not trying to prank you on your cat, like telling you it’s a purebred.”) And reasonably priced (about half off what many other shelters charge). Neufeld also cited Rock N’ Rescue’s

work in the community. Programs such as Nursing Home Kitty Therapy and Kitty Yoga Wellness are available.

Rock N’ Rescue has an impressive track record in South Salem. Since Cialone moved the organization from his native Rochester, NY, in 2017, the number of adoptions has exploded to 2,200 per year.

To find out more, visit the website: Rock N Rescue – Pet Adoption Rescue Service – Rescue Pets to Save People (


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