Hope in the Hamptons

Written By: Justine Faeth

My name is Justine Faeth and I wrote the book, “Chat Love”. I was born and raised in Long Island, lover of all animals, and day dreamer. All the proceeds from the sale of my book go to donating to charities. When I’m not working on my second book I am signing petitions, writing letters, making phone calls for animal rights and attending fundraisers in Long Island. This short story is how I became an animal activist/advocate and Eastern Long Island is part of the reason why.

It all started because of my dog, Tony Meatballs. A few years ago my dog Bianca passed away after having her part of my life for fifteen years. My mom purchased Bianca when I was about ten years old from a pet store. Bianca passed away from cancer and it broke my heart. I grew up always having a dog, loving the feeling of an animal being loyal and caring for you. Several months later, I was finally ready to get a new dog. My mother and I went to Prime Restaurant in Huntington and it just happened that North Shore Animal League was having an adoption event with Beth Stern hosting. They had a mobile trailer full of dogs and cats waiting for their forever homes. I went in the trailer wanting to take all the animals home with me. There was a gorgeous three month year old Saint Bernard puppy, a mother and daughter cat pair, and a two year old puggle. However, the first cage had a little yorkie looking at me with his big brown eyes. I held him in my arms with his matted hair, skin and bones body, and rotten teeth. A kind North Shore employee told me that the tiny guy was five years old, will need to have several teeth removed, and that he came from a puppy mill. He cuddled into me, making my heart melt. After dinner, I made my decision that I needed that little guy in my life. When I went to get my new buddy our eyes locked and I saw his tail wagging, I knew I made the right choice. The feeling I had when I saw him again was nothing like I felt before. It felt like my heart was going to burst through my chest. I took him in my arms for the second time and didn’t let go till we got home. That night I learned what a puppy mill is, it is hell for dogs that are stuck in a wired small cage crushed with several other dogs, alive or dead. They live in filth and never feel the sun or the ground. They are forced to breed till their bodies give up and then are killed because they are no longer profitable. Their puppies are ripped from them and are sold; usually sick because of the horrible conditions they were born into. It tore at my heart finding out how Tony lived and wanted to help end this torture for other dogs.

A year later, Molly Girl came into my life. When she was about eight she was found on the streets showing signs of abuse. The Huntington shelter she was placed in almost euthanized her but luckily someone adopted her minutes before it happened. After several years of her and the other female dog in the house not getting along, the owners had decided to find Molly a new home or put her back in a shelter. Molly was a fourteen year old medium sized collie mix… basically she would not have an easy time getting adopted. The owner was giving out flyers about Molly and my mother and I tried to help her get adopted but when time ran out we took her in our home and had her for a wonderful year till she passed away from old age. Molly was a sweet girl and I wished we had longer time with her. I also wish I could erase her abusive past; she was a gem of a dog.

When Molly Girl passed, it was before Christmas and my mother and I didn’t feel like putting up a Christmas tree to celebrate the holiday. We were both too upset about the loss of our Molly. We decided to make a dog’s Christmas wish come true and we went to North Shore and adopted Penny Lane, a six year old poodle who was from a puppy mill as well. Penny Lane was at the shelter since October and overlooked by many people because her jaw was deformed. At the puppy mill Penny Lane’s jaw was broken by someone’s evil hand and never healed properly. At first she was shy and nervous but now she’s just Penny Lane, lover of dresses, walks, and starting to warm up more to humans.

Besides rescuing dogs, I attend a lot of charity events with my mother; who is an animal activist/advocate as well. I often travel to the Hamptons for many fundraisers for their shelters. It’s a beautiful thing to witness people’s big hearts as they are willing not only give up their Saturday night but to donate their money too. It’s a remarkable thing to be part of the solution instead of the problem. When I attend one of the fundraisers, my hope for humanity grows. Viewing the hospitality of everyone becomes contagious and you can’t stop wanting to help more. You are willing to go to more events, donate more money, and even find yourself looking to adopt a furry friend (if you find yourself at an animal charity event). The donation tickets are very expensive but worth every dime in the end. I could use those funds for shopping in the Hamptons but I have no regrets. Saving lives is priceless!

I’ve been to the Hamptons more times than I can recall, taken as a child enjoying all Long Island has to offer. As I grew up I explored more, enjoying wine tasting with beautiful views of the green grounds. I appreciate the country mixed with the ocean feeling and let my mind imagine a world where animal abuse will end one day. The locals of the Hamptons are people that have taught me that giving is worth more than spending. I am not a wealthy lady, but I feel like a million dollars being part of the wonderful and kind people of the Hamptons that are generous, heartfelt and soulful.

You can check my website www.justinefaeth.com to see photos of the charity events I attended and information on my mission to end animal abuse.