Have yourself a furry little Christmas

Anyone looking to make a homeless dog’s holidays a little brighter can purchase toys, collars and other items through the Burlington County Animal Alliance of New Jersey’s Amazon wish list.

The Burlington County Animal Alliance of New Jersey, took in 15 dogs that had been rescued from a Shamong dog breeder who was keeping more than a hundred dogs in inhumane conditions. Moorestown resident Daina Collins, one of the Alliance’s fundraising chairs, took one of the rescued dogs, Annie (a West Highland Terrier), for a photo with Santa.

Nearly a month ago, the Burlington County Animal Alliance of New Jersey took in 15 dogs that had been rescued from a Shamong dog breeder who was keeping more than a hundred dogs in inhumane conditions, according to officials. Shortly thereafter, the Alliance received an influx of messages to its Facebook page from residents asking how they can help.

Moorestown resident Daina Collins, one of the Alliance’s fundraising chairs, said the organization recognizes not everyone wants to make a monetary donation, so one of their members suggested an Amazon wish list for the holidays. Anyone looking to make a homeless dog’s holidays a little brighter can purchase toys, collars and other items to make their stay in foster care a little more homey.

Collins said when they learned about the situation in Shamong, they knew they needed to help. She said their mission is not only to save dogs’ lives, they also strive to make people aware that dogs are being abused and mistreated.

“When we saw that atrocity going on, we wanted to step up,” Collins said.

The dogs came from a situation where they had received little to no human contact, officials said. Collins said they knew the puppies would get adopted quickly, so they offered to take in the older female dogs who had been used for breeding.

Most of the dogs they took in were between 2 and 8 years old, and they were in need of various degrees of medical care. She said the dogs had spent most — if not all — of their lives penned outside, so they were uncertain of how to respond to human touch.

“They needed some time to actually settle in and learn how to be loved and really figure out how to be a dog rather than just a breeding machine,” Collins said.

Collins took in two foster dogs herself. She said one came around quickly and has learned how to adopt to the new, more socialized environment. She said that dog is progressing at a nice speed and will be ready for adoption soon. The other dog is a little more hesitant and may need a little more time before the dog is adoption ready.

The ultimate goal is to help all of these dogs settle in and get ready to join loving homes, Collins said.

The Burlington County Animal Alliance is a completely nonprofit organization with 100 percent of the adoption fees going back into the organization. When they took in the influx of dogs, they quickly realized that they were in need of some essential supplies.

None of the dogs was house trained, so the organization is in desperate need of puppy pads and cleaning supplies, Collins said. Many of the dogs are scared of humans, so they also need no-slip collars to ensure the dogs don’t run away during their walks. All of these items are available for donation on the wish list.

Collins said purchasing something on the wish list is a tangible way to help a homeless dog. Any collar, bed or toy will stay with the specific dog that receives it. She said when a dog wears a collar or sleeps in a bed, the item maintains the dog’s scent. Once adopted, these items will go with the dog to their new home and having that familiar item with their scent on it will be of comfort as they settle in.

The wish list has been up and running since the end of November and will continue until shorty after the New Year. The Burlington County Animal Alliance of New Jersey is entirely volunteer-run and is always seeking volunteers to work at adoption events, foster a dog or simply stop by to play, walk and bathe a dog.

Members from the organization are at the Mount Laurel and Moorestown PetSmarts every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents are encouraged to stop by and find out more about volunteering.

Items purchased from the wish list can be shipped directly through Amazon to the nonprofit by selecting the organization’s address at checkout. To purchase an item on the wish list, go to www.amazon.com and select “Find a List or Registry” under the “Accounts and Lists” tab. For more information on the nonprofit, visit http://www.bcaaofnj.org.