Castle of Dreams animal rescue is now in Cliffwood

Bianca is a cute dog
Bianca is a cute dog. This pup has quite a history

Out Pets

Castle of Dreams saves animals throughout the East Coast. The rescue group was formed in 2003 and is solely foster-based. This past October was the grand opening of their new Cliffwood location. Although the rescue keeps up to six dogs at a time, rescued pets are placed into their foster network, vetted, and given proper care, love, and attention.

Like most rescues Castle of Dreams has had to adapt to the pandemic. “During COVID we had way more people wanting to foster,” said Director Holly Reycraft. With a great network of fosters, the pet rescue was able to keep up throughout the pandemic and even secured a few grants.

“It’s been difficult. Fundraising in NJ is hard to do online. We are lucky we were able to buy our own building to fundraise there,” said Raycraft. One thing the pandemic truly brought about for the rescue was community. Raycraft speaks on behalf of generous donors in the surrounding Cliffwood community and how one big donor even held the mortgage on their property at one time or another.

Here are two pups that need some love and a home to rest their lives into:

This cute pup has quite a history. It took years to secure her into safety. After a long journey Bianca was being fostered and ultimately adopted by someone who volunteered with the shelter. She was reported as missing in 2016. The shelter’s animal control tried to find her and each time there was a sighting, they had no luck locating her. After being on the run and hiding in the woods, she had found a place she felt safe that had food and water and was able to survive on her own for four years. She is truly an amazing, smart yet terrified girl.

She cowered in the corner for days and began eating once she felt comfortable with us. She even reluctantly let us pet her gently. She walked very well on the leash but always had to make sure someone walked ahead of her, never behind. Some of the shelter staff suggested we introduce her to another dog. And what a difference another dog made. She actually followed the other dog around and perked up and became more like a dog.

When one of our fosters, Bonni, heard of her story she knew she had to help. A few years earlier, Bonni fostered and then adopted a petrified Labrador/basset hound mix named Tubby who has come a long way from the dog we rescued thanks to Bonni, her significant other George, and their Goldendoodle Belle. Tubby met Bianca and now there are three dogs in the house of course!

It took a little bit of coercing and getting Bianca to come out of hiding under the desk (her safe place). She slowly started hanging out with the other dogs on the bed. She loves Tubby and Belle, and sometimes uses them as her pillow when they cuddle. She still won’t eat from a bowl or hand-feed, but if you throw her some pieces, she enjoys the food in the corner. What an adventure our little Bianca had. We hope she knows how lucky she is that someone saw something and said something to the right organization to give Bianca the happily ever after she deserves!

On December 4, 2020, Fluffy and his canine brother Tommy were surrendered to the Humane Society in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Fluffy is a small white terrier mix who is eight years old. Tommy is a small Dachshund mix who is ten years old. They were said to be bonded, and they needed to be adopted together.

Fluffy is a cute dog
Fluffy is a cute dog. He is a small white terrier mix

Plans were made for Fluffy and Tommy to come to the United States in March of 2021. When the “brothers” arrived at the Castle, it was apparent that they were not a bonded pair. In fact, they didn’t even like each other and would growl and snarl when together.

Both dogs were taken to the vet for a thorough check-up. Tommy was medically cleared and placed into a foster home. He was later adopted by a wonderful family.

Fluffy was diagnosed with advanced heartworm disease. He was given medication for a month. We were told that he would need a series of painful injections to combat the heartworm.

Fluffy has been staying at the “Castle” since he arrived. He has been given care, food, and love by the many volunteers. Fluffy has become a volunteer favorite. He is a very friendly, little guy. He likes to play and cuddle. He gets along with all dogs and people.

On May 4, Fluffy went for his first heartworm injection. He handled it very well, and he was released the same day. He is very limited in his activities while he is being treated, and we are all hopeful that he is on the mend.

Once Fluffy’s treatments are completed and he is medically cleared, we will find this sweet boy his forever home with a family who loves him.

We hope that Fluffy’s story will help dog owners realize that monthly heartworm medications can prevent this potentially deadly condition. Heartworm is very preventable, and in the long run, the cost of a monthly pill is much less than the thousands of dollars it will cost to treat a dog who develops heartworm.

Lana Leonard
Lana Leonard (they/them) is a graduate from The College of New Jersey with a degree in journalism and professional writing. They work at the GLAAD Media institute and freelance for publications like LGBTQ Nation while working on their journalistic theory of change project: Late Nights with Lana, a talk show based out of 10PRL film studios in Long Branch, NJ. Lana's mission, in all their work, is to focus on people, their collective truths and how those truths form a community of knowledge towards change.