Shake paws with your new pet from CLAWS rescue

Franny the dog is available for adoption
Franny is available for adoption

Out Pets

Leanna DeSheplo has volunteered at the Closter Animal Welfare Society rescue for 14 years. DeSheplo got closer to the group’s work the longer she stuck around. At the time, she started out scooping kitty litter.

On Monday nights, the fresh volunteer went to a small location where they kept the adoptable cats.

“‘I’ll do anything!’” DeSheplo shared in a phone interview. “Yeah, so I did that for a little while, and then that place kind of disbanded, and I decided I wanted to learn more about this group.”

With that said, CLAWS was founded Dec. 4, 1969, in Closter, N.J. The rescue, as stated on their website, has a network of dedicated volunteers that rescue, foster, and find forever homes for abandoned and unwanted pets in northern New Jersey.

The five-decade-old rescue is 100 percent volunteer based and is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Eventually, DeSheplo began adopting and fostering cats, until someone asked her if she could help with a dog. Before she knew it, DeSheplo became the head of the entire dog side of the organization.

“I loved it. I was a cat person my whole life, but then when I rescued this dog, I thought: ‘This is my lane.’ I have to get in this lane, and I have to keep going with it because it’s calling me,” said DeSheplo.

She explains that it’s not just the pets who are wonderful, but the people, too.

“I love everybody. The people that come through here are really wonderful,” said the trustee. But, that’s not all DeSheplo has to say. She has some advice. She wishes everyone would be a little more patient in their pursuits to adopt and foster.

“It takes time. It takes time, you know, and I want people to just give these animals more of a chance to decompress, to learn and to come out of their shells,” DeSheplo said.

On May 12, the rescue will have a fundraiser for the second year in a row called “Designer Purse Bingo” at the Central Unitarian Church in Paramus.

To help, readers can sponsor an animal in need of life-saving surgery, and purchase food, litter, medication and more that goes directly to the benefit of CLAWS’ rescue pets.
Meet Franny and Mimi!

Mimi the dog is available for adoption
Mimi is available for adoption


They say good things come in small packages and Mimi is definitely a small (and floofy!) package. She weighs a whopping 4 pounds, and she is somewhere around 7-9 years old. Mimi would love a lap to cuddle on and to be with her person. She is okay with other dogs and cats, too. Since she is tiny, we prefer she go to an adult-only home.

If you’re interested in adopting Mimi, please fill out an application at Again, only completed applications will get a response. Mimi is only adoptable within 90 miles of Closter.


Franny the dog is available for adoption
Franny is available for adoption

Franny has been in our care for over one year now. It’s devastating for us to think about. This sweet girl deserves the very best home, and it seems that not a single soul is interested in her. Franny is on the younger side at about three or four years old. She’s definitely a bully breed mix. We believe she may be pitbull/beagle. Additionally, she’s friendly and loving toward all people. She’s super mushy and relaxed when hanging with her person, but she also has a ton of energy. As a result, Franny could benefit from living with a person, couple or family who have an active lifestyle.

Franny loves to play fetch and go for hikes. All together, she now has two weeks of obedience training under her belt with a wonderful trainer! She’s about 55 pounds and the most ideal family for Franny is one without very small children – only due to her size and energy level (not at all due to her personality). Bigger kids, around ages 10 and older, would be fine for Franny, but no little ones. She could knock a little one over while she’s got the zoomies!

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.