Homeless man wanted his dog kept safe. NJ family stepped up
A Monmouth County family has taken in a senior dog while his owner struggles against health issues and homelessness.
Rich Mickey of Woodbridge was displaced from his home in December. Among the 61-year-old’s biggest concerns was his pet, a dachshund named Jersey he’s had for 12 years.
Mickey told New Jersey 101.5 he's dealing with medical issues and is waitlisted for an accessible apartment. When he turns 62 this spring, he said, more age-restricted housing will become an option, increasing his chances of securing a place.
Mickey said while he's staying at a motel booked through Middlesex County Social Services, he isn't allowed to keep his dog with him. So he turned to a non-profit group, called Dollar for Doxies.
Word spread through its Facebook page and a supporter brought the case to Hazlet resident Russ Cote, who now is fostering Jersey at home. Cote said this is 'par for the course' for his family, which has been fostering dogs for a decade.
Their own 2-year-old Labrador, Hank, peacefully is coexisting with his 'senior' house guest.
Cote's mother is among the founders of 3 Hearts 4 Paws. The Monmouth County-based nonprofit helps foster more than 250 dogs a year, through a network of homes. He estimates there are currently dogs within three counties that they've helped place.
A generous donor sympathetic to Jersey's story fulfilled the non-profit's entire Amazon wishlist of supplies, amid social media attention. There's now food, bedding, toys and more being used, as needed by '3 Hearts, 4 Paws' foster dogs.
Cote has been surprised by the amount of attention this case has gotten. He hopes it will mean more awareness of not just the foster animal operation, but the option in general.
Mickey hopes to be in new housing by April, where he can be reunited with his longtime canine companion.