Jean Shafiroff and a furry friend. (Photo: Adriel Reboh/PatrickMcMullan.com)
"You know you're just a crazy dog lady," my ex-boyfriend said, proving he can still divert a conversation away from his own transgressions. "Yes," I said. "And I'm meeting lovely people through the animal charities."
And so, I found myself talking to Susan Allen
, Southampton Animal Shelter's "Angel" and Board Chair, at a cocktail party, this year's SHAS Gala Chair Jean Shafiroff
threw to thank supporters. We were at Sequin, the new Southampton store animal activist sisters Linda Reink and Kim Dryer opened. They donated all monies spent on their affordable, style forward baubles that night to the shelter.
"Aside from being an open shelter, we have a 96% live release for all dogs," Allen told us. "Being an open shelter means you take in everything. So we're way beyond almost every shelter in the US that way. Our trainer lectures at all conferences around the United States." We had a hard time picturing this impeccably presented woman presiding over doggie play sessions at the shelter. But she does. "There are sometimes as many as 24 dogs at a time," she continued. "Playgroup exhausts them."
Linda Renk and Kim Dryer at Sequin on Jobs Lane in Southampton. (Photo: Adriel Reboh/PatrickMcMullan.com)
There are many others quietly donating their time and services to make certain the animals are adoptable. Skittish dogs are socialized. Aggressive behavior arrested. Terry Meekins from Shinnecock Hospital spends most of her lunch hours and weekends giving free medical attention. The shelter also provides low cost spay and neutering, and free service to Pit Bulls. Gina Martini is in charge of the volunteer program. Take the Saturday morning orientation and discover how rewarding spending time with these animals can be.
Kim Dryer and Linda Reink have been involved in animal causes forever. They have stores in Palm Beach on Worth Avenue and three stores in Newport, RI, where the sisters raised half a million dollars for their shelter and started a bunny sanctuary. "In our Manhattan showroom we have a bunnies hopping around," Kim said. "They're all house-trained, spayed and neutered." Many people who buy bunnies for their kids on Easter set them free in Central Park in July.
Jewelry and bunnies -- how happy is that!