It doesn’t matter how much he’s spent, how much he’s lost, or what the future might entail, Pedro Rosario will never stop saving animals.
Four years ago, the 39-year-old from the Bronx, NY left his job at an animal control center, where he felt too many animals were being put to sleep, and decided to cash in his retirement savings – around $73,000 – so he could open up his own shelter.
NYC's Top Dog & New Beginnings was established, a local no-kill shelter where abandoned dogs and cats can stay as long as necessary, even if that means forever.
“We stay with them, we take care of them,” Rosario tells Ellen’s Good News. “We get animals from animal control, from people in the Bronx that find them roaming the street. I help people that lost their apartments, who have dogs and cats and now they’re in the city shelter themselves. I’m helping them keep their animals here so they don’t have to give up their dogs.”
Rosario, a father of three, grew up on a farm in the Dominican Republic, and says his duty and commitment to animals stems from his childhood. As soon as he turned 18, he began working for the ASPCA, and later found a job at animal control, where he was employed for 16 years.
When he realized he could be making a bigger difference on his own, he left his job, cashed in his savings, and opened up his own place. It’s small, but Rosario does all he can afford and then some. The average cost to run NYC's Top Dog is $7,500 to $10,000 a month, and a lot of it comes from donations.
“I’ve had dogs now for over two years because they’re not placeable, they’ve got behavior issues, but I’m not going to put them to sleep,” Rosario explains. “It’s not their fault, it’s us. The humans owe it to them. Someone should be able to help them and take care of their issues. It’s hard for me to see an animal in the street and not be able to help them.”
In addition to taking care of his rescues, Rosario is also involved with local schools, regularly bringing in students to teach them how to care for and groom animals, and he hosts disabled kids once a week.
Though Rosario is struggling to keep his doors opened, he lives in the moment, and recently received nearly $16,000 in donations after his story received local news coverage. He says that even during financial hardship, he cannot turn down an animal in need, and points to an emaciated dog named Samantha that was brought to his door only yesterday.
“When this person showed up in front of the shop – everything stopped. Everything stopped for this dog,” Rosario says. "We may be struggling, but when you see this animal, everything goes to the back burner. You don’t think about tomorrow, you think I have to help this dog now.”
You can help support Rosario and his mission via his website: http://www.nycstopdoginc.com/donate.html