The Rescue Paw Foundation teams up with London Jewelers to find animals a forever home
Some people will say that there are few more precious things in life than the love of an animal. Others will say that diamonds are the most precious to behold. Combine them together and you have a passionate group of people determined to help rescue dogs and raise money for their care.
The Rescue Paw Foundation was founded in 2011 by Tim Claire, founder and president of the nonprofit organization based in Glen Cove. The public corporation only consists of four directors and a part time bookkeeper, but according to Claire, it’s the behind the scenes work and building infrastructures that sets the foundation apart from others.
“We play the role of making sure animals have an adequate facility, and essentially, giving people a source of funds to run a good organization,” says Claire, who maintains the office, tax records and works with people to prepare grant money. “We’re a low key group so we’re a little more anonymous.”
Claire and the rest of the foundation is strongly committed to giving back 100 percent of the dollars raised for the cause. He says that everyone on the board is a volunteer, with the big picture being to build up rescue facilities for the animals.
“We don’t see a lot of people in this field trying to build infrastructures and it’s more the commitment than anything else. We have to attack parts of the whole rescue model that’s not very well served,” says Claire. “We’re trying to be out in the field and give people the resources to start from the ground up by identifying the needs in the chain of rescuing animals and getting them out to a family.”
Rescue Paw Foundation is investing long term to treat animals until they can be certified ready to go to a loving home. A major benefactor in that quest has been Candy Udell, the president of London Jewelers. It was Claire’s hope that this new partnership would have a bigger impact both locally and on a more national scale.
“We’re looking at doing something close to home and we’re interested in funding for adequate facilities and money for spay and neuter. Candy is a benefactor and deals with the commercial; it’s different than what the foundation is doing,” says Claire, adding that there is an arms-length relationship between the two as Udell does not serve on the foundation’s board but does work with them. “When we started discussing Candy’s interest in doing more, we looked at various features, family corporations and foundations and we found that there’s a lot of cross purposes and a lot of emotion in animal welfare.”
Udell has served as president of the Manhasset location for the last 40 years, and her love of animals goes deeper than just contributing financially. She has literally put her own paw print on the cause by creating a sweet and meaningful line of affordable jewelry that anyone with a pet past or present should add to their collection.
“I started making jewelry and Our Cause For Paws jewelry collection, is sold in all the London Jewelers stores. A portion of the proceeds from that collection is donated back to the Rescue Paw Foundation to do the work they do,” says Udell, adding that Rescue Paw helps to build shelters, fund transports and spay-neuter programs. “It’s my passion and I thought by making the jewelry, it could go back to rescue dogs in communities and shelters and all things related to helping animals.”
To date, Udell has been able to rescue more than 2,500 dogs and cats and counting. The dogs come from all over the world and Udell’s store has played host to many local adoption events. And although she believes in local adoptions and working with local shelters first, she also works with other places as well.
“I was able to help two shelters out east; ARF (Animal Rescue Fund) and Southampton Animal Shelter. Together they all took 41 dogs from the Chinese meat market,” says Udell. “The fact that we’ve [Rescue Paws] been able to help so many rescues and shelters and save so many animals is wonderful.”
As for the design, the signature paw motif is iconic and is a constant symbol throughout the jewelry line, which includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Udell chose the paw print specifically with a heart in it, adding that the store can tailor pieces for shelters should they want a custom piece.
“We are happy to do that for customers and we run a program where shelters and rescues can contact us directly through the London Jewelers website. We can set up a promo code and their followers can go online to purchase the pieces,” says Udell, noting that new designs get added twice a year to keep things fresh.
“Our beaded bracelets are our best seller because you can wear them with everything. We also have a small tag pendant on a chain in silver, white, yellow and rose gold and with diamonds as well.”
In addition to the jewelry line for Rescue Paw Foundation, London Jewelers has also designed pieces for other charities and organizations including pancreatic cancer, the JCC, the Katz Women’s Foundation, Tourette’s syndrome and a yellow rose collection for Alzheimer’s.
With a perfect match partnership for the past six years, both Udell and Claire have enjoyed the benefits of their companies working together. London Jewelers runs several adoption events at the store including Champions for Charity, which invites a handful of rescues to bring dogs. Udell says that she tries to host events in the fall and spring at Wheatley Plaza and Americana Manhasset. She is hopeful that another event will happen early this summer.
“To work with so many local shelter is a blessing. It’s something that I’m really proud of and above all, I love being able to help animals in need,” she says. “I love teaching people about kindness, compassion and caring for other living things, especially those who can’t speak for themselves.”