BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y.—Each morning, Sophie Silverman wakes up in her Bedford Hills home an hour earlier than most 15-year-olds, though it is not for last minute homework or an hour of television. The early start is to walk her dogs, all twelve of them.
More than half of them are not technically hers, however, as Silverman has been involved with animal rescue for the last six years, after her family realized she should have a dog of her very own.
Instead of going to a pet store, she went to a rescue shelter so she could foster the animal instead. The dog was the first of many in a line of foster dogs the family took care of, igniting Sophie’s admiration for saving animals. To date, the family has now fostered more than 100 dogs, falling so deeply with a few of them they adopted three.
Instead of getting complacent, Sophie and her mother Sharon, a Mount Kisco-based therapist for over thirty years, decided to start a company to foster dogs and adopt them out. A New Chance Animal Rescue was incorporated in December, and it allows the pair to travel to shelters and rescue the dogs themselves, known as “pulling” a dog.
“I felt really involved before, but there’s a different feeling when you are actually pulling the dogs yourself rather than working with someone who is pulling them for you,” Sophie said.
Recently, the pair went down to North Carolina to rescue 17 dogs, with twelve of them coming from a shelter with a 76 percent euthanizing rate. Three of the dogs were scheduled to be put-down by 5:00 p.m. the day the two of them arrived. “We literally pulled the dogs off of the euthanization list,” Sharon said.
Sophie and Sharon were able to find foster homes for a group of the dogs brought back from North Carolina, but had to put seven in their own home until other foster homes opened up.
“We operate through foster homes, and we need homes to be able to bring them to. We have a bunch here, but it’s not the ideal,” Sharon said. “And the more foster homes we have the more we can save.”
Sophie is hoping one day she can build her own rescue shelter, one that is very sensitive to dogs’ needs and able to make them more adaptive to life outside. Until then, she has her new organization that is looking to grow from the ground up. To find more about A New Chance Animal Rescue, click here, as well as finding out how you can either foster a dog, or adopt a dog from the foster care provided by the organization.