Four years ago, Susan Cava brought a just-rescued Maltese mix to Tara Santorelli's Bedford Hills pet grooming shop, The dog had matted fur, was not neutered and was in need of shots—and someone to care for him.
The two women, Yorktown natives who reconnected on Facebook a few years ago, worked together to prepare the dog for eventual adoption. Santorelli gave the dog a makeover and Cava, through Rescuzilla, the nonprofit animal rescue organization she founded, took the dog to the veterinarian for shots and fostered him until a home was found.
Enter Susan Trumpbour of Bedford. She had just lost her beloved pet of many years and wasn't even thinking about adopting. But when she met Astro, she fell for him right away.
"I never thought about rescuing a dog but now I think they are more special than purebreds," said Trumpbour. She was so moved by the experience of finding a new dog through rescue that she suggested the idea of a fundraiser for Rescuzilla.
The trio planned and hosted their first beauty event at Santorelli's store on Babbit Road four years ago and including Monday's event, have raised over $4,000 to date for Rescuzilla, based in New York City.
Trumpbour brought a supply of popular skincare products and donated all of the proceeds from raffle baskets and makeup and skincare sales; half of the proceeds from Sabria Brows' eyebrow appointments were donated to Rescuzilla.
"Every dime counts," said Cava, describing a recent surgery on one dog's teeth that totaled $344. Neutering averages $200 and shots and antibiotics add up. All of the dogs the organization rescues are vaccinated, vetted and spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
On Monday, a pit bull mix named Winnie and a chihuahua named Benjamin Button had accompanied Cava to Pawfection to meet and greet supporters. Yorktown residents Olivia and Liliana Caruso had come with their mom, Kristen Capello, to support the organization and play with the dogs. The girls, along with Santorelli's son George DiLuna, stroked the dogs who were enjoying the attention.
"There are so many misconceptions about pit bulls out there and bringing one from Queens to spend the afternoon in Westchester is a good thing," said Cava, noting how gentle Winnie was being with the young kids. Rescuzilla works with adopters to match personalities whenever possible.
Santorelli, who donates collars and leashes for the rescue dogs, seemed pleased to be hosting the event. Pawfection will celebrate its 15th year in business this summer.
To donate to Rescuzilla or adopt Winnie or Benjamin Button, visit their website.