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Budding Journalists Raise $827 For Saddle Brook Woman's Dog Rescue

Hackensack High School journalism students from all grades raised more than $800 for Pawsitively Forever. Seated is Laura Witzal with rescue pup Allie. Photo Credit: Contributed
Allie has cancer and was rescued six years ago. Another puppy bit her nose, so they call it a "blow hole." Photo Credit: Contributed

HACKENSACK, N.J. — Hackensack High School spread holiday cheer to a local dog rescue organization right before Christmas, donating $827.50 to Pawsitively Furever of Hackensack.

The HHS journalism class hosted a Penny War just before Thanksgiving.

Each year of students competed to donate the most loose change and spare dollars, with each grade vying to raise the most for its chosen charity.

Competition was fierce but the freshmen class narrowly beat out the seniors. The ninth graders were subsequently surveyed and chose the Hackensack-based dog rescue organization to receive all funds raised.

On Friday, Dec. 22, Laura Witzal of Saddle Brook, who runs Pawsitively Furever, came in with Ally (see photo), who was rescued from a pit bull fighting ring.

So far, Pawsitively Furever has rescued 800 dogs. The animals are rescued from “kill shelters” (mostly Texas) that usually keep dogs only three days before terminating them.

Witzal says she uses a network of people who go to shelters to tag the dogs for rescue if they are not adopted by others within three days, and then take the dogs.

“I have fostered about 300 myself,” Witzal said, noting that Ally helps train puppies.

She pointed out that at least one of her rescued dogs became a hero.

“It was a 140-pound Great Dane mix named Big Jack, who woke up the husband of his adopted owners by flipping the guy’s legs as he napped," Witzal said.

Once the man was awake, Big Jack went to a four-year-old’s bedroom where the child was having an asthma attack."

The Pawsitively Furever Center in Hackensack is where adoptions happen, she added: “We have a meet and greet room, which is better for the dog.”

Witzal said HHS’ donation will help immensely.

“We supply food, crates, a van, medical assistance for the dogs, to help adoptions,” she explained, noting that medical expenses are steep for some of the dogs to be adoption-ready.

She said there was an average three week turn around time with most dogs, with the organization covering costs during that time.

“This money will go to medical expenses. Five puppies were six in ICU, ran $10,000. Down to about $5k now. We usually run in the red.”

Witzal and Pawsitively Furever can be contacted at Their website is:

“All we ask is you give love and training to the dog you adopt,” Witzal said.

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