• February 19, 2020
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Queens Chronicle

Best friends indeed!

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Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2019 10:30 am

For heartwarming holiday stories you can’t beat, look no further than the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign. At petcofoundation.org/holiday-wishes, you’ll find great tales of the love between pets and their human companions, including two from Queens. Those two stories together won $30,000 in grants for Korean K9 Rescue, a Queens-based group that saved and adopted out the two dogs.

The pooches whose owners’ stories were found so compelling by the Petco Foundation are Ernie, left and above with his owners, Sarah Marlowe and Ariel Arias, and Annie Oakley, top and right with her buddy Ralph, who is on the autism spectrum.

“The first time I met Ernie, I picked him up and he kissed me on the nose,” Marlowe wrote in her story about the dog she and Arias adopted in 2017. “From that moment I knew he was part of our family. We have laughed every single day since he came home with us. He is tiny but has such an adventurous spirit. He absolutely loves life and every moment with him is pure joy.”

Especially endearing to Marlowe and Arias is the way they’ve gotten to know so many of their neighbors better through Ernie’s love of meeting people, which sparks conversation.

Ralph’s mother, Lenore Koppelman, wrote that the dog they adopted this October is the family’s hero. “When Ralph is having an autistic meltdown, she rushes in to check on him and licks his face until he laughs,” Koppelman said. “When he doesn’t want to leave his room because he would rather be coding on his computer all day, her need to be walked forces him out into the sunshine and over towards the park. When Ralph is struggling to understand how to connect with other children on the playground, Annie flops her tongue out of the side of her mouth and looks around a little bit cock-eyed, and kids come rushing over to meet her and squeal over how adorable she is.”

Ernie and Annie Oakley and their respective families live in Astoria. Korean K9 Rescue, which is based there and is run by Gina Boehler of Middle Village, is online at koreank9rescue.org. The Petco Foundation awarded its holiday grants last week.

— Peter C. Mastrosimone

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