Treats help dogs find new homes

AUSTINTOWN – Instead of the latest video releases, customers at the Family Video on Kirk Road admired the chocolate Labrador / shepherd mix prancing around the aisles Saturday.

”The first Saturday of nearly every month, we show up with our adoptables and the people just show up,” said Paula Cipriano of Legacy Dog Rescue, an organization that takes in stray dogs and places the animals in foster homes and eventually adopted homes.

The organization even does a home inspection for prospective homes the dogs will live in.

”We have referrals from the pounds in Trumbull and Mahoning County, and with the dogs rescued off the streets or living in vacant homes in Youngstown,” Cipriano said. ”They’re just dogs who are left behind.”

The group has developed a unique relationship with the video store over the last two years.

”I’m not sure when it first started, but it works out pretty well,” said Kathy Carelli, the assistant manager at Family Video.

The store is the setting for having kids and dogs taking a photo with Santa.

There’s a Christmas cookie walk, and a junk-in-your-trunk benefit that allows folks to sell items out of their cars like a garage sale. There’s even a summer event when rescue volunteers chain themselves to dog houses outside the store for up to 12 hours, seeking donations.

Upcoming benefits include a cornhole tournaments and a March 1 fundraiser planned at Lil’ Paws winery in Lake Milton called ”Mardi Paws.”

Saturday though, the dog blankets were sold out within the first hour, leaving volunteers to sell Valentine’s cookies.