The doorbell rings, and suddenly barking comes from all around the house. A group of four dogs come tumbling to the door seeking an opportunity to drown the new visitor in heavy slobbery licks of love. The three largest dogs continue to hound you for love, while the smallest stands his ground barking at you and demanding an explanation for your existence. Diana Algarin reigns in the dogs.
Algarin is the owner of Bleu’s K9 Rescue Inc. Currently, Bleu’s is based out of Algarin’s home in Maybrook. Algarin founded Bleu’s in January of 2017. Bleu’s is a non-profit volunteer-based rescue that takes on all breeds.
“I’ve always had a passion for animals,” said Algarin. “Especially dogs.” Algarin has volunteered with dogs for 14 years. At one point, she even considered becoming a vet-tech. Algarin currently owns four dogs of her own.
Bleu’s was named after her gray pit-bull, Bleu. Algarin brings Bleu with her to volunteering events at schools, and more. Algarin brings Bleu into events to teach about dog bite prevention and how to address other issues, like a dog running loose in a public place. “It’s education, as much as rescue,” said Algarin. “You’re their voice.” Algarin also uses Bleu to evaluate how friendly potential rescue dogs are.
Just last year, Bleu’s rescued 56 dogs. A majority of the rescued dogs come from the City of Newburgh. Algarin has worked with the City of Newburgh Police Department for the past two years to rescue these dogs.
Algarin laughs while she strokes Dash, her smallest dog. “What’s funny is when people ask me [what I do full time], I say I’m a stay at home mom [for two boys] but I don’t stay home,” said Algarin. “If I were to even get a part time job, I would have to lessen what I do.”
Although the job is full time, Algarin still takes steps to make work easier. Bleu’s currently takes on volunteer sto work at events. Volunteers handle dogs at events, sell merchandise, and more. In order to become a volunteer, one has to reach out to Bleu’s through email.
Bleu’s depends heavily on the work of fosters. “The more homes we have that understand what fostering is,” said Algarin. “The better chance we have to save more dogs.”
The cost for fostering is all paid for by Bleu’s. Algarin does ask that foster parents take dogs to events to promote the rescue group. For Bleu’s, foster families “are a lifeline” because of the lack of a solid facility.
Bleu’s has a list of requirements for adopting and fostering dogs. One of the more tedious requirements is a two-week guest shutdown. For two weeks, guests cannot be in the home, in order for the dog to decompress from being in a new place. “I know that sounds crazy,” said Algarin. “What? 2 weeks so long! But that’s nothing compared to how long some dogs need to decompress.”
Occasionally, Algarin has had a dog returned to the rescue. “Sometimes it just had to do with placing the wrong dog with the wrong family,” said Algarin. “They need time to adjust and understand that you [the adopter] are their person and their family.”
Algarin recalls one time that Bleu’s had to take a dog from a potential foster family. The family applied to be a foster through Bleu’s foster to adopt program. This program allows the family to foster the dog for two weeks and if the situation is compatible, the family adopts the dog. The program benefits the potential adopter and Bleu’s. Through this program, Bleu’s can keep the communication open and if the situation isn’t compatible, Bleu’s can remove the dog.
After a few home visits, Algarin found the family not to be compatible with the dog. “They would leave the back door open and go into the fenced in area,” said Algarin. “But still, you don’t let the dog go in and out as you please. Also, the children were allowed to be in the backyard with the dog unsupervised, and that’s against our policy completely.”
Incompatibility between owners and dogs sometimes results in adopted dogs being returned. Despite returns, Algarin doesn’t just give up. “If we know it’s worth it, and we know the dog is a great dog,” said Algarin, “we absolutely will put in the time, and the money, and the effort for it.”
Algarin has never once thought about giving up Bleu’s Rescues. Every now and then, she’s had a hard time juggling between family time and Bleu’s. But regardless, her family has always been supportive. “It’s now my life and my passion, this is what I do,” said Algarin. “I’m lucky enough and I’m grateful enough that my husband works full time, that can support the whole family.”
For Algarin, the worst part of the job is not being able to take on a dog.
Occasionally, Algarin has had to turn down a dog because they’re too reactive or not safe for children. “I hate to say it but us being a small rescue,” said Algarin. “We can’t save them all.”
Algarin finds that the job can get emotional more than once. “I’ve had a few [dogs] that have been closer to my heart than the others. I can’t keep any of the dogs that I have [rescued], because I have four of my own,” said Algarin. “I’ve cried when dogs have been adopted out. So, it’s emotional in a good way.”
Algarin dreams of having a permanent facility. Occasionally she drives around local properties and imagines the work that could be done. Currently, it’s too costly and time consuming. For now, a facility is just a dream.