Fundraiser deemed a major success

Dancing for Dottie held at Mohawk House


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  • OSCAR's Cassie Kowalchuk, far left, with Mohawk Hose owner Rachael Scro and Dottie with Ryan Gallagher.




  • The Nerds perform during the Dancing for Dottie fundraiser.



Sandra “Pepa” Denton, of the popular 1990's rap group Salt-n-Pepa, made a guest appearance at the event. The animal activist made a surprise appearance at the Mohawk House to take photos with guests and support the cause.

By Scott Baker

— Over 400 tickets were sold and numerous additional donations were made to make the Mohawk House’s first-ever "Dancing for Dottie" fundraiser a major success, said restaurant owner Steve Scro.

Entertainment during the June 19 event came from musical performances from the Nerds and the Bridesmaids, and mechanical bull rides were offered to all guests at the event. All of proceeds were donated to One Step Closer Animal Rescue, or OSCAR. More than $7,000 was raised from the event, according to Scro.

Dottie, an eight-month-old pitbull mix, was rescued by OSCAR after being used as a bait dog in Paterson dogfighting circles.

“She had stiches every which way,” said OSCAR founder Cassie Kowalchuk.

Bait dogs, she explained, are used to help fighting dogs practice outside of the fighting ring. Animal abusers usually opt for a smaller, non-aggressive animal that won’t fight back when being bitten by the fighting dogs.

Now being called a “pocket pit” for her diminutive size, Dottie was exactly what the abusers were looking for.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow to see this type of abuse,” Scro said.

As staunch supporters of OSCAR, Scro and his wife Rachael, hope to make Dancing for Dottie an annual event to help with the rescue organization’s vet bills.

Now, after several surgeries, training lessons and major veterinary bills, Dottie is on the path to recovery.

“She was skin and bones when we got her,” said foster owner Heidi Gallagher, of Ogdensburg. “Now she’s filling out very nicely, all her fur is coming back in.”

This is Gallagher’s 45th rescue foster, and she says Dottie is as loveable as all the rest, though it took her some time to learn how to act like a normal dog.

“She had no clue how to play,” she said. “But after a little bit of time she plays very well with our other three [dogs].”

Kowalchuk agrees that Dottie has come a long way to go, but still needs a bit more time before she’s ready to be put up for adoption.

“It was clear she had never been in a house before,” Kowalchuk said.

Now completely housebroken, Dottie needs some basic obedience training while they allow more time for the infections to clear up completely.

“We really want this to work out and have a happy ending for her,” Kowalchuk added.

“She’ll make the perfect dog for someone one day,” Gallagher said.


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