WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A local woman’s love for her dog has inspired a rescue and rehab center that is saving four-legged lives in the Tri-State Area.

As CBS2’s Alex Denis reported, the nonprofit group Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation – or SNARR Northeast – is giving hope to animals with diseases or disabilities.

The founder of the group, Courtney Bellew, saw her life change with one look at a dog named Frankie.

“We see this white pit bull with gorgeous, bright, crystal-blue eyes, and he’s just sort of sitting there calm while all the other dogs were going crazy,” Bellew said.

In that moment, Bellew knew she wanted to save animals. But she had a specific focus.

“That’s how I got into Special Needs,” she said, “because it was really by fate, because we met Frankie, and Frankie was deaf.”

Bellew took Frankie home and opened SNARR, which is based in Westchester County. The group saves dogs with serious medical conditions — from high-kill shelters in the Tri-State Area and across the country.

One dog named Lily is battling cancer, while a puppy named Levi suffers from a neurological disorder that throws him off balance. And otherwise healthy Charlie was hit by a car and left with two broken legs.

All get second chances thanks to the foster families willing to nurse them back to health.

The foster families do an incredible job caring for these animals, Denis reported. But what SNARR Northeast really needs is a rehabilitation facility where live in staff can give the pups around-the-clock care, which they need, before they can be adopted.

“Some of them need surgery, some of them need physical rehab, some of them need wheelchairs,” Bellew said.

And SNARR Northeast needs help to make all of that happen.

“Because we do focus on special needs our vet bills are probably a hundred times a regular rescue,” Bellew said.

Their efforts make a difference, and foster families are rewarded when dogs go on to live happy and healthy lives in permanent homes, Denis reported.
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“They were never going to be an adoptable dog, and I’m watching that same dog run around the yard and play with kids, and play with families,” said Andrea Ramos, a SNARR foster pet parent. “It’s amazing. It really is.”

For more information on how to donate, foster or adopt, click here.