Puppy Love

She had to borrow the truck from Miami Animal Rescue to deliver one wounded dog to a foster home, but when she pulled back into the parking lot, Jacquelyn Johnston realized that she had to save another one. “I heard Wooo-oo-ooo!” howled Johnston, mimicking Penny the 98-pound bloodhound’s introductory statement. “I thought, ‘Oh no! She’s huge, and beautiful, and her eyes are completely crusted together so that she can’t see.’” Soon, Penny was blindly hopping in the truck, on her way to a new loving foster house with a furry pocketful of eye drops.

She might be a self-professed “sucker,” but Johnston puts all of herself into healing these abandoned animals’ wounds, both physical and emotional. Many people know Jacquelyn from her days operating the independent Miami art gallery Faktura. But these days, she’s moved her digs to Broward and her passion to pooches. She makes homemade holistic pet treats with her company Fit ´n’ Sit, offers animal training classes, and operates the unconventional animal rescue service Faktura Pet Projekt. Her greatest success to date is with a Black Lab mix named Lazlo, who “had gotten sick and was sold to people who trained [dogs] for fighting,” she remembers. “He was found abandoned and chained up. He weighed 53 pounds, his teeth were broken, and half of his ear was ripped off.” She sighed. “There was no way I was leaving the shelter without him.” Since being snagged and nursed back to health, Lazlo’s now up to 93 pounds with a full coat of silky, black, pettable hair. (He’s a total lover.)

Her inability to turn down a paw in need has been the saving grace for many straggled, homeless fur-friends; it’s also been financially draining. Fortunately, the good work hasn’t gone unnoticed: vets have jumped onboard with both assistance and advice; friends and family have been letting out rooms to foster dogs; and individuals have been forking over donation dollars. The first official fundraiser for the Faktura Pet Projekt non-profit kicks off today at New Moon (2440 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors) from 1 to 5 p.m. and is bound to attract animal lovers countywide. There will be giveaways, games, adoptable pals, food – and, most likely, an awful lot of pet photos and anecdotes exchanged. There’s no cover, but you can help fight the good fight by purchasing drink specials, snacks, or by just forking over a few bucks. “I’ve never had a lot of money to spend on them,” admits Johnston, “but I have all of the heart, and a little bit of time.” Pitch in and bring your well-behaved pooch to the party, that way you can both shake hands with the new dog in town.
Sat., Sept. 15

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Jamie Laughlin