Shake A Paw Rescue and Adoption helps dogs – and community

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UNION, NJ — Shake A Paw Rescue and Adoption Center is a family business. Officially formed in the spring of 2012, it provides dog rescue and adoptions services in their regular pet store.

The shelter, located at 2195 US Hwy 22, Union, is a New Jersey non-profit and charitable organization. Shake A Paw is a contributor and sponsor of more than 20 animal welfare organizations, community youth groups and local charities, including the township of Union Animal Shelter and Summit Educational Foundation. It’s also its eighth year as primary sponsor for the Mayor’s Day 5K. Run/Walk, which will be later this year.

It recently partnered with the Union County Sheriff’s Office to supply its K9 dogs with K9 vests and supplies; and has partnered with Union High School to provide volunteer opportunities for its students.

Owner Jeffrey Morton is also active with the Union Chamber of Commerce.

Jeffrey’s son, Charlie Morton, who works as adoption manager, oversees the animal shelter. “This mainly includes handling (the) intake and outtake of our dogs, and ensuring each dog finds a new, happy, forever home,” he said.

Rescues are surrenders from the community. “We accept small, friendly dogs under 30 pounds,” said Charlie Morton.

The success rate of their adoptions is 100%. “We have a zero-kill policy. We never have. We never will,” Charlie Morton said. “Every single dog that is accepted into our shelter will be adopted, no matter the circumstances. They all go home.”

While Shake A Paw has such a high success rate, there are still challenges. “Seeing a hopeless, innocent dog be surrendered is an emotional process that never gets easier,” Charlie Morton said. “However, I know that a better future for the dog is coming where we can match the dog with a new, proper family that will give the dog a loving new home and spoil him!”

And it’s certainly rewarding for Charlie Morton when he sees the expressions of the dogs and families when the pets go to their forever homes. “Dogs have an incredible intuition and seem to know when they are getting adopted!” he said. “Also, to see the joy on the adopter’s face when taking home their new dog is always priceless. Being able to match a family with a new dog is truly a rewarding experience.”

Buddy is a corgi/shepherd mix available for adoption. He’s been at Shake A Paw three or four weeks, said Charlie Morton. Buddy’s former owners surrendered him because they were moving to an apartment that didn’t allow dogs.

“It’s very sad,” said Charlie Morton.

There’s also Millie and Lola, mother and daughter mini-Australian shepherds, which Shake A Paw is trying to adopt together.

Echo is a terrier mix who just arrived, is very shy and is just beginning to open up. Echo is recommended for someone who is home a lot.

While Shake A Paw has had many happy stories, Charlie Morton’s favorite story is the very first rescue: Penny, a Pitbull mix who ended up staying with them.

“Penny came from a fighting kennel in Newark, bruised, battered, beaten,” he said. “We took her in, grew attached. We couldn’t let her go. She kick-started us (into) opening the shelter. She was the best.”

Shake A Paw’s adoption process is relatively easy and only takes between one and three days. Applications can be found on the Shake A Paw website. To learn more, visit:

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Shake A Paw