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Fundraising Murder Mystery To Help Pair Veterans, Rescue Dogs

 Rachel Katic with her boxer, Rocky, and one of the nurses during a visit to a local hospital.
Rachel Katic with her boxer, Rocky, and one of the nurses during a visit to a local hospital. Photo Credit: Rachel Katic

MOONACHIE, NJ -- A retired car saleswoman from Little Ferry woman is hosting a murder mystery fundraiser at a Moonachie restaurant this Friday to help save the lives of rescue by pairing them with veterans battling post traumatic stress disorder.“You are saving two lives and not just one," Rachel Katic said, promoting the K9 Pets for Vets event at Dolce Novita Restaurant. "I think it’s important with so many dogs in kill shelters,”

Katic got the idea after seeking relief for her late husband, Frank, a Vietnam veteran who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, with a boxer, Rocky.After seeing Rocky light up the lives of patients and hospital staff in psychiatric wards, she created the non-profit K9 Pets for Vets to benefit Bergen County veterans.So far Katic has staged a car wash and craft fair on her way to a $3,000 goal. She'll then seek the first of three veterans for the program, which covers medical costs and training.

"I hired a professional group that got good reviews, and thought a murder mystery would be something a little different. Something fun," she said.Katic is working with Michael Ripinsky, a Long Island native and former Pepsi-Cola route owner who now operates Zani’s Furry Friends.Ripinsky rescues dogs from the tri-state area and parts of the South, provides quality living conditions for up to 30 dogs and a dozen cats in an new 8,000-square-foot former doggie day care center in Roselle, He conducts background checks on potential foster parents and offers medical care and microchips before placing animals with their new owners. He even relaxedg dogs overnight with 200 quiet songs from an MP3 player.

“I want to deal with the veterans,” said Ripinsky. “They don’t want to sit around and do nothing.”

Once an adjustment period passes, both dog and owner may find emotional support with one another.

“It’s helping the veterans bond with their dog and be more capable and comfortable navigating the world again,” said Wenzel, whose father and brother-in-law are military veterans. TO REGISTER FOR THE DINNER: k9pets4vetsmurdermysterydinner.eventbrite.com

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