The Top Dogs Are Just Down the Pike in The Bronx

top dogWhat does a retired NYC animal control officer do next? Pedro Rosario didn’t skip a beat. After 16 years at the 110th Street Animal Control Center, Rosario had grown weary of seeing so many dogs euthanized due to lack of space, and had everything set up for his own no-kill shelter from day one of retirement.

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Kerri Ann Hofer of Greenwich meets Rufus a dachsund pit bull mix at Top Dog in the Bronx. We decided he looked just like Toto. Credit: Leslie Yager

“Top Dog” was born of Rosario’s wish to give dogs more time.

“Too many animals are put to sleep who would find a home, but they didn’t have the time and space,” Rosario said as he introduced guests to the big dogs who were being rotated out of pens while each space was cleaned. “I wanted to start a facility because so many of those dogs who could still make good pets.”

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Pedro Rosario, founder of Top Dog in the small dog room. Credit: Leslie Yager

Rosario said the caveat is that sometimes it just takes a while. “Sometimes you think you’re not doing the right thing. When a dog is here for a long time,” Rosario said. “But when they get placed, then you know it was right to wait.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 7.53.40 PMHis face lights up when he shares a photo on his phone of a dog who is clearly smiling. “We just placed this American Bulldog that was here for three years, that ACC gave up on,” Rosario said with a huge grin.

There is a small staff at Top Dog, who are supplemented by some very dedicated volunteers. A woman who had stopped at each dog pen and distributed dog biscuits stopped to explain. “This is what I’m doing in my retirement. It makes me happy,” she said. “People let you down. But they don’t,” she said of the dogs.

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On the day of New Year’s Eve, Eric Polo turned up to volunteer walking the dogs. One by one he took each of them around the block. The exercise was appreciated, and a break from the barking inside the converted warehouse. Before long, Eric’s wife Liz and daughter Stephanie joined and took turns taking small dogs out of their cages for some one-on-one time.

Rosario appreciates volunteers and said that 14- 15- and 16- year olds can volunteer when accompanied by a parent. Those 17- to 21- years old can volunteer with a parent signature. Anyone interested in volunteering, dog walkers are appreciated, as well as photographers and people with knowledge of social media. For information on volunteering email nycstopdoginc@gmail.com

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This is “Tires,” a 6-month old pit bull, who was very sweet and lit up with joy when volunteer Eric Polo arrived to take him for a walk. Credit: Leslie Yager

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On Jan. 17th there is an open house scheduled at Top Dog from 1:00pm until 5:00pm. Come and meet the dogs because there is great variety variety of size and breed.  According to Rosario, there will be applications available at the adoption event for anyone interested in applying to adopt a dog. The applications will be reviewed first-come, first-served. All Top Dog’s rescues are spayed or neutered prior to adoption. All applicants must be at least 23 years old.


View available dogs and cats on Top Dog’s PetFinder page.

Top Dog is located at 2515 Newbold Ave in the Bronx.
Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm.
Tel. (347) 691-3282.

Like Top Dog on Facebook.

Consider giving to Top Dog who rely on donations to keep going. They also have a wish list that includes:  Towels, sheets, blankets, pillows, and newspaper.  Wee Wee Pads, Brooms, Mops, Detergent, Air Freshener, Paper Towels, Dog and Cat food, Food Bowls, Toys, Collars, Leashes, Treats, Peanut Butter, Pet Beds, Cat Litter.

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