‘Unwanted NYC Pets’ Does Makeovers To Help Rehabilitate Dogs & Cats

Saving a dog or cat from euthanasia is a noble endeavor. Dog and cat non-kill animal shelters also have this as a goal. But the volunteer group known as the Unwanted NYC Pets and their proactive initiatives take rescues one step further. They not only rescue dogs and cats from the brink of demise, they provide cost-laden makeovers and rehabilitation.

Not A Shelter

Differing from shelters, unwantednycpets.org relies solely on a network of volunteer foster homes. Their efforts are supported by the generosity of fellow animal lovers to help defray expenses, which include veterinary bills, as well as food, supplies and other related costs associated with the safety of their rescues. To that mix, their makeovers have proven to be quite a remarkable bonus.

Sally was the Catalyst . . .

Cofounder Kristin Livan began to foster dogs in 2012 when she was introduced to a spotted pit-bull mix named Sally lying at the bottom of a cage at the New York City Animal Care & Control Center. The 4-year-old pooch was severely battered from an accident, precipitated by a jump out of a window escaping from a fire.

“Her ribs were exposed. The rancid smell of dying flesh was so extreme that I had to throw out the shirt I had on that night,” Livan, 35, told The Post. “But she scooted over to me on one shoulder and licked me. I needed to save her.”

It took just three months from that rescue, makeover and recuperation to find a forever home for Sally. Today she is happy, healthy and living with her family in Brooklyn — and she’s inspired a life-saving movement for dogs and cats whose futures seem bleak because they are sick, injured or unattractive.

Since rescuing Sally, Livan’s pet project evolved into the formal nonprofit organization, Unwanted NYC Pets, which she cofounded with fellow animal lover Betina Wassermann.

700 and Counting . . .

Since those meager beginnings, this dynamic duo have rescued 700 dogs and cats. In so doing, they along with a handful of volunteers foster the animals and obtain them the necessary medical treatment. This includes the makeovers, which are integral in raising the pets' ‘cute quotient,’ providing them with a markedly better chance of adoption.


One of their most involved makeovers addressed the needs of a tiny guy named Puppy that Livan rescued from a kill shelter. His fur was so matted to the point of dreadlocks, it was initially thought the dog was at least 14 years old.

After cleaning Puppy and grooming his shaggy coat, Livan, who also owns the dog-grooming salon Tiny Tails in Bensonhurst, NY discovered how malnourished he was. “We fed him every few hours to build up his system,” Livan said.

Amazingly, after the culmination of all that attention, a vet determined that Puppy was indeed only about 3 years old.

Donations Welcomed

For those who are in a position to make cash donations, you can transfer funds to their PayPal account here.

If your current situation does not allow for a financial donation, but you would like to help support their animals, the organization welcomes blankets, pillows, toys, bowls, treats, beds, leashes, crates, food, and/or any other dog/puppy or kitten/cat related item you can think of to help keep their rescues stay comfortable & and provide them with a second lease on life.

For those types of donations please contact the organization at donations@unwantednycpets.org. All donations are tax deductible.