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Queens shop raises $1,500 worth of food and used leashes, collars

Northeast Queens pet owners recently lent a hand to the community’s neediest four-legged friends by giving their old pet supplies a new leash on life.

“When people found out I wanted to do something to help our local no-kill animal shelter, they just started asking me what they could do,” said Robyn Elman, owner of In Home Pet Services, which has more than 1,000 generous customers from Great Neck, L.I., to Queens Village.

The company provides services such as dog-walking and pet-sitting in clients’ homes, and even keeps a journal detailing the activities of their dog days.

“People just started saying, ‘I’ve got a used leash, or a collar,’” said Elman, who coined her pet project MayDay for Mutts.

Throughout May and June, Elman collected more than $1,500 worth of supplies and pet food, which was donated to the For Our Friends animal rescue group in Oakland Gardens. The group places dogs in foster homes until they are adopted.

“We collected over 50 leashes and harnesses, over 50 items of doggie clothing including raincoats, sweaters and coats, pet shampoos, carriers, crates, treats and a bunch of toys and much more. Many items were even purchased new by our clients that donated,” Elman said.

Freddie Szilagyi, president of For Our Friends, said she was so grateful for the donated items, which were an enormous help. “The dogs are so comfortable. I’m so appreciative. The comfort of our dogs is paramount,” she said.

Lorraine Rystedt’s puppy, Kenny, enjoys a daily walk from In Home Pet Services around his Oakland Gardens home. When Rystedt’s dog Beethoven died in January, she had lots of items like medications and a ramp that she didn’t need any more.

“I have all these things that need to go to a good place,” she said. “Some people, for whatever reason, are not able to provide for their pets. Hopefully, some dog is really happy sleeping in Beethoven’s bed.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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