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Fundraiser on tap to benefit dog rescue business in Plum

Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader - Joe Maringo plays with two of the six dogs he recently rescued. Mama and Sissy, a labradore and Great Pyrenees mix, have been living at the SPARRO and Shades of Grey Sanctuary for over a month now and are almost ready for adoption. The seven dogs -– a the mother and 6 of her pups –- were living in deplorable conditions when Maringo drove to Ohio and brought them to his shelter a little over a month ago. They all have been examined by a veterinarian, have their shots, and are working on training.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader</em></div>Joe Maringo plays with two of the six dogs he recently rescued. Mama and Sissy, a labradore and Great Pyrenees mix, have been living at the SPARRO and Shades of Grey Sanctuary for over a month now and are almost ready for adoption. The seven dogs -– a the mother and 6 of her pups –- were living in deplorable conditions when Maringo drove to Ohio and brought them to his shelter a little over a month ago. They all have been examined by a veterinarian, have their shots, and are working on training.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader - Joe Maringo plays with two of the six dogs he recently rescued. Mama and Sissy, a labradore and Great Pyrenees mix, have been living at the SPARRO and Shades of Grey Sanctuary for over a month now and are almost ready for adoption. The seven dogs -– a the mother and 6 of her pups –- were living in deplorable conditions when Maringo drove to Ohio and brought them to his shelter a little over a month ago. They all have been examined by a veterinarian, have their shots, and are working on training.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader</em></div>  Joe Maringo plays with two of the six dogs he recently rescued. Mama and Sissy, a labradore and Great Pyrenees mix, have been living at the SPARRO and Shades of Grey Sanctuary for over a month now and are almost ready for adoption. The seven dogs -– a the mother and 6 of her pups –- were living in deplorable conditions when Maringo drove to Ohio and brought them to his shelter a little over a month ago. They all have been examined by a veterinarian, have their shots, and are working on training.

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Joe Maringo was appalled when he saw hundreds of stray dogs in a small town in Texas where he worked as a hunting guide.

“It was so upsetting,” said Maringo, 52, of Plum.

Maringo promised one of the dogs that if the canine was in the area when he left Knox City, Texas, at the end of the week, Maringo would take him home to Plum.

“I brought him home and his buddy,” said Maringo who started a dog rescue business from his home in the Renton section of Plum — the Southwest PA Retriever Rescue Organization (SPARRO) in 2000. Maringo in 2009 started Shades of Grey Sanctuary for senior dogs.

Kim Tamburri, a dog groomer at the The Barker Shop in Plum and a dog owner, is organizing a fundraiser — “Dining for Dogs” for Maringo's dog rescue business.

It is scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. on Nov. 6 at John Anthony's Restaurant on Center New Texas Road.

John Anthony's will donate 20 percent of patrons' check totals to SPARRO on the designated day.

“Two times a year, Joe brings in one of his (rescue) dogs to get shaved,” said Tamburri, 49, of Plum. “He rescues dogs and gets them adopted. They need medication and food.”

Maringo said the dog rescue business took off quickly with four dogs placed in homes in 2001.

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, brought a host of challenges for pets whose owners could no longer care for them.

“I brought back two chocolate (laboradors) whose owner was in the Coast Guard,” Maringo said.

Maringo took in 153 dogs in the second year of business.

“I figured out it wasn't a sustainable number,” Maringo said. “We would have burned out.”

Maringo's wife, Barbara, also is involved in the business they operate from 1.5 acres off Stark Road. They own a total of three acres.

“We cut back,” Maringo said. “We have 17 dogs now.”

Maringo said he has rescued dogs from every state and province east of the Rocky Mountains.

Maringo also tends to senior dogs over the age of 10. “They are not up for adoption,” Maringo said.

Tamburri said in addition to the 20 percent of check totals going to Maringo's dog rescue organization on Nov. 6, the event will include Chinese auction baskets.

Also, monetary donations can be made at John Anthony's and sent to SPARRO at 142 Stark Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15239 or through Paypal at sparrorg@yahoo.com.

Donations for the Chinese auction baskets can be dropped off by Oct. 28 at The Barker Shop, 1014 Unity Center Road. Also, interested donors can call the shop at 412-704-5184 to arrange for the items to be picked up.

Maringo is grateful for Tamburri's help.

“It it great because it is something I am not able to make time to do,” Maringo said. “It is nice to have volunteers take on responsibility and help out.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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