Even now, as the Tenafly hairdresser temporarily suspends her Pet ResQ Inc. mission, Urman is keeping the faith.
"It's just temporary until we can square away our vet bills and find suitable homes for many of the dogs already in our program," she said.
Pet ResQ has saved more than 2,000 dogs since Urman launched it in 2005. She'd been helping them nearly 20 years, volunteering at shelters.
Word of mouth spread before the mission was officially incorporated the day that she landed in Louisiana after Katrina 10 years ago.
“I helped mostly with triage – animals dead or half-dead,” Urman said. “I went into homes, walked on streets, just waiting for dogs to come to me.
"It was the best thing I have ever done and the worst thing I have ever lived through as a human being.”
Urman has received a Rachel Ray Mutt Madness Grant, The Russ Berry Award, The Onyx and Breezy’s Heart Award and the Pets and Heroes Award.
She gets calls worldwide, relies on volunteers to help foster dogs, and takes in canines with special needs herself.
“Handicapped and older dogs are weakest,” Urman said. “I do the tough ones, blinded or limbs cut off. Most people are not willing to take care of them.”
Still, it's costly. Despite donations, Urman more often than not reaches into her own pocket.
One dog who came from another rescue in April "still has open wounds that, after months of antibiotics and laser treatments, aren’t even close to halfway healed," she said. "Bloodwork, medications and treatments have already exceeded $1,000."
There's also grooming, feeding, medication, toys, spaying and neutering -- plus shots, heartworm tests.
Pet ResQ's biggest fundraiser, Woofstock, is set for Oct. 11. To donate or volunteer, or for more information, go to: www.petresqinc.org.
"This tearing me apart. Pet ResQ Inc. has never turned an animal away no matter the circumstance," she said. "Without time, medical treatments and TLC, these dogs don’t stand a chance."
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