An animal is a well deserving life
How far will some people go to raise money for homeless animals?
Nancy Rogers, the vice president of K9Kastle, a New York nonprofit animal rescue organization, gathered a brave group that took a dare for charity. They jumped 65 feet to raise money for abandoned dogs and cats.
Qs: Tell me about your nonprofit K9Kastle.
Nancy Rogers: At K9Kastle, there are five of us that have been rescuing animals for years. I was born to do this. When I was 5 years old, I was already bringing animals home, telling my parents, “But I found it!” It’s always been in me. Joanne Douglas is the founder and president who got us a 501(c)(3), which made us a legitimate nonprofit group. I am considered the vice president, but I do all the work. [Laughs]
What made you think of doing the jump for charity?
I saw an advertisement for a new reality TV show called “Dare Me For Charity.” They were doing a 32-city campaign trying to get nonprofit groups that rescue animals to take on challenges to raise money for their groups. It sounded cool, so I e-mailed them. When I heard back, they didn’t tell me what the challenge was. They just said they’d be coming to New York and setting up various challenges. When I found out our challenge was a 65-foot jump, I was scared, but still game for it. I’ll do anything for an animal.
Are you afraid of heights?
Yes, especially when it’s 65 feet, which is the equivalent of a five-story building. At first I thought, “Oh, that’s nothing,” until I got there and saw how high up the platform was. It scared me to death. They bring you up to the platform on a lift, and as you’re going up, up, up, you’re thinking, “Damn, when is this thing ever going to stop?” [Laughs] Then when you get on the platform, it doesn’t feel stable; it’s swaying. I had to coach myself thinking, “This is easy. Piece of cake. All you have to do is jump.” But everything in my body was screaming, “Don’t jump!”
When you decided to take the dare, how did you get people to donate?
Social media, Facebook and Twitter. I recruited 12 other people that said, “Sure, I’ll jump for the puppies,” and I got a lot of people who said, “I will absolutely not do that jump, but I will send you a donation.”
How many times did you jump?
I did three jumps. On the first jump, I closed my eyes, and everybody said, “Hey, no fair, your eyes were closed.” But that was the only way I could get myself to do it.
Was the second one easier?
No, believe it or not, the second jump was actually harder because I knew how far down it was, and I was even more scared. But I did it. I wanted to raise that money.
What happens when you land?
You hit this huge airbag at the bottom. It is such a feeling of triumph — and a crazy adrenalin rush!
Did you raise money per jump? Is that why you did it three times?
Yes, people pledge money per jump figuring you’ll only do it once. [Laughs]
Would you ever consider doing the jump again?
[Long pause] Um … yeah … I probably would. We raised a lot of money.
Do you have pets at home?
Yes, and they’re all rescues. I have a pit bull I got out of kill shelter. She is my pride and joy. I named her Karma, and I love her so much. She’s the sweetest thing in the world, and my kitten socializer. She adores cats.
I also have a Cockapoo who was left in a box on 86th Street in Brooklyn in 105-degree heat. It was during that weeklong insane heat wave a few years ago. My partner and I were originally going to put her up for adoption, but she was so crazy, I knew nobody would adopt her. She had no manners at all. She would stand on the kitchen table. She wasn’t even housebroken. I knew I’d have to put in a lot of work, and I did.
She is such a great dog now. After all that work, I thought, “I’m not giving this great dog up.” When I get dogs like that, and they are such horrors, and I put the time and training into them and they become such wonderful animals, I feel like whoever gets them is not going to appreciate how far the dog has come.
Do you rescue cats, too?
Yes, I have many cats. A lot are fosters that will eventually get adopted. I keep the sickly ones. I have a diabetic cat right now, and we are having the hardest time regulating his insulin. Nobody is going to adopt that cat. I have another one with a hyper thyroid problem. It’s another cat we’re going through trial and error with different medications and constant blood work.
How do you find the time to do all of this?
I have no social life. I don’t go on vacations. I think the last time I even went to a movie was like 10 years ago. Everything I do is for the animals, and I don’t regret it. These animals are the best, they’re so worth it.
Does your partner mind that you bring all of these strays home?
When my partner and I first got together, she was already a dog person, but came from a family of cat haters. Now she’s a cat freak! She loves them. When we first moved in together, she had a dog, and I had dogs and cats. A cat would do a certain thing and she’d say, “This cat is like a dog,” and I’d say “No, that’s what a cat is like.” Now she adores them so much that for every cat we foster, she gets attached and says, “We’re keeping this one.” We’ve been together 22 years; we met on a ski trip when I still had social life. [Laughs]