Michelle Feurerstein, also known as Kathy, has a long history with dogs. And she’s perhaps as well known for her role at K-9 Corner at Midland Avenue and Elm Street. But her work goes far beyond the grooming she performs there.
It was a little under a month ago when she got word that there was a Husky living at a Harrison construction site — near First and Bergen. The thing was, while there were workers at the site who fed the pooch, later identified by the name Bolt because he often took off when humans approached him, no one seemed to know how he got there.
There were rumors. Some believed he might have been a guard dog for the construction site.
That turned out to be false.
Some had heard he got there from Route 21.
That turned out to be false.
But whatever the reason was, Feurerstein knew it was imperative for her to get access to Bolt. He didn’t look well. He was dirty. And her instincts that he needed medical care later came to fruition. So with the help of Hound Hunters of New Jersey, a trap was set to get to Bolt.
It took days before Bolt would finally enter the laserbeam-controlled trap. For days, he wouldn’t eat. He wanted no part of that crate. But he ultimately went for it about a week after the trap was set.
“He was waiting and we could see him on cameras that we set up,” Feurerstein said. “He just wouldn’t go in. But he finally did.”
After Bolt was finally captured, Feurerstein knew she’d have to take him home to live with her at first. A non-profit that deals with abandoned huskies agreed to cover all of Bolt’s medical expenses.
The same day he finally entered the trap, Bolt went to live with Feurerstein. That day, Barbara B. Goldberg, a friend to Feurerstein, this newspapers and animals everywhere, came by to take photos of Bolt and to offer Feurerstein any help she needed.
Then Bolt was taken to a vet.
Immediately, it was clear Bolt had heart issues. Feurerstein says she sensed that because she could feel his heart beating rapidly when the loving canine came and sat and slept with her on the couch. He also didn’t have any doggie poop in his bowels — and he was not eating, either.
Something was seriously wrong. But finally, things started looking better.
“I made a dish for him — chicken and rice — and he ate it,” Feurerstein said. But that optimism didn’t last too long.
The very next day, Feurerstein was taking a shower when she heard a loud thud. At first, she wasn’t sure what it was. Then she quickly knew.
“I got out of the shower after I heard the crashing sounds and saw him on the floor,” Feurerstein said. “I kept saying, ‘Bolt, Bolt, Bolt!’ but he never answered. He was gone. And they estimated he was probably only 3.”
It turns out Bolt never got to poop and was in much worse shape than originally thought. In fact, the vet told Feurerstein he was surprised Bolt even lasted as long as he did. But throughout the time Feurerstein et al learned about Bolt, he became an instant local sensation.
Scores of people in Harrison, Kearny and beyond fell in love with him, just as Feurerstein and Goldberg did. And he left an impact that Feurerstein says may never change.
“I take some solace that he got out of that site, but he was just not well,” Feurerstein said. “He had worms, lime’s disease, his pulse should have been 70 but it was 40. There was a lot wrong. But what a dog he was. What a dog. He would jump and with me on the couch in the living room, lick my face, he was such a jokester. He knew commands. He would wait. He would sit.
“But the thing is, I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.”
And that was the sentiment on social media when people learned this special guy was gone. The outpouring of love was palpable.
And there is no doubt that same love, that Feurerstein, Goldberg and the people of West Hudson offered was something Bolt may not have known until his last days.
And as Feurerstein said on her Facebook page a few days ago, paraphrasing, “If love was enough, it would have been more than enough to have Bolt with us still.”
Rest in peace, Bolt. If only you knew how so many truly loved you in such a short period of time.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.