AMHERST — Hooch is a 5-year-old mastiff who needs a very special someone to take him home and give him the attention he deserves. Potential adoptees should be warned; he is kind of a superstar.
Hooch and his friends’ photos have been publicized all around the nation on such media outlets as ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘Inside Edition,’ FOX News, Buzzfeed and CNN, but all this started simply as a flyer taped on-top of a delivery box out of Mary Alloy’s Just Pizza in Amherst.
“It’s phone call after phone call, interview after interview and just crazy! My favorite word: crazy,” Alloy said. “It’s definitely been busier, but I had to close a little while yesterday because of all these interviews to do.”
The idea was brought up by Kimberly LaRussa, event coordinator at the SPCA of Niagara. Take pictures of the dogs in the no-kill shelter and paste them, along with a small bio and instructions of how to adopt, onto the tops of pizza delivery boxes. That way, she said, people get the idea they might like a new pal at their pizza party.
“Mary has been helping the SPCA for a long while now,” LaRussa said. “I don’t think Mary has ever said, ‘No,’ to us when we needed help. She can’t physically volunteer because she’s so busy with her business and pizzeria, but she says, ‘Anything I can do with pizza, I want to do.’ “
Alloy helped with more than a few events, most recently to the Niagara SPCA-sponsored “870 Lee Home Haunt,” when she donated free pizza to the volunteers who scared for a cause this past Halloween.
“I know how much Mary loves animals and she always says to me, ‘Don’t post on Facebook that you need help, just tell me what you need and I want to do it,’ “ LaRussa continued. “When I reached out to her and said, ‘I think I want to put photos of dogs on your pizza boxes, what do you think? She said, ‘Great.’ She said, ‘Yes,’ right away. Immediately.’ “
And so did many more.
“We had so many people at our shelter, yesterday, a weekday, and it’s crazy,” LaRussa said. “I text Mary when a dog has been adopted, so now the flyers aren’t even making it out of the pizzeria in time because the dog is getting adopted so fast. I drop off the flyers, people are already adopting the dogs because there’s so much publicity.”
So far, LaRussa said two dogs, Larry and Joel, who’ve been on the flyers at Just Pizza, have found loving homes.
“We are so grateful to Mary,” she said. “She gives the SPCA the credit, she doesn’t understand that she said, ‘Yes,’ right away.
“I could’ve come up with this idea and took it to another pizzeria, and they might’ve thought it was a little strange, and not taken it so well. But Mary, because she’s so amazing, just said, ‘Yes.’ “
And how long will she be doing this?
“Forever,” she said simply.
Alloy’s Just Pizza is located at 2319 Niagara Falls Blvd.