PAWS FOR CAUSE IN GALLERIA

Yoshi (left) and Chopper (right) anxiously await a treat in front of their owners’ new pet product kiosk, Paws for a Cause. Megan Prenderville and Mike Harper opened the stand in response to Chopper’s cancer diagnosis. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Three months ago, Chopper, Megan Prenderville’s 7-year-old Border Collie mix, was diagnosed for the second time with a malignant anal sac tumor. This time, however, the cancer was more aggressive, the tumor inoperable.

With the diagnosis weighing heavily on her mind, Prenderville searched for a way to stay productively positive.

“It was just really horrible coming to work every day knowing this about my best buddy,” said Prenderville. “I realized that putting a pet boutique together in a way that we could raise money for charity could be my therapy.”

Last month, Prenderville and her husband Mike Harper debuted “Paws for a Cause,” an extension of Frame to Please, in a hallway kiosk outside the custom framing shop they own in the Galleria of Red Bank to do just that.

Stocked with toys made from recycled materials and organic treats, the kiosk also features animal aromatherapy candles, decorative collars and books by photographer Kim Levin. Everything is made by small, independent U.S. companies, some of which already give to charity, such as Jodes Happy Tail, a Little Silver baker of organic dog treats, and Pinky’s Pet Portraits, the work of Red Bank artist Pinky Adubato. “So shopping here is like a double dip,” Prenderville said. “And it’s been such an incredible journey meeting these people.”

Prenderville and Harper are working closely with the Save U.S. Pets Foundation, which works to grant money to those who cannot afford emergency health care for their pets. They became aware of the charity’s efforts on one of their own trips to the vet and found that, due to the economy, many people end up having to euthanize their animals due to a lack of funds to support a simple surgery.

“That registered very near and dear to our hearts immediately,” said Prenderville.

Some of the products allow for custom orders, and all of them fully support the cause of canine cancer research. “Chopper and Yoshi test all of our products. If it gets a two tails up, it goes on our shelf,” Prenderville said. “They know how to make a sale too; they’re my canine capitalists.”

While Chopper’s prognosis may be bleak, Prenderville says he’s hanging on. “You’d never know he’s sick. He’s doing absolutely amazing. We were swimming in the river yesterday.” Chopper and Yoshi can sometimes be found lazily hanging out in Frame to Please and are more than willing to accept a belly rub from browsing customers. Joked Prenderville, “They’ve been in retail all their lives. They love meeting new people.”