Chili with a chance of adoption

| 20 Jun 2012 | 01:48

By Robert Oszust NEWTON — One Step Closer Animal Rescue (O.S.C.A.R.) and Salon Di Panache recently held an adoption event and chili cook-off at the salon on 51 Trinity Street in Newton. Passersby stopped on the salon's lawn to look at, play with, and maybe even adopt puppies and dogs from the O.S.C.A.R. shelter. They were also able to enjoy some chili made by the staff at the salon. Jana Robertson, a nail technician at Salon Di Panache, organized the event. “We were thinking about our chili and we said, ‘we should do a cook-off for charity,’” Robertson said. “There were so many charities people wanted to do it for, but everyone agreed on pets.” Robertson said the inspiration for the event ultimately came from a client who volunteers at O.S.C.A.R. O.S.C.A.R. is non-profit foster shelter stationed in Sparta and run entirely by volunteers. The organization takes dogs from high-kill animal shelters around the country. “We find dogs that are just about to be euthanized,” said O.S.C.A.R. director Cassie Kowalchuk. According to Kowalchuk, the organization is in its third year of operation and has found homes for nearly 600 dogs. At the event, ten volunteer foster owners introduced their temporary pets to hopeful visitors. “I’ve been actively looking for a pet for two months," said Linda Meyer. "I’m looking at three small dogs. For my life style, small dogs are easier.” Linda submitted an adoption application for a Chihuahua. “He’s just so kissable,” she gushed, with the dog in her arms. After filling out an adoption application, a potential owner has to go through a short background check. The pet that is to be adopted must also meet any other pets that the potential owner has to make sure the animals get along. Kowalchuk said at least seven applications were filled out after only an hour and a half, which is higher than normal. “Usually we get two to five for events this big,” Kowalchuk said. With Newton’s Street Fair just a few blocks down, Robertson was hoping to get some spillover visiting her shop. “I just wish more people would come in for chili,” she said lightheartedly, as most people stopped by to take a look at the dogs. For more photos from this event, visit