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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Mar 28, 2020

A Rumson Native’s Mission in Finding Fur-ever Homes for Four-legged Rescues

By Deirdre Flanagan Ward

He grew up learning the importance of helping others. He was an active member of his town’s first aid squad for more than a decade. He also volunteered at the SPCA as a dog walker, and it was through that experience of walking and caring for homeless animals that his passion for finding adoption homes was unleashed. Meet Rumson’s Trevor Eyerkuss.

“I can remember my fascination with rescue dogs from a young age,” Eyerkuss said. “As most of my time was spent as a volunteer dog walker, I formed friendships with them. Some I would take to the beach and let run around as I’d surf. Then I would take them back to my house to play and have a nice meal before heading back to the shelter.”

He also recalls begging his parents to let him adopt each one, although he was sadly aware he couldn’t save them all.

While attending Hofstra University on Long Island, he succeeded in rescuing his first pit bull, Blue, during an FBI drug raid.

“I witnessed horrible gang violence and dog fighting rings,” he said. “At one point, I was bringing a different dog home to New Jersey every weekend so they wouldn’t fall back into the hands of sadistic, heartless people.”

Struggle and loss are, in part, contributing factors in Eyerkuss’ crusade to help homeless animals. He left college for a period while his father was battling leukemia.

“I dropped out of school while my father was sick and did not return until a few years after his passing,” he said. “I was very close with my father, Rob Eyerkuss Jr. He took me everywhere as a kid. It was my dad who introduced me to surfing and constantly had me on the water. It was a passion we both shared.”

Eyerkuss’ mother also had a bout with cancer.

“My mom, a breast cancer survivor, is a very focused and successful entrepreneur,” he said. “She owned an IT business affiliated with Microsoft for over 30 years until her recent retirement. She was also very involved in my schooling and studies, as I struggled in the classroom.”

Eyerkuss said although surfing has always been a constant in his life, dog rescue is his true passion.

“I don’t know if it was because I felt like I could bond with these broken dogs better than the people I was meeting, or if it was the trust that these animals showed me that got me involved in helping re-home dogs on death row.”

He credits the support of his girlfriend, Erin, who encourages him to continue and maintain what he calls his home “zoo crew” or pack of “fur kids.” Four of his own dogs – Penny, Dave, Harley and Jax – are all rescues, however, the pack doesn’t stop there. Eyerkuss usually has two foster dogs on hand as he actively works with Apollo’s Angels and Home Free Animal Rescue. In the past five years, he single-handedly placed more than 75 dogs for rescue and can remember each one individually, as he says, they all have different personalities.

“Nothing makes me happier than going on Facebook and seeing a picture of one of my rescues out and about and playing with his/her family,” he gushed. “Christmas time is always the best. I receive cards with my rescue dog and his/her family. And my favorite is the cards that feature a picture of a new rescue dressed up in holiday garb. I have been blessed to buy a home in Leonardo within the past year, and it has been from this location that I have become successful. I have a great network of people, and if it wasn’t for them sharing my Facebook posts I wouldn’t be able to save or place as many animals as I have.”

Among his network of supporters is the crew at the landscape company where he works as a foreman, and the riders in his Marty’s MC motorcycle club.

“I am lucky to call my boss, Rob Ciazza, my brother as well,” he said. “We ride together, support a bunch of toy drives during Christmas, and have been active in attending events to raise money for veterans with PTSD to get service dogs for warriors.”

Eyerkuss was also a key player in creating River’s Law which will, if legislation is passed, allow prosecutors to charge certain animal abusers with an escalated second-degree crime. The bill is named for River, the puppy left in a cage to drown in the Shrewsbury River in summer 2018. The bill would allow prosecutors faced with a deliberately malicious and violent case of animal abuse to ensure that the punishment fits the crime.

Recently, Eyerkuss picked up a dog who was supposed to be put down, an 8-month-old Lab mix named Herman. He posted a video of the pup on social media which went viral and got more than 7,000 views in less than two days. Eyerkuss is happy to report that through those “likes,” the social media rock star now has a new home. Mission accomplished!