About Us

The FernDog Rescue Foundation’s founder and director, Fernando Camacho, has been working with animal rescue groups and shelters for his entire career as a dog behavior consultant and trainer. These dedicated groups typically rely solely on volunteers that work tirelessly trying to save as many animals as they possibly can. Unfortunately, these groups often lack the funding, time and resources to better accomplish their work.

One of the things that hit Fernando the hardest was realizing that although the dogs staying at shelters were physically cared for, their mental health deteriorated daily. With each day a dog spends in an animal shelter, his chances for adoption decline due to the psychological effects of the typical shelter environment.

It’s not the animal shelter’s fault – they do the best they can with what they have. The problem is that they have so little available to them to make any kind of change, and that’s why The FernDog Rescue Foundation was formed.


We strongly believe that getting dogs out of shelters and into foster homes is the best way to get them prepared for their future homes. We also wanted to create a foster program that is set up to help dogs through any issues and provide a support system .

Our foster program was crafted by dog trainers to ensure that we have resources and training available to our fosters and those that adopt our dogs. This sets everyone up to succeed and also includes a support system for everyone involved with our dogs.

In addition, the foundation develops dog foster, spay/neuter, and community education programs in order to make homeless dogs more adoptable, to empower the public with knowledge, and to help control pet overpopulation. Every rescue organization has specific needs and we strive to assist each one to become better equipped to meet its ultimate goal – saving and protecting animals.


The mission of The FernDog Rescue Foundation is to help dogs at risk by providing foster homes that will nurture their physical and emotional health, help locate the ideal forever homes for them while providing support and training to help assure that their stay in their new homes is permanent. In addition we focus on developing programs to promote pet adoption services and raise public awareness by providing community education of the issues surrounding animal rescue.

We are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The FernDog Rescue Foundation Team

Fernando Camacho

Fernando Camacho


Fern is a dog behavior consultant and trainer in Northern New Jersey and been helping out rescues and shelters for years. In addiction to his private dog behavior consultations he is a speaker and mentor aspiring dog trainers through the FernDog Trainer Academy, which he created. Fern is also the author of three books: A Better Life with Your DogThe Dog Rescue Handbook and Dog Spelled Backward.

Donna Buccellato

Donna Buccellato

Adoption Coordinator & Board Member

Donna has spent years on the front lines of animal rescue both fostering dogs and helping run rescue organizations. She’s a Dog Trainer/Behavior Consultant, Dog Walker, and Pet Sitter by profession and  is FernDog’s Adoptions and Foster Coordinator. She spends just about every waking (and sleeping) moment around dogs, having 5 dogs of her own, it’s hard not to. She also has a cat who rules the house and a husband who is also part of her pack!

Robin Kreiner

Robin Kreiner

Treasurer and Board Member

Robin is the owner of Bark Avenue Gifts, a manufacturer of organic dog biscuits, & pet themed gift baskets where all proceeds have benefited local area rescues. She has volunteered her services at the Jersey Animal Coalition and tirelessly works giving her assistance and fundraising to Orphaned Pets, Inc. of New Jersey. Robin is an active member and Practitioner with the Animal Reiki Source and volunteers her services to local rescues. She shares her home with her husband, Erwin and their three dogs.

Dr. Anthony Scriffignano

Dr. Anthony Scriffignano

FernDog Veterinarian and Board Member

Dr. Scriff is the definition of a true animal lover; taking any opportunity to help all animals. He and his staff at both the Verona and Montclair Animal Hospital take the very best care of every single dog that we take into our organization. Dr. Scriff brings his medical expertise as well as his amazing insight and ideas to drive FernDog ahead full steam.

Joe Dwyer

Board Member

Joe Dwyer is a motivational speaker, a life coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. He is also a dog trainer and martial artist. Previously, he worked as a chemical engineer and as an executive for Verizon and the Archdiocese of Newark. Joe is a man of faith and spirituality, and he supports rescue groups and therapy dog training. He recently published his own book outlining his Pit Bull’s journey of love and compassion. He lives in Nutley, NJ, with his family and four dogs.