Our Story

Our Story


Bianca's Forget Me Not K9 Haven is a charitable organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and trains abandoned and shelter dogs to enhance the quality of life of individuals with special needs for emotional or physical support.


To create a world with no more homeless dogs and work toward the day when no healthy animal is killed.


Bianca’s Story Bianca Marino Beck was an old soul who could make friends with anyone – especially those of the four-legged variety.

“She just loved animals. If a dog was left alone, she’d cry. If a cat was left alone, she’d cry,” said John Marino, smiling warmly at the thought of his eldest daughter.

Memories are worth keeping, even when they produce great pain. And there’s not a day that goes by where John, his wife, Linda, and their youngest daughter, Carly, don’t think about their beloved Bianca, who in 2019 died tragically at the age of 30.

But the thing about the overwhelming grief and sadness that come with losing a loved one is that it can often lead to something pretty great.

Case in point – Bianca’s Furget Me Not K9 Haven, a groundbreaking idea borne out of the depths of despair.

Conceived by the Marinos as an appropriate way to honor the memory and driving passion of their daughter, Bianca’s Haven is something entirely new for Northeast Pennsylvania – a pet rescue, pet therapy practice and pet boarding business all rolled into one and situated on 30 acres of pristine land in bucolic Greenfield Twp.

For John, the nonprofit’s ambitious mission is simply carrying on Bianca’s spirit. “Bianca was all about rescuing dogs – she had three of them, Bentley, Bear and Bella. And she always wanted to do a kennel or rescue for animals. Now, we’re just fulfilling her dream,” John said.

Of course, there would be no Bianca’s Furget Me Not K9 Haven without the tragic tale that inspired its conception.

Two years ago, Bianca was a wife, a doting mom to her beloved baby daughter, Brooklyn (“Brookie” for short), the owner of her own crafting business – B’s Craft Corner – and a good friend to countless people throughout Northeast Pennsylvania.

“Everyone loved her. She just lit up a room,” John said.

Life was good for the young woman as she, her husband and another couple headed to Newark Liberty International Airport for a trip to Spain in late April 2019. Bianca was excited about the trip, but nervous about leaving Brookie for the first time.

At about 9:30 that night, as the group awaited their departing plane, Bianca headed to a restroom. There, she collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

Eventually, word got back to John and Linda, who raced from their home in Mayfield to Newark’s Beth Israel Medical Center. There, doctors gave the couple the grim news – Bianca had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of blood vessels connecting blood vessels and veins that had ruptured and caused severe brain bleeding. She was, for all intents and purposes, brain dead.

While the doctors could do nothing to improve Bianca’s condition, there was one bit of positive news – Bianca’s vital organs remained in pristine condition, making her an ideal donor. Over the rest of that week, the hospital kept Bianca on life support as they matched her organs with patients throughout the country.

“They had helicopters landing on the roof of the hospital. They found placement for everything, even bones and tendons and skin in addition to all the vital organs, including her heart,” said John, who spent the entire week at Bianca’s bedside, at one point penning a poem to express his unspeakable grief.

Even Carly ended up receiving a posthumous gift from her sister, when her orthopedic surgeons used one of Bianca’s tendons to reconstruct her injured knee.

When the time came for Bianca’s funeral, about 3,000 people showed up to pay their respects at the Louis M. Margotta Funeral Home in Jessup. There, the family heard one story after another attesting to Bianca’s compassion and kindness, including from people they had never met before, among them a young woman who Bianca protected from bullies when they were students at Forest City Regional High School.

Bianca’s death was the low point of what was overall a very grim 2019 for the Marino family. Two months prior to her passing, John’s nephew died unexpectedly. Two weeks after her funeral, John and Linda’s dog died. A few months later, in July, John’s mother passed away. Then, his father was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

John didn’t make it out of the year physically unscathed either. On the advice of his physicians, he underwent a CT scan, which detected two aneurysms. At the end of ’19, he underwent endovascular brain surgery.

Something had to give, and the family desperately looked for a cause that could mend their broken hearts.

The more John and Linda thought about Bianca’s longtime desire to open a kennel or rescue, the more they liked the idea. Eventually, they decided to put a plan in motion to do just that, with help from a number of friends, including former State Sen. John Blake.

Slowly but surely, the pieces started to fall into place. It started when John’s brother, Sam Marino, donated 30 acres of his land off of Route 247 near Newton Lake. From there, architectural firm Hemmler & Camayd agreed to draw up the plans for the haven pro bono. Then, Greenman-Pedersen volunteered their services for the civil engineering work.

John and Linda have secured nonprofit status for the haven and have assembled a full-fledged board of directors that in addition to them and Sam Marino includes: former Senator John Blake’s wife, Louise; Jim Rodway of Lackawanna County; John Basalyga of JBAS Realty; Don Mammano of DFM Properties; Mary Beatty, Public Education Administrator; Debbie Gillette of The Chamber of the Northern Poconos; Attorney Joe McGraw; and Dr. Keith Dorton of Scranton Animal Hospital. Noel Ruby-DePietro has been named Director of Community Relations.

“Everyone has donated their time to make this happen,” John said. “It’s a wonderful thing.” Once funding is fully in place, construction will begin on the multi-million-dollar project, which will include a 12,000-square-foot barn-themed building where rescue dogs from a variety of breeds will be trained to serve as emotional support animals. In the other building, the Marinos will run a pet boarding operation that will be able to house up to 50 animals at a time.

The center will also include indoor dog runs, a dog wash, a veterinary station, and a reception area, as well as abundant outdoor space consisting of walking trails, a playground and even some barnyard animals.

In addition, there will be spaces reserved in the main building for local therapists to conduct pet therapy counseling sessions for children and adults.

“If you think about it, it’s a lot easier to send someone to therapy when it’s a nice, peaceful farm setting,” John said. “And the healing power of dogs is just incredible -- they just make you calm. To open up in a therapy setting is difficult, but a dog demystifies that. It calms people down, allows people to open up, be vulnerable.”

“What we hope is that the kids and parents fall in love with the therapy dog, and then they adopt it and take it home,” Linda said. “It’s a win-win for the dog and the family.”

“It’s a cycle -- train a rescue dog to be a therapy dog, then they’ll serve others,” John added. It’s a beautiful sentiment that Bianca would no doubt fully approve of.

“Bianca would do anything for anybody. And now, thanks to her, we’re going to do a lot of good for a lot of pets and a lot of people,” John said. “It’s going to be amazing.”