95 Belden St.
Falls Village, CT 06031
It is not often that a rescue shelter itself needs rescuing, but that was exactly the situation following the tragic fire that gutted Last Post in Falls Village two Novembers ago. A score of cats perished in that fire, which also destroyed two buildings on the property. An outpouring of love and generous donations helped rebuild the shelter, many of whose feline residents were sent there to retire by previous owners who have become too ill to care for them or were forced to move to pet-free apartments or care facilities.
Situated on a nature preserve, Last Post is home now to over 200 cats – plus a goat, a pair of pigs and few dogs. In good weather, it has nearly 40 acres to bound about outside, while in the main building there are day rooms and a deck. While Last Post is a sanctuary and rescue center where many people come to find a pet to take home, late founder Pegeen Fitzgerald knew that as they age, some cats become unlikely candidates for adoption. These formed what she called her “retirement community,” and current business manager Susan Leach-Gregan still treats elderly cats with all of the care, love and respect that people in similar situations deserve.
Last Post is sponsored by The Millennium Guild and The Vivisection Investigation League, both of which founder and New York radio personality Pegeen Fitzgerald led as president prior to her passing in 1989. Although routinely referred to simply as “Last Post,” the complete and official title is Pegeen Fitzgerald’s Last Post Retirement Home for Cats.
No-Kill Animal Shelter Of Monroe
359 Spring Hill Road
Monroe, CT 06468
Director Susan Fernandez is very proud of the No-Kill Animal Shelter of Monroe, which is run by the Connecticut chapter of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). A 15-year veteran of managing shelters herself, Ms. Fernandez says the mission of her organization, and of the shelter in Monroe in particular, can be summed up by the “3 Rs: Rescue, Rehabilitate and Rehome.” More than 60 animals, about 30 each of cats and dogs, are currently residing at the Monroe shelter while awaiting adoption. The small, hard-working staff, which is augmented by many volunteers, welcomes donations of everything from Home Depot gift certificates to rawhide chews. It has posted a lengthy “wish list” of things needed by the cats, dogs and those who take care of them for those who while unable to adopt a pet, would still like to provide some care and comfort for these adorable pets-in-waiting.
Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS)
147 Grassy Plain St.
Bethel, CT 06801
Saturday, April 14 is the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Danbury Animal Welfare Society, or DAWS, and members are marking it with a grand dinner and dance and silent auction they are calling the “Make a Difference Ball.” The event will be held at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury at 6 p.m. that day, and proceeds will be used to help the society maintain its rescue shelter in nearby Bethel. In the meantime, however, the 80 animal inhabitants (and their human friends) could use donations to meet heating costs, as well as to meet other needs of their charges.
The rescue center and its supporting society have made it their mission to promote “responsible” pet ownership as well as to help educate the community on how to prevent cruelty to animals. They also work to find good homes for the 80 cats and dogs in the shelter, as befits their motto: “Making a difference…one animal at a time.”
Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter
749 East Main St.
Branford, CT 06405
In 2003, the three shoreline communities of Branford, North Branford and Northford came together to sponsor the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, located in the first of the three towns. “Hundreds of displaced animals come through our doors each year,” says director Laura Burban, who adds that hers is more than a “traditional animal shelter.” The Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter is both a rehabilitation center and an educational resource for the community, as it strives to “inspire” as well as teach people how to properly care for their pets. While helping find new homes for abandoned cats and dogs, the shelter also rescues wild animals – including most recently a Muscovy duckling, a blind baby skunk and a young fox who had been hit by a car.
City Of New Haven Animal Shelter
81 Fournier St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Stephani Johnson’s official title is Municipal Animal Control Officer for the City of New Haven, but for her the job is much more about the “animal” rather than the “control” part. More than 900 cats and dogs came through her doors last year, which means each dog kennel and cat compartment was a temporary home to about 10 animals in 2013. This is a big job in a big city, but thanks to help from volunteers and two key support groups – The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter and the City of New Haven Humane Commission – Officer Johnson says she is able to focus on rescuing and caring for her charges, and that includes finding them new homes. For only $80 to cover the cost of neutering and vaccinating the animals, as she happily explains, people can come to her shelter and find and take home “a friend for life.”
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.