Tag Archives: Amy Scarella

Roundup: Amy Scarella, Staples Books Complaint, Historic District …

Amy Scarella is a 1994 Staples High School graduate. Many Westporters know her as the passionate power behind Little Black Dog Rescue.

She was the woman driving around town with an SUV full of howling canines. She fundraised tirelessly to rescue dogs from kill shelters (usually down South), transport them to Connecticut, and address each dog’s many health problems. Then she matched each dog to a loving family. It’s estimated she and her team have saved over 1,000 animals.

A former teacher in the Bronx, Amy also tutored kids.

Her longtime friend Meghan Bell calls her “the friend who showed up at my house to watch my newborn twins so I could take a shower and a nap. And the friend who drove in a snowstorm to Westchester County Medical Center to pick me up when my father had a stroke and I couldn’t put a sentence together, let alone navigate I-95 in the snow.”

Amy moved to Charleston, South Carolina a few years ago to be closer to her family. Recently, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Due to its size and location, there was no more room to grow. She needed immediate surgery.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by her friends, to help with medical and rehabilitation expenses. Anyone who knows Amy’s Little Black Dog Rescue work — and those who don’t, but wishes they did — is invited to contribute.

Amy Scarella


The next step in the handling of a resident’s complaint about material displayed in the Staples High School library is a special meeting on Monday, April 3 (3:30 p.m., Staples library).

An ad hoc committee, appointed by Superintendent of School Thomas Scarice, will follow up on last week’s session. Westport resident Tara McLaughlin seeks the removal of 3 books — sought the removal of “Gender Queer,” “This Book is Gay” and “Flamer” — from the collection.

Monday’s meeting is the next, in a 9-step process. The committee will discuss previous hearings, and “develop an evaluative judgment and recommendation for consideration by the Superintendent of Schools.”

Public comment will not be allowed. It may be permitted at a later meeting.

The 3 books challenged by parent Tara McLaughlin.


Want input into Westport’s Historic Preservation Plan?

The Historic District Commission is conducting a survey, to guide them as they adopt one. The goal is to “establish a long-term vision for historic preservation in the community, and create a set of achievable goals and strategies for strengthening the town’s historic preservation program.”

Click here for the survey. To learn more about the Historic District Commission, click here.

This sign on Jesup Road is looking a bit historic.(Photo/Morley Boyd)


Speaking of the Historic District Commission:

The agenda for their April 11 Zoom meeting includes 6 homes “to take such action as the meeting may determine to oppose the issuance of the demolition permit … and require the full 180-day delay.”

Among those on the chopping block: 45 Compo Beach Road.

Located across from Ned Dimes Marina, on the way to the beach entrance and just north of Roosevelt Road, it’s one of the most recognizable houses in town:

The yellow house at 45 Compo Beach Road.


Eleven Westport organizations have received arts grants. They come from 3 state sources: General Operation Support, the Connecticut Arts Endowment, and Supporting Arts.

Westport’s total of $183,647 is distributed this way:

American Chamber Orchestra – $5,764
Beechwood Arts, Inc. – $10,000
Fairfield County Chorale  – $12,987
JIB Productions (Play With Your Food) –  $2,371
Levitt Pavilion, Friends of Westport – $54,909
MoCA Westport, Inc. – $60,782
Music for Youth Westport – $5,954
Suzuki Music School of Westport & Orange – $3,128
Westport Community Theatre – $9,417
Westport Country Playhouse –  $12,959
Westport School of Music –  $5,376.

MoCA Westport is one of 11 local organizations to receive state arts grants.


Check out this photo:

(Photo/Dan Woog)

What is it?

You’ll find it in the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum, now through Sunday. It’s part of Verso Fest — the 2nd annual music-and-media festival.

It’s a 1:4 scale model of the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound. It was created by former Westonite Anthony Coscia.

The “wall” is on display, and will crank tunes (intermittently) throughout VersoFest. There’s even a class about it (and PA systems): tomorrow (Saturday, April 1, 11 a.m.), open to all.

The aim of Coscia’s project is to preserve The Wall’s place in history, and allow people to hear, see, and feel what few were able to experience.

The model features over 500 functioning speakers divided into 8 channels, producing 100 decibels with little to no distortion.

VersoFest kicked off last night, with a concert by Sunflower Bean. A crowd of over 200 people enjoyed the show.

Sunflower Bean, last night at the Westport Library’s VersoFest. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Tonight it’s the (sold-out) Smithereens. Saturday includes panels with Steve Lillywhite and Richard Butler. Among Sunday’s highlights: a vinyl swap, and the documentary “Live from the Astroturf.”

For a schedule and full details of concerts, workshops and more, click here. All concerts are co-produced by the Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Sunflower Bean backstage at VersoFest, flanked byTalking Head and Tom Tom Club’s Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Matthew Balga — the Whelk chef killed by a car earlier this month, while walking across Riverside Avenue after work — will be remembered on Sunday.

CT Urbanists — a safe streets advocacy group — will place a pair of “ghost shoes” at the site where he was struck.

A group will walk from the Westport train station at 11:30 a.m. to the site. All are welcome.

Similar ceremonies will honor 3 other pedestrians killed this month, in Greenwich, New Haven and Cheshire.

For more information, email jcproctor@gmail.com.

Chef Matthew Balga


Aspetuck’s next “Lunch and Learn” webinar is all about nighttime.

“Working the Night Shift: Pollination Happens after Dark Too!” (Wednesday, April 5, noon to 1 p.m.) explores how moths, flies, beetles and other dusk and after-dark pollinators play important roles pollinating wild and managed plants, along with the ecology, diversity and importance of these hidden pollinators, and how to support them.

The presenter is Emily May (pollinator conservation specialist, and agricultural lead with the Xerces Society’s Pesticide Program). Click here for more information, and to register.


This intriguing photo was recently found in an old barn — used for storage by many families — on Bayberry Lane.

Lloyd and Stacy Stableford think the girl (now woman) in the photo might like to have it back. If you know who she is, email sstableford@gmail.com

President Carter, with an unidentified girl.

Also found: something (possibly valuable), with a dedication. The recipient was “Gramp” referred to as “Tia’s 3rd husband”), who had been an attorney and judge in the early and mid 20th century. It hung in his law office and courtroom until he retired in 1961.

The item was embroidered in Japan in 1914 or 1915, and presented around 1920 by a Lt. Cmdr. R.S. Skelton, whose name appears in the 1883 Congressional Record.

The Stablefords’ research did not yield much. If you know anything more about “Gramp,” email sstableford@gmail.com.


Seen on social media:

“I am absolutely heartbroken over the loss of an Orvis Recon Fly & Reel. It was my personal favorite and a gift from my wife.

It was accidently left on the right-side parking shoulder nearest the water of Ford Road in Westport Wednesday, between 2 and 6 p.m. Reward given to the kind soul who locates and returns it. Please call Mark at 475-731-7400.”

Let’s hope Mark gets his fly and reel back.

And that his wife doesn’t see this. (Hat tip: Mary Beth Murray)

Orvis Recon


It’s not Westport, but close enough:

With 136 new apartments planned for the Route 1 border in Norwalk — including Renzulli Road becoming a cul-de-sac, and the demolition of 7 houses, plus several businesses — decades-old Sanitary Cleaners is closing next month.

The final day to accept clothing is tomorrow. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Sanitary Cleaners


George Billis Gallery recently moved from Westport to Fairfield.

Their original New York location — 527 West 23rd Street — is still open.

That’s where Westport artist Sherri Wolfgang has her next exhibit.

The opening reception is Saturday, April 8 (4 to 7 p.m.). The show runs from April 4-29 (Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.). For more information, call 917-273-8621.

Art by Sherri Wolfgang


Beginning tomorrow, dogs will begin their 6-month ban from Compo Beach.

That includes Lola — who lives on Soundview Drive, just yards from the shore.

She prepared for her new life by watching workers smooth the sand.

And by posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … if you want to weigh in on the Historic District Commission’s Preservation Plan (story above), do not listen to the first lines of this song (or watch the images):

(Don’t know much about Westport? Read “06880.” Learn. And then support our work. Please click here. Thank you!)

Black Dog, Black Duck

Do you know about Black Dog Syndrome?

It’s when black dogs are passed over for adoption, in favor of lighter ones. Black dogs are said to be put down more often in the South, a combination of superstition and residual racism.

I’d never heard of it. Nor had Amy Scarella. But after the 1994 Staples graduate began an animal rescue effort a few years ago, she did.

“Pretty twisted,” she calls it. So she made black dogs her “pet” project.

Little Black Dog Rescue is an outgrowth of her “Bark Camp” doggie play group, which morphed into a dog-walking business, which became a full-time gig.

Amy Scarella, and one of her black dogs.

Amy Scarella, and one of her black dogs.

Working with Westport Animal Shelter Advocates and the Animal Center in Newtown, Amy learned about unwanted dogs brought north for adoption. Then she saw other dogs on Facebook. One — with 150 flea bites — had been abandoned.

She arranged to transport it here. It would cost $600 to fix its leg, so she started her own rescue organization.

Soon, she was working with 1 or 2 black dogs at a time. One had a litter of 9 puppies, which she placed in Westport, Fairfield and Norwalk homes.

Little Black Dog Rescue was privately funded. Recently, it received 501(c)(3) status. Now Amy can apply for grants, and donors earn tax deductions.

She’s also planning her 1st real fundraiser. It’s at the Black Duck next Thursday (February 5, 6-8 pm). There’s an open bar, appetizers, silent auction, live music, and a slide show of doggy success stories.

Two days later (Saturday, February 7), 8 dogs will be featured at the Natural Pet Outlet in Black Rock. They’re available for pre-approval.

Storm is ready for adoption. He was left in an apartment in Bridgeport to fend for himself this winter.. He may be a mastiff/bully breed mix and is gentle and quiet. He is great with other dogs and knows basic commands.

Storm is ready for adoption. He may be a mastiff/bully breed mix. He is gentle, quiet, great with other dogs, and knows basic commands.

“I don’t do same-day adoptions,” Amy says. “I pride myself on matching dogs and families very well.”

She is passionate about her work. “All of these are ‘last-chance’ dogs,” she says. “If you can take a dog just for a day, you’ll see how great they are. They’re not wild; they’re sweet. And every black dog we save opens up space for another one.”

She has many helpers. Earth Animal supplies food. Greenfield Grooming cuts all the dogs, gratis. Pete Aitkin at the Duck has been “very generous.”

Amy also lauds her youth volunteers. Some are as young as 8 years.

Over the past 18 months, Amy has placed more than 70 dogs. One went to a family with 3 autistic sons. The animal was very energetic, but had not played well with other dogs.

It turned out to be a perfect fit. The 11-year-old son wrote Amy, thanking her for saving the dog and bringing him “my best friend.”

Kids love Amy's dogs.

Kids love Amy’s dogs.

Another dog — in a shelter for 6 months — was adopted by a Weston priest at St. Francis of Assisi. (“He’s the patron saint of animals,” Amy notes with wonder.) That dog is beloved by all the pre-school children there.

Rescuing animals is not all that Amy does. She still has her dog walking business (for all colors), and she works for a clothing line.

But Little Black Dog Rescue is her labor of love. Next Thursday, we all can share her love for dogs.

At the Duck.

(Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Order by PayPal, using this email address: lbdrescue@gmail.com)