Tag Archives: Connecticut Humane Society

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …


Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.


Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.


Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)


Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.


The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)


Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin


Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.


Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.


It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.


And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.


COVID-19 Roundup: Great Landlords; CNN; Pet, Art, Food News; Devil’s Den Closed; More

Beth Schaefer leads off with some great news!

She owns Westport Yarns. Her shop is considered “non-essential” — though everyone could do with some soothing knitting these days — and she’s completely shut down. Not even curbside pickup.

Yesterday, her landlords — Edward and Joan Hyde — suspended her rent for April. They did the same for her shopping center neighbors Body Quest and Party Hardy.

If conditions don’t improve, the Hydes will consider doing the same for Beth in May.

“This could make all the difference whether I can survive or not,” Beth says gratefully. “It’s not a guarantee, but it puts me in a much better place.”

The Hydes are not Westport’s biggest or wealthiest landlords. Plenty of Westport commercial real estate is owned by large corporations.

But Edward and Joan Hyde made that first generous, community-minded gesture. Will others do the same, to help other businesses survive?

When they do, let me know. I’ll give them the shout-out they deserve.

First it was the New York Times. Then Fox News. Now CNN has reported on Westport’s state-leading 79 coronavirus cases.

The story mentions the now-infamous party that may have contributed to the spread of the disease. But it also includes cautionary quotes from Yale New Haven Health System’s chief quality officer Dr. Steven Choi — a Westport resident.

“There was no social irresponsibility with the party,” he says. “It could have been any party.”

The spread is now “past the point of contact tracing,” State Senator Will Haskell — a Staples High School graduate — adds. “The most productive thing people could do right now is not point fingers, but stay at home as much as possible.”

For the full story, click here.

Everyone loves healthcare professionals, and pets. But who can care for the latter, when the former is at work?

Town House for Dogs and Cats, that’s who. Owner Sandy Goldman offers free “daycare” for healthcare workers. Email sandylee@optonline.net, or call 203-227-3276.

In related pet news, Westport-based Connecticut Humane Society is hosting a Zoom webinar tomorrow (Thursday, March 26, 3 p.m.).

It’s a PetTalk (the animal version of a TedTalk) about busting pet boredom. Participants will learn how to keep pets’ minds and bodies active. Click here to sign up.

The Humane Society adds, “thankfully everyone here is doing fine. Most pets have been moved to foster homes. Our Fox Memorial Clinic in Newington is seeing veterinary emergencies by appointment.”

In addition to being a frequent “06880” commenter, Rich Stein runs a catering business. He writes now about the sudden, complete end of work for all caterers and private chefs. No more galas or gallery openings; no more private parties. Justlikethat, they’re gone. (As is business for the vendors — including local farmers and markets — they buy from.)

Rich says that he and other caterers — he mentions Dash of Salt, AMG Catering, Along Came Carol, along with his own What’s on the Menu Event Services — have posted very tasty menus on their websites and social media, for anyone who wants meals prepared and delivered (and frozen). They are always scrupulous about cleanliness and health.

Remember: Easter and Passover are coming. You may not have your traditional gathering — but you’ll still want to eat well.

Speaking of food, Brian Lewis is doing all he can to help his dedicated restaurant staff.

All takeout orders at OKO support a new meal train for the employees who are temporarily out of work. He’s providing full dinners for them and their families, twice a week.

“Every dollar from takeout orders that members of the community are so graciously placing supports this meal train,” Brian says. “Each dollar also helps me keep 9 people employed. and our doors open.”

Brian also plans to help feed first responders, and medical workers.

To help OKO help others, click here. For a list of all restaurants and markets offering curbside and takeout delivery, click here; then scroll down.

Speaking even more of food, Stew Leonard Jr. was on Fox News yesterday, talking about his family’s business.

Panic buying seems over, he says. They’ve adjusted to spikes, like selling 40,000 cans of tuna fish a week, up from the usual 10,000.

He also noted changes, like eliminating loose bagel bins and (aaargh!) all those free samples.

Oh, yeah: Stew’s is paying employees an extra $2 an hour now.

Click here for the full interview.


The Nature Conservancy has closed Devil’s Den. A “dramatic increase” in visitors — combined with their lack of social distancing, and “not heeding the town of Weston’s request to refrain from parking on roads which can block emergency access for our neighbors” — sparked the decision.

Bridgeport Rescue Mission offers food, shelter, clothing, addiction recovery services and education to a desperate population in Bridgeport — and does it 24/7/365, with no city, state or federal funding. A number of Westporters are deeply involved in the Mission’s work.

COVID-19 hits the low income, homeless and mentally ill populations hard. Meanwhile, both food donations and financial support is down. Packaged food or wellness kits with hand sanitizer, tissues, soap and cough drops can be dropped off at 1069 Connecticut Avenue, Bridgeport (Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Click here to donate online, or mail to: BRM, PO Box 9057, Bridgeport, CT  06601.


Beechwood — Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito’s innovative, immersive arts salon series — offers intimate, personal encounters with music, paintings, sculpture, dance, the written word and more.

It’s the opposite of social distancing.

But you can’t keep Beechwood down.

From 6 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday in April, they’ll provide an hour of art, music, performances and special guests. And they’ll do it while connecting communities around the globe. Audiences don’t just tune in; they’ll interact too.

Each Wednesday has a theme. There are live performances, special guests, and excerpts from amazing performances over the past 9 years of salons.

Mark your calendars. Then click on facebook.com/beechwoodarts. For more infromation, click here.

And finally, a few wise words from Bill Withers:

Humane Response To Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey brought incredible human suffering — and heroism — to Houston.

But there were plenty of stories — awful, and inspiring — about animals too.

Earlier this month, 2 teams of Connecticut Humane Society employees traveled to Texas, for 10 days each. The groups relieved their Texas shelter colleagues, who had worked nonstop on relief efforts.

The CHS group administered medical treatment, tested dogs for heartworm, fed, cleaned and distributed pet food, at several sites.

A Connecticut Humane Society team in Houston.

Meanwhile, after a long journey, 22 dogs from areas affected by Harvey arrived at CHS. They’d already been in shelters, looking for new families, before the hurricane hit.

Bringing them to Connecticut gives Texas shelters room to house pets waiting to reunite with families.

The pups here are being spayed, neutered and treated for any medical conditions before being placed up for adoption.

All of this takes money. So on Sunday, October 1 (12 to 3 p.m.), Southport Veterinary Center is hosting a fundraiser.

It’s at the Ned Dimes Marina — coincidentally, on the first day that dogs are allowed back on the beach.

A Houston dog, waiting for adoption ohere.

The event is a “sit-in.” Southport Veterinary will contribute $5 to the Connecticut Humane Society for each dog that can sit on command for 2 minutes — and $1 per minute after that.

It’s first-come, first-served. Dogs can be bribed — er, rewarded — if necessary. But they must obey the command on their own free will.

Dog (and people) treats are available for contributions. Microchips can be checked too, at no charge.

The “sit-in” is a clever concept. Of course, after sitting for a few minutes, all those dogs have a big, wide beach to romp on.

And it’s theirs through March 31.

(For more information — and to contribute, if you can’t be there — click here.)


Photo Challenge #136

In a week in which Anthony Scaramucci — remember him? — went on a XXX  rampage, I can be forgiven for posting a photo of a “Pee-Free Zone.”

Lynn U. Miller took the image at the Connecticut Humane Society, just up the hill from Compo Shopping Center. Pat Welburg/Welden, Angela Simpson, Dorian Barth and Julie Macdonald knew that the curious sign was there (and not, as others guessed, Winslow dog park). Click here to see the photo, and all comments. 

Naming this week’s photo challenge is easy. It’s the Platt Burial Ground!

(Photo/Molly Alger)

The hard part is knowing where it is. If you do — no cheating! — click “Comments” below.

Remembering Dusty

“06880” reader Adam Stolpen writes:

My best friend died Sunday morning, and I was responsible. Though a vibrant personality to his last breath, he was quite ill and in pain. I wanted him to die naturally at home, but could not cause him to keep suffering simply because I loved him too much to say goodbye when he depended on me not to prolong the inevitable through heroic means.



We first met Dusty at the Westport Humane Society nearly 2 decades ago. He won all of us over. As any friend of a cat knows, he quickly proved that our home was now his place. He seemed to tolerate me as well as my son Eduard, but it was clear he was my daughter Betty’s cat.

Dusty was a constant presence, and a singularly pleasant companion. As he approached a people-age of 100 he began to slow down. He spent his days watching life from the window, sleeping in the sun on his favorite chair and developing a psychic way of knowing every time I approached the refrigerator (which held his fresh shredded Stew Leonard’s turkey).

Recently his body began to fail him. Couch backs were replaced with cushioned seats, high beds ignored. By last week his favorite hidden shelf became too much of an effort to reach. He lay in the sun on a rug. Wonderful vets tried what they could. He’d knowingly look into our eyes. We sensed he was saying, “It’s not that you live, but how you live. For me it’s over.”

Dusty and Betty.

Dusty as a kitten, and Betty as a pre-teen.

Betty came up on Saturday. They lay near each other, his head resting on her hand. He slept by her all night. The next morning he came to me. We sat for an hour talking — ok, I talked. He listened and snuzzled my leg. We followed our morning routine, watching the sun come up one final time.

We took Dusty to the vet early Sunday morning. He was not alone at the end. He knew he was deeply loved. It was quiet, peaceful and gentle. I have little doubt he was aware of what was happening, and was content. How different the life of this abandoned kitten could have been 20 years ago if we’d not met.

But this story is not just about Dusty, or how much is missing from our home since his death. It’s about how much he brought into our lives, and how glad we all are that we visited the Westport Humane Society and adopted that little ball of dust.

They’re open today, with animals waiting for a new home. I know, because we took all Dusty’s things, to pass along to the next stray kitten who wanders in.

Dusty, once more.

Dusty, once more.

Humane Society logo

Junior The Wonder Dog Ready For TV Debut

If your Saturday morning routine involves planting the kids in front of TV cartoons, this weekend you might consider a different show.

At 11 a.m. tune in to “Born to Explore,” the ABC series that explores intriguing stories around the world. Then stop what you’re doing, sit down and watch it yourself.

This Saturday’s show features Junior, a very inspiring dog.

With Westport tags.

Junior the Wonder Dog.

Junior the Wonder Dog.

Junior was abused, before being rescued by the Connecticut Humane Society, then adopted by Westporters Jim and Laura Pendergast.

Three years ago, at the couple’s summer home in Maine, Junior suffered a stroke. His rear legs were paralyzed.

The Pendergasts committed to water and physical therapy, plus acupuncture, twice a week.

Yet Junior was slow to heal. So the couple purchased a wheelchair.

“We trained him little by little. He really fought us at first and would cry and cry and cry, but with treats and sheer determination, we got him to be able to walk with it,” Laura Pendergast told the Scarborough Leader.

 Today Junior runs on the beach, plays with other dogs, even swims.

Junior romps with the Pendergasts.

Junior romps with the Pendergasts.

“It’s an inspirational story about him not giving up on himself. He really got himself in a situation where he can live a happy and free life,” Laura Pendergast said.

The show was filmed last summer in Maine.

“A lot of people who regularly walk their dogs know Junior, but it seems like we always run into someone who doesn’t know him and who want to ask questions and meet him,” Jim says. “He is a real rock star.”

On Saturday, he — and the Pendergasts — rock a national audience.


It’s A Dog’s Life

I’m not a dog person — they’re not allowed in our condos, even though they regularly romp across our property from neighboring Winslow Park — but I found the following info fascinating.

It comes courtesy of alert “06880” reader Audrey Hertzel.

The birthday girl

The birthday girl

Every year she holds a fundraising birthday party for her now 12-year-old English setter, Daisy Mae. This year 30 people attended. They fetched $1,600 over to the Connecticut Humane Society.

But did you know that famed cowboy actor William Hart — a Westporter — gave a donation to start the Humane Society 60 years ago?

Or that a cancer rider is a good investment for pet insurance?

Daisy Mae was diagnosed with a slow-growing, incurable tumor in her hind leg in June. She completed 4 rounds of radiation successfully, and started chemo this week.

Fortunately, Audrey has a cancer rider for her 4 pets. Daisy Mae’s treatment has cost over $8,000, but reimbursement has covered nearly 2/3.

On the other hand, the value of a beloved pet is priceless.

On the 3rd hand, not in my condo.

A Humane Policy?

In his long career as a Coleytown Middle School phys ed. teacher, Ron Weir was well known for lavishing care and attention on every child.

Less well known is his interest in animals.  But that’s an important interest too.  Over the years, Ron has adopted 5 dogs from the Westport branch of the Connecticut Humane Society.

A couple of months ago, he picked up an 8-year-old dalmatian mix.

The man Ron hired to install an invisible fence on his property said the dog had “kennel cough.”  The next day, Ron took Precious to the vet.  The dog was diagnosed with heartworm.

The Humane Society has a 30-day policy for visiting a vet.  Ron called the Society, and described the potentially fatal parasitic disease.  The Humane Society said to bring the dog back.

His vet, however, said that — because of Precious’ age and illness — that meant it would be euthanized.

“I love this animal,” Ron says.  “That’s unacceptable.”

He took Precious to several veterinarians.  One — a heart specialist in Shelton — thinks he can save the dog.

Ron had spent $250 on a Humane Society insurance policy.  But it paid only $1,500.  So far, Ron has paid about $6,000 for the animal’s care.

He called the Humane Society in Westport — and the state office — to see if they could help with medical expenses.

“The dog came from North Carolina,” Ron says.  “My vet said there’s a lot of heartworm down there.  But the Humane  Society never checked for it.”

I called the Westport Humane Society, and asked about its policy if — after adoption — one of its animals is found to have a disease.

“We don’t provide care,” a spokeswoman said.  “All animals are spayed, neutered, and current in their shots.”

So, I continued, an owner has to pick up all medical expenses for a dog rescued from its facility?

“Of course,” she replied.

Ron thinks it’s unfair that the dog was not tested for an endemic disease like heartworm.

But, he says, he won’t let Precious be put down.

“I love her,” he says.  “I’m not going to lose her.”

(A reader asked if she could contribute funds to Precious’s care.  Ron Weir’s address is Box 488, Redding Ridge, CT 06876.)

One Last Task

Happy December 31!

As we bid adieu to 2010, many Westporters say:  “Good riddance.”

This has not been the most bang-up year — not financial, political, even meteorological.

We eagerly welcome 2011.  But before heading out to celebrate — either at non-alcoholic First Night or a very alcoholic party elsewhere — we’ve got a chance to make one last civic contribution (and take a final tax deduction to boot).

At the same time, we can honor the memory of 2 Westporters whose deaths in recent days have shaken this town.

Sharon Broecking — the woman killed by a car crossing the Post Road near Stop & Shop — was “an innocent, loving soul” known for her love of animals (and daily dog-walking).

Sharon’s sister said that despite limited financial resources, “she would take her last $5 and donate it to the Humane Society.”

Want to do the same?  Click here.

Another worthy organization — and a no-kill shelter — is Westport Animal Control.  To donate to this town-owned division of the Police Department, click here.

A few days after Sharon’s tragedy, Cindy D’Aiuto froze to death not far from her Canal Park apartment.  She wasn’t homeless — but other Westporters are.

All year long — especially when brutal weather strikes — Homes With Hopes’ Gillespie Center, Hoskins’ Place and Bacharach Community offer safe havens to men, women and children in need.

In 2011, this great group plans to expand the important work they’ve done for 26 years.  They too need our help — click here.

These are not the only organizations worthy of our year-end, tax-deductible dollars, of course.  Our town is filled with countless others — just hit the “comment” button to add yours.

But as we say goodbye to this tough year — and mourn the loss of 2 low-key, well-liked women — “06880” takes this opportunity to answer the question Westporters have asked many times in the wake of their deaths:  “How can I help?”

It’s A Dog-Eat-Dog World

Westport is no stranger to dog doings.  It took years to decide that, during certain months of the year, Fido could run off-leash on certain areas of the beach.

Many Westporters today call Winslow Park “the world’s most expensive dog run.”

A new canine controversy may dog us this weekend.

First, some background.

A little over 2 years ago, several residents formed Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.  Their mission was to raise awareness of Westport Animal Control — a no-kill shelter that cares for lost and abandoned dogs — and rally support for a renovation project.

The group also hoped to stop a proposed joint venture between the Connecticut Humane Society — a kill shelter — and Westport Animal Control.

Westport Animal Control Advocates make sure no dogs are killed. (Courtesy Pamela Einarsen Photography)

WASA went on to fund construction of outdoor runs at Westport Animal Control, and purchased a washer/dryer for the facility.  They’re in the process of installing an alarm system, and spaying, neutering and vaccinating animal control dogs.

WASA volunteers handle press releases for the dogs, and provide supplemental walks and socialization.

Last year, WASA sponsored a very successful fundraiser:  A Westport Top Dog Contest and show.

The 2nd annual event is set for this Saturday (Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), at the grassy area next to the Compo Beach basketball courts.

Dogs will compete in categories like Top Kisser, Top Tail Wagger and Top Face Only a Mother Could Love.  A silent auction features sports tickets and memorabilia, jewelry, cookware and more.  Joey’s provides lunch.

Not much to bitch about, right?


On the very same day, the Connecticut Humane Society is holding an event (12-3 p.m.), at their Post Road facility.  They’re advertising pet adoptions, pet portraits, a doggie costume contest, and a pet/owner lookalike contest.

The WASA people aren’t pointing fingers — but they sure aren’t wagging their tails in delight.  They hope the fact that 2 organizations run similar events on the same day is just a coincidence — but no one is sure.

There is plenty of confusion in town.  Many residents believe the Humane Society is actually Westport Animal Control.  In fact, Westport Animal Control — a division of the Police Department — is town-owned and run.  It’s located on Elaine Road, off Bridge Street near the boat ramp.

WASA’s  Top Dog contest is being held at Compo Beach.  That’s a lot easier to get to than the no-kill Westport Animal Control.  But it’s still not as visible as the Connecticut Humane Society’s building on the Post Road — just up the hill from CVS.

If you want to go to the Humane Society shindig on Saturday, go.

If you want to go to WASA’s Top Dog contest, go there instead.

But don’t confuse the 2.  Even if the Humane Society maybe — just maybe — hopes you do.

(For more information on the WASA Top Dog contest, click here.  For more information on the Connecticut Humane Society event, click here.)