Tag Archives: Earth Animal

COVID Roundup: New Grocery Store; Church Outreach; Earth Animal Art; Face Masks; More

And the newest grocery store in Westport is … Via Sforza.

The popular Post Road West Italian restaurant now sells a wide variety of produce, meat, dairy products, pasta, rice, sauces, spices, herbs, beverages, snacks, and pantry and household items. They’re open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Of course, they still offer their great takeout and delivery lunch and dinner menus too. Click here for more information, or call 203-454-4444.

Last year, Green’s Farms Church kicked off an ambitious “Church of the Future” campaign. Now is not the greatest time to be in the middle of a fundraiser. But they’ve been around for 309 years. They plan to be here for centuries more.

They’re renovating the facility, parts of which are 170 years old. That includes work on the meetinghouse, refurbishing the pipe organ, and making meeting areas more open and flexible. Local groups like AA will benefit as well.

But in this time of great need everywhere, Green’s Farms Church is thinking beyond its walls. Some of the funds raised are earmarked for local non-profits. The congregation has helped them in the past; now they’re ratcheting up that support even more.

GFC is donating $25,000 each to 4 groups: Homes With Hope, Mercy Learning Center, Pivot Ministries and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. 

Church leaders hope these challenge grants stimulate additional donations to each of these groups by others. And they hope as their own fundraising campaign continues, they’ll be able to help these and other groups even more in the future.

In the last 35 days, Westport Masks have made over 1,100 masks — and given them all away. Recent recipients include Westport’s Public Works, Parks & Recreation and highway departments; Westport Post Office; elderly residents through Westport’s Department of Human Services; Open Door Shelter in Norwalk; Food Rescue US; Thomas Merton Family Center in Bridgeport; Stamford Hospice, Norwalk Hospital and more.

While continuing to donate to front line and vulnerable groups, they’ll also create masks for friends, family, children and the general public in return for small financial donations. Westport Masks uses 100% of the funds to buy supplies. They suggest $10 — but they never let anyone go without a mask if they need one.

All masks are 2 layers of 100% cotton. They’re washable, with a filter pocket for added protection. They even have neck ties, so they can be worn all the time.

If you are confident with your sewing machine — or cannot sew but can cut fabric, or have spare fabric or good quality bed linen to donate, or want to one of your own — email WestportMasks@yahoo.com.

“We’ll keep going until no one else needs a mask,” promises co-founder Virginia Jaffe.

Yesterday marked the return of the Westport Farmers’ Market to the Imperial Avenue parking lot. Gratified shopper Emily Mikesell reports:

“Besides being as safe as possible, it was an unexpectedly sweet, positive experience. It ran like the most cheerful Swiss watch you’ve ever seen! It was wonderful to see so many familiar vendors, even behind masks. And though I felt sad not being able to over-buy from wandering and browsing, I’ll put myself in that mood over the weekend when I order for next week.

“Until then I will enjoy delicious raw milk and yogurt, farm fresh eggs and just-baked bread.

“Yes, the experience is different. But it still supports the vendors we love. It’s a real day brightener!”

To order online and for more information, click here.

Pets (and pet owners) love Earth Animal. Now artists do too.

Through May 31, they’re collecting artwork from all ages. Sketches, watercolor, chalk — whatever works is fine. So are group entries. The only rule: nothing bigger than 24″ x 36″.

Put your name on the back; drop it off at the store, or mail it to 925 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Drawings will be hung in the store — and whoever created their favorite will win a $500 gift card.

Questions? Call 203-222-7173.

A couple of months ago, the message on this sweatshirt spotted on Beachside Avenue would have drawn puzzled looks. These days, it makes perfect sense.

(Photo/Ed Simek)

And finally … what better way for the King’s Singers to share Billy Joel’s beautiful tune than by asking 732 people around the globe to join them in a “Stay at Home” choir? Kudos to all (and everyone behind the scenes too). What a lovely way to end the week.

Earth Animal Helps Fight Hunger

Earth Animal‘s gourmet kitchen for dogs was filled with humans yesterday.

Earth Animal’s gourmet dog kitchen.

They were celebrating the popular Post Road store’s 12th annual contribution to the CT Food Bank.

Every holiday season, Earth Animal donates 1% of all proceeds back to people, animals and the earth.

The check was $25,390 — the company’s largest donation ever.

They’re definitely barking up the right tree.

Earth Animal Paves The Way For Johnny

When Earth Animal moves into their new digs, they’ll do so without John R. Mancinelli.

The longtime employee — a comedian, healer and humanitarian, loved by colleagues and customers for his big heart and boundless energy — died nearly 3 years ago.

But he won’t be forgotten.

The natural-alternatives pet store is creating a memorial walkway at the entrance to the new location: the old Post Road Starbucks (and before that, Krazy Vin’s), next to Patio.com.

John R. Mancinelli

There will be bricks for Johnny. Customers can purchase others, to honor family members and friends (of both the human and furry variety).

All proceeds benefit Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

The walkway will be dedicated as part of Earth Animal’s grand opening on October 6 — the first anniversary of Johnny’s death.

It takes several weeks to engrave the bricks, so orders close August 12. Click here for details, and ordering information.

Osprey Nest Is Down. What’s Up With That?

Westport loves its ospreys. The pair that nest next to Fresh Market — right there on the main drag — are particularly well known and admired.

They returned from their southern home last week.  Today, several Westporters noted with distress that the nest is gone.

Lindsay and Nick from Earth Animal — across the street from the tall pole — emailed “06880”:

The osprey nest was taken down early this morning. The maintenance crew are driving around a crane today so we believe this was done by the landlords.

It has been heartbreaking to see the osprey circling around the area that was once their home, not knowing what to do. They are carrying large sticks and trying to rebuilt and are even attempting to built on their old home location on the telephone pole. The osprey are loved by our community and we are not sure how to help them. Do you have an idea?

This still image from a video shot by Sam Levenson shows the ospreys as they circled what used to be their nests.

(Photo from video by Sam Levenson)

Here’s a close-up view of the now-bare nest:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

A few years ago Eversource moved the nest, from one pole to a less dangerous one.

There are no details on this move. If any “06880” readers have information — or know how to help the ospreys — click “Comments” below.

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)




Scavenging For Kindness

Scavenger hunts are cool.

Also, according to a Westport student-parent initiative, it’s “kool” to be kind.

This week, a “Kool To Be Kind Scavenger Hunt” gives parents and children a chance to have fun, learn about Westport and kindness, and bond in the process.

Kool To Be Kind — a year-old project initiated by mothers/professionals Cindy Eigen, Lynne Goldstein, Sarah Green and Melissa Shein — promotes kindness and compassion at an early age by training high school students to act as mentors and role models to elementary schoolers.

It’s being piloted in all 3rd grade classes at Long Lots and Coleytown Elementary Schools. Staples students — trained by K2BK — lead interactive lessons promoting kindness, empathy and the creation of anti-bullying allies.

The children just finished the 2nd of 5 lessons. Now they’re “hunting for kindness.”

Part of a K2BK poster.

They and their high school mentors created posters, which have been posted in 40 stores throughout Westport. A scavenger hunt for the posters starts tomorrow (Monday, January 16), and runs through Sunday (January 22).

Some do more than simply display the posters. For example, Crumbs is creating a K2BK cupcake. Earth Animal made a K2BKanine cookie. Lululemon has designed a K2BK yoga class.

The plan is for parents to help their kids use scavenger hunt cards to find the posters –and then discuss what they’ve found. If a poster says “Ally Power Rules,” a parent might initiate a discussion of the word “ally.” Hopefully, that will reinforce ideas the youngsters got from their K2BK lessons in school.

Once a child locates a poster, he or she will be given a sticker by a store employee. The class that gets the most stickers will earn a prize.

Long Lots 3rd graders (from left) Chelsea Strober, Rachel Varsano, Josh Leon, Jake Motyl and Justin Honig find a K2BK poster.

Nearly 4 dozen Staples students interviewed for spots as K2BK mentors. They thought they’d be teaching children, but they’ve also learned a lot themselves.

“They see their high school world through different lenses now. They seem changed in the process,” the K2BK founders say.

The scavenger hunt may also spread awareness throughout the community. Customers will see the posters hanging in windows or on walls. Owners will hand out K2BK fliers to anyone who asks about them.

“It’s simple,” the K2BK leaders say. “Being empathetic, nice and inclusive is what high school kids think is Kool. Being the opposite is not.

“If 3rd graders get the message, spread it to the rest of their school, and bring it home to their siblings and parents and then out to the community, we are doing our little bit to stop bullying and promote ‘ally power.'”

The founders have one other hope: that the scavenger hunt “will encourage everyone in the community to commit random acts of kindness, and pay it forward as much as possible.”