Nearly 2 years ago, a pack of feral cats caused havoc near Compo Beach. Finally, police and PAWS came to the rescue.
Now the cats are back.
A few weeks ago, a resident found a cat in his garage. They thought the cute animal was exploring.
But it never left — because it was nursing 4 kittens in the back of the garage.
A feral cat mother in the back of a Compo Beach neighborhood garage.
The resident’s wife — who had volunteered for an animal welfare shelter in New York — knew she needed to get them help. She also had to act quickly: The beach home had been rented, and tenants were arriving in 3 days.
Dorrie Harris — co-founder of TAILS — arrived with another rescuer to safely remove the cats, which will be socialized and placed for adoption.
Dorrie told the homeowners that the cats were feral. Turns out, they came from the same Norwalk Avenue home as before.
Another neighbor’s cat was then attacked by a feral cat, and nearly lost an eye. Her owner is out $2,000 in veterinary fees.
The feral cat woman leaves food for the cats — and other neighborhood animals — with her porch door open.
A neighbor says she is breeding “bazillions” of kittens. They overrun porches and cars, and leave messes everywhere.
The feral owner has had issues with hoarding — and been helped by the town. Neighbors — who are sympathetic to her blight plight, but also fed up — find the cat problem tougher to solve.
The story described his abuse, rescue by the Connecticut Humane Society, and subsequent adoption by Westporters Jim and Laura Pendergast.
But 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.
Junior was slow to heal. So the couple purchased a wheelchair.
The dog fought and cried. Finally — thanks to treats and sheer determination — Junior walked.
Today he runs on the beach, plays with other dogs, even swims.
Junior the Wonder Dog.
The “06880” story highlighted Junior’s star turn on “Born to Explore.” That’s the Saturday morning ABC TV series that offers inspiring stories from around the world.
“Born to Explore” has Westport roots too. In a small warren of 2nd-floor offices next to Bobby Q’s, Richard Wiese and a tiny staff produce 26 episodes a year. The entire series is planned, organized and edited right on Main Street.
A world map inspires Richard Wiese in his Westport office.
But this story isn’t really about Junior. Nor is it about “Born to Explore.”
It’s about Laura Pendergast — Junior’s owner — and her work with other animals.
With a nod toward Jim Fowler, former host of “Wild Kingdom.” He’s friends with Wiese, and has visited “Born to Explore”‘s office.
Fowler will be back in Westport on Tuesday, May 3 (7 p.m., Terrain). The Emmy Award winner will be honored at a fundraiser to support animal welfare. Wiese serves as emcee.
The 3rd is global: the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Dr. Laurie Marker — founder and executive director of the Namibia-based group — will be honored at Terrain too, for her ground-breaking work.
Dr. Laurie Marker and friend.
The fundraising event — called “Rescue You Rescue Me” — includes wine and hors d’oeuvres; a fashion show by Anthropologie; live music; live and silent auctions, and private discounted Terrain shopping. Westport’s own Cynthia Gibb — who has rescued many animals — will model.
This story has meandered, from Junior the Wonder Dog and Richard Wiese to stray dogs, cheetahs and “Wild Kingdom.”
That’s not unusual. There’s a big world out there to explore.
But when you come right down to it, we’re all connected.
(For more information on the “Rescue You Rescue Me” event, click here. To order tickets, click here.)
NOTE: If you’d like to see Junior, the Wonder Dog’s TV episode, it’s on Netflix. Search for “Born to Explore, It’s a Dog’s Life.”
Planning the event (from left): Julie Loparo, Sara Burke, Marita Driscoll, Laura Curley Pendergast, Sue Smith. Dogs: Violet and Rico.
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