Tag Archives: TAILS

Unsung Heroes #197

Alert “06880” reader Netta Levy writes:

I am not a cat person. However, a black cat warmed its way into all our hearts. And not just my family’s, but our entire Coleytown street.

A few months ago, a black cat came around the neighborhood, every so often. A few weeks ago we saw it more regularly. It meowed, looked for attention and waited for kids at the bus stop. It even had a love interest down the street, named Paws.

Black cat (left) and Paws.

We first posted on Facebook’s Westport Front Porch looking for its rightful owner, but didn’t get much. Some people thought this was a feral black cat who had been seen around town a few years back. But we were not convinced.

Luckily, due to that post, Dorrie Harris found her way to us.

Dorrie volunteers with TAILS. An all-volunteer nonprofit in Westport, they support spaying or neutering of cats and dogs.

Dorrie dropped off food so we could feed the cat, which we called Berry. Every night at dinner we put out food; every night Berry came.

Our family and entire street got involved. Berry started coming more often — mornings, nights, during rain hiding in our planters, playing with my daughter, cozying up to my husband in the yard.

Berry playing with Netta Levy’s daughter …

We knew this cat had a home somewhere. This was not an outdoor cat.

Dorrie tried to trap it without success. Berry was smart and fast, and escaped the trap.

We waited a couple more weeks to do it again. Dorrie had already invested hours making sure Berry (now Blackberry) was ok. She emailed, phoned and visited, to ensure the cat was still coming around and was healthy.

The second trapping attempt yielded no results either. Dorrie sat for an hour, but the cat was a no-show.

As soon as Dorrie left, Blackberry came for dinner.

… and cozying up to her husband. (Photos/Netta Levy)

For the third attempt, Dorrie brought a foolproof, fancy trap. As soon as Blackberry came for the food, Dorrie trapped it.

Next came the important work:  taking the cat to the vet, making sure it was healthy, looking for a microchip and seeing if there an owner somewhere.

Dorrie called me the other day with good news. Luna — a female — did have a microchip. Her owners lived in Stamford.

Luna had gotten out on a rainy night last November. After searching for it unsuccessfully, the owners reported her missing to the microchip company.

Nobody knows how she got from Stamford to Westport, but the ending was happy all around. Luna is now back with her owners, thanks to TAILS and all their work.

We will miss our neighborhood cat. But we are extremely happy that Luna is back with her family, where she belongs.

NOTETAILS is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. With no paid staff, TAILS puts every dollar donated directly to saving animals.

They rely on donations – both monetary, and goods and services – to do what they do. Click here to help.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)


Winslow Park This Sunday: Dog Day Afternoon (And Morning)

Last year’s Dog Festival was postponed — twice! — by rain.

Matthew Mandell — executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, producer of the 4th annual event — has done his due diligence.

He made sure that this year’s rain fell in all of April, and continued through early this week.

Sure, there are a couple of pesky showers forecast for Sunday morning. But Mandell says they’ll clear out in time for every dog to have its day.

The Dog Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Winslow Park. Fido’s favorite playground will be even more dog-gone fun on Sunday, with:

  • Exciting demonstrations (police dogs, guide dogs, agility and training)
  • Goofy competitions (best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, dog that most looks like its owner — all judged by state and local officials)
  • Obstacle course (fastest dog wins a year’s supply of dog food)
  • Kids’ activities (caricatures, face painting, etc.)
  • Vendors
  • Food trucks
  • Adoptables
  • Information about non-profits (including co-producer TAILS)
  • Giveaways, and more.

New this year: a Frisbee catching and agility show, with tips on how to train your dog to do those tricks too.

This guy loved last year’s Dog Festival. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Also new this year: no parking at the Westport Country Playhouse. The lot is reserved for the “In the Heights” audience.

Instead, there’s easy access via the Saugatuck Congregational Church back parking lot (after 10:30 a.m.), private lots across the Post Road (with traffic agents helping to cross), and the Senior Center’s new gravel path to the Post Road (much closer than you think).

Every day — rain or shine — Winslow Park is filled with dogs. Here’s hoping that  on Sunday — their special day — the only thing wet will be their noses.

(For more information, including how to sign up for competitions, click here.)

Feral Cats Return To Compo

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.

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.