Tag Archives: Westport Animal Shelter Advocates

Roundup: Bob Le Rose, Barbara Pearson-Rac, Movies …

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In 2012 Bob LeRose — founder of 2 Westport favorites, Bobby Q’s restaurant and the Blues, Views & BBQ Festival — was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue cancer. He was given 2 years to live.

Over the next 10 years Bob endured numerous surgeries and countless treatments. He also opened new restaurants in Norwalk and Greenwich,  continued to produce the Labor Day festival, and helped his wife Kelley raise 2 daughters.

But the disease has persisted. Bob needs physical and occupational therapy nearly every day, to regain his strength so he can get to the hospital for blood transfusions and immunotherapy. He also needs a special bed and wheelchair. Many other expenses are mounting too.

Nearly a decade of medical bills have taken a toll on the self-employed restauranteur. Bob’s many friends — all of whom have been touched by his generosity — are giving back.

A GoFundMe page has already raised over $100,000. Even more will be needed. Click here for more information, and to contribute. (Hat tip: Audrey Rabinowitz)

Bob Le Rose, with his wife Kelley and daughters.

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“06880” paid tribute to Barbara Pearson-Rac yesterday. She died Tuesday, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 75 years old.

Her official obituary notes that the Brooklyn native was inspired to serve her community because of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. She chaired Make a Difference Day for over 25 years, was president of the board of First Night Westport Weston, and vice president of the board of the Breast Cancer Survival Center.

She was also an author, writing a series of mystery novels featuring the character Diana Jeffries.

Barbara is survived by her husband Frank, daughter Sara, son-in-law Steve, grandsons Simon and Gabriel, sister Carol, brother-in-law Steve, nieces Amy and Erica, many cousins, and all the lives she touched through her community outreach and writing.

Her funeral is set for today (Beth Israel Cemetery, Woodbridge, New Jersey, 11 a.m.). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Barbara Pearson-Rac

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The Remarkable Theater calendar continues to be filled with remarkable — or at least, very entertaining — films.

Here’s what’s ahead:

  • Monday, August 9: “Mamma Mia!” (8:30 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, August 11: Scream” (9:15 p.m.)
  • Monday, August 16: “Coco” (7:45 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, August 18; “Get Out” (9:15 p.m.)
  • Monday, August 23: “Stand By Me” (7:45 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

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MoCA’s fall benefit has something for everyone.

“The Art of Jazz” includes live music by Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, a live auction led by TV personality Dave Briggs, a silent auction, and entertainment by DJ Mo.

It’s Saturday, September 18 (7 p.m.) at the museum. For tickets and more information, click here.

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Sunny the Duck is popping up all over town. Yesterday he loomed over the Saugatuck River.

(Photo/Susan Lloyd)

The iconic waterfowl advertises Westport Sunrise Rotary’s annual Great Duck Race (actually, this year a raffle on August 6).

The fundraiser helps support a host of charitable efforts. There are 8 prizes, including a $5,000 Visa gift card. Click here for details and tickets.

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Speaking of animals:

On Tuesday Olaf and Elsa, domestic white rabbits, were abandoned outside Wakeman Farm. A call to Westport Animal Control brought the assistance of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

Always-helpful Schulhof Animal Hospital stepped up to board the pair until an adopter or rabbit rescue organization is found. WASA purchased new rabbit bins for their comfort, and will fund their visit to a “rabbit vet specialist.”

Click here to donate to the cause. Interested adopters should call Westport Animal Control (203-341-5076) or WASA (203-557-0361).

Olaf the rabbit.

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Bob Meadows — director of the Westport Observatory — has just returned from the 85th Convention of Amateur Telescope Makers (“the world’s oldest amateur star party”).

He’ll offer a report on August 17 (8 p.m., Rolnick Observatory, 182 Bayberry Lane). The public is invite. For more information, click here.

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Last week’s torrential rain did not deter crowds at Quidley & Company’s show.

There was art, cuisine (catered by OKO, the restaurant next door at the gallery), and good conversation.

Cynthia Melchiorri created this collage to celebrate the event.

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Speaking of art: Not everyone at Wilton’s Sunrise Assisted Living can get out and enjoy it. So Westporter Jane Hutchison is bringing it to them.

Next Wednesday (August 11, 4 to 6 p.m.), she’s arranged a show. Artists include Westport’s Nina Bentley, Mercedes Arenberg, and various local photographers.

As at any art show, wine will be served.

One of Nina Bentley’s typewriter works.

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Haskins Preserve is Westport’s somewhat-hidden-in-plain-sight gem on Green Acre Lane. You can read about it here — and see Rachel Markus’ great “Westport … Naturally” photo below:

(Photo/Rachel Markus)

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As the setting sun broke through the clouds on Tuesday, after years of 2nd and 3rd place finishes, the Longshore Men’s 60+ tennis team clinched 1st place in their division of the Fairfield County Tennis League with a tense 6-4,4-6, 6-4 win over second place Milbrook. It was the very last match of the season.

(Photo/Matthew Levine)

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And finally … on this date in 1888,  Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back. It is considered the first long distance automobile trip in history.

Blessing Of The Animals This Sunday At Saugatuck Church

Everyone is welcome inside Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Pets and other animals — not so much.

But this Sunday (April 28, noon to 2 p.m.), every living thing will be welcome at the sweeping front lawn, on the Post Road just a dogleg from Myrtle Avenue.

Westport Animal Shelter Advocates joins the church in co-hosting a Blessing of the Animals.

The Great Lawn of Saugatuck Congregational Church is well suited to a Blessing of the Animals.

All are welcome to bring a pet leashed, or safely contained (recommended for pythons). You can also bring a photo, for an individual prayer of blessing (probably even better for that python).

Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton will lead the service. She’ll include all wildlife in her prayers.

She’ll give special blessing to Westport’s ospreys, for their continued protection and a successful nesting season. A banner will feature photos of the raptors, all originally posted on “06880.”

Representatives from Wildlife in Crisis will be there too. They’ll answer questions about local wildlife, and discuss their rehabilitative and release efforts.

Also on site: Susie Collins of Sitting Pretty Dog Training.

Our pets and wildlife are true blessings.

On Sunday, Rev. Patton is honored to bless them.

(For more information, call 203-557-0361 or email wasa1@optonline.net. The rain date is Sunday, May 5.)

A dog waits to be blessed.

Misty Mae Finds A Home

Last summer, “06880” ran a story on Misty Mae.

The old, blind, long-haired chihuahua was found in a beat-up dog carrier on a Winslow Park bench.

Westport Animal Control, Schulhof Animal Hospital, and Westport Animal Shelter Advocates came to the rescue. They sheltered, treated and loved the abandoned animal.

Kayla Damiano with Misty Mae. She set up a GoFundMe page that raised $1200 for the dog’s eye and dental work.

Then they searched for a loving home.

The other day, WASA president Julie Loparo reported success.

Volunteers drove to Enfield, near the Massachusetts border. They met the couple who will adopt Misty Mae.

They’re skilled and knowledgeable in the care of special needs dogs (they already have 3). Their home is warm and inviting.

Later this month, WASA funds surgery for Misty Mae. After recovering at Schulhof, she heads to her new home.

Julie says: “Unfortunately, Misty Mae was not the first dog abandoned in Westport. She won’t be the last. But we thank Westport for helping us in our efforts to help dogs like her.”

A Dog Named Misty Mae

Julie Loparo — president of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates — loves dogs. 

She loves dog stories too. Here’s one she shares with “06880” readers:

Winslow Park may not be the place where everybody knows your name.

But they do know your dog’s name.

Regulars at the downtown park are quick to share stories about their own dogs, and answer questions about yours.

When a dog gets distracted by a squirrel or another canine buddy, the group watches closely until it’s reunited with its owner.

Just another day at Winslow Park.

Several weeks ago however, the crowd discovered a little one that’s a poster dog for the ever-growing number of abandoned dogs (and cats) in Connecticut.

A senior, blind long-haired chihuahua was found in a beat-up dog carrier on a park bench. How she got there, and how long she’d been there, were mysteries.

But clearly, she’d been left there.

Westport Animal Control quickly responded. She was transported to Schulhof Animal Hospital for evaluation and care.

Once stabilized and treated for a possible flea situation, she was brought back to Animal Control.

It became clear she was not keen on the food being served (though it’s very high quality dog food). A Westport Animal Shelter Advocates volunteer prepared healthy meals of organic meats and vegetables. The little one liked that.

Misty Mae

On Wednesday, WASA officially adopted “Misty Mae” into their foster family.

With the help of Schulhof’s staff, WASA will bring her up-to-date on vet care, with vaccinations, and detailed blood and dental work. They’ll consult with eye specialists, to see if she’s a candidate for cataract surgeries.

They’ll also search for a new, loving home for Misty Mae.

She’s sweet, quiet, and 10 to 12 years old. She has not been reactive to other dogs, though additional testing will be done. She loves to be brushed and cuddled. She’s a lap dog in every sense of the word.

For additional information about Misty Mae, call 203-557-0361, or email wasa1@optonline.net.

To donate for her vet care, click here (and note that you are contributing for Misty Mae).

Winslow Park is definitely the place where everyone knows your dog’s name.

And Westport is where Animal Control, WASA and Schulhof all come together to help a dog named Misty Mae.

Heat Kills!

Last summer, a Ridgefield toddler died when he was left inside a parked car.

Brandon Malin — a Coleytown Middle School 8th grader — thought of that, when he saw “Heat Kills” signs in Fairfield parking lots. He knows that every year, children and pets are left in cars that quickly become sweltering — even on mild days.

But Brandon did more than think.

He acted.

With the support of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, First Selectman Jim Marpe and other town officials, he’s creating signs. They’ll remind drivers not to leave kids — or pets — in closed vehicles, especially in warm weather.

The signs will be installed in town-owned parking lots, where police feel the risk is greatest. Possibilities include Parker Harding, the Baldwin lot, the beaches, Longshore and library.

After the initial rollout, Brandon will contact owners of private parking lots too.

Right now he’s working with the Staples High School art department on the design.

He’s also trying to raise the $2,500 needed to produce the signs. All donations are tax deductible, and the target deadline is April 8. Click here to help!

But whether you donate or not, remember one thing: Heat Kills!

Brandon Malin and his dog Cali.

 

Tina’s Cat: The Sequel

In the aftermath of the death of Tina Wessel — the homeless woman known to many Westporters, who died last month — “06880” readers have wondered about the fate of her beloved cat.

Julie Loparo — president of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates — reports:

Tina’s cat — now named Elsie — is a delight. She is approximately 4 years old, healthy…just wonderful.

Elsie

Elsie

She is temporarily being boarded at Schulhof Animal Hospital, receiving excellent care and attention from staff and WASA volunteers. Now, WASA is searching for a local forever home for Elsie. She will need to be kept indoors for her safety.

Potential adopters should email wasa1@optonline.net, or call 203-557-0361.

Tina’s funeral will be held today (2 p.m., Friday, December 9), at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Westport.

Tina’s Cat

Following the sad death of Tina Wessel — the homeless woman well known by nearly every Westporter — many “06880” commenters expressed concern for her beloved cat.

Third selectman Helen Garten reports that — thanks to great work by the Westport Police Department and Animal Control — the cat was found, and is safe.

Schulhof Animal Hospital is temporarily boarding Tina’s pet.

Westport Animal Shelter Advocates is soliciting donations for the cat’s medical examination and care. President Julie Loparo writes:

WASA thanks the Westport Police Department, particularly Chief Foti Koskinas; Animal Control officer Gina Gambino; Dorrie Harris, co-founder of TAILS; the staff of the Senior Center, particularly Tom Saviano, and the staff of Schulhof Animal Hospital for working together to humanely “trap” and provide care for Tina Wessel’s cat.

Westport Animal Shelter Advocates

The cat is calmly waiting in his/her crate for an exam. It is wonderful to live in a town with the compassion to want to do right by one of its long-term residents. This joint effort ensures that Ms. Wessel’s cat won’t be left to fend for itself.

WASA, with the kind assistance of the Schulhof staff, will oversee the cat’s care. When the time comes, it will secure a home for Ms. Wessel’s friend and furry family member.

If you would like to assist WASA with this effort, please visit www.westportwasa.org and click “Donate.” Please note on the form that you are donating in memory of “Tina’s cat.”  WASA is a 501c3 organization.

Many Westporters want to do something to honor Tina’s memory. This is one way to help.

tina-wessen-cat

Tina’s cat. (Photo courtesy of Westport Police Department)

“We Love Our Dogs In Westport”

Westport Animal Shelter Advocates posted this on Facebook:

Last week at about 6:15 p.m., when the air was still very muggy with the temperature in the high 80’s, a group of diners (and Westport residents)  at Sherwood Diner became aware of a large SUV in the parking lot with a small dog inside — and New York plates. The windows were completely shut.

It was determined that the car had been there at least 45 minutes. A call was made to Westport Police, as Westport’s animal control officer was off duty.

Officer Wong Won and another officer (whose name we don’t know) responded quickly. The owner of the car was identified (mid-meal). She became belligerent and defensive, and stated, “this wouldn’t be an issue in Westchester.”

Officer Won responded, “Ma’am, this is Westport. We love our dogs in Westport.”

The dog owner was ticketed, and warned about leaving her dog in a hot car.

Westport Animal Shelter AdvocatesWASA would like to thank Officer Won and his fellow Westport officer for coming to this dog’s rescue, and handling the situation so beautifully. Tails are wagging all over Westport in appreciation.

Our thanks too to the Westport residents who were advocates for the little dog.

Yes, Officer Won, this is Westport. And we do love our dogs!

(Hat tip: Kendall Gardiner)

Rescue Dogs And Cheetahs, Rescue You And Me

Two years ago, “06880” featured Junior, the Wonder Dog.

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.

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.

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.

All of the proceeds benefit 3 groups. Two are local: PAWS and Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

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.

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: Front row (from left): Julie Loparo, Sara Burke, Laura Curley Pendergast, Sue Smith. Rear: Marita Driscoll. Dogs: Violet and Rico.

Planning the event (from left): Julie Loparo, Sara Burke, Marita Driscoll, Laura Curley Pendergast, Sue Smith. Dogs: Violet and Rico.

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?

Wrong.

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.)