Tag Archives: Westport Animal Shelter Advocates

Roundup: StoryFest, Train Station, Puppies …

It’s almost here: StoryFest, the Westport Library’s genre-spanning literary festival (and the largest one in the state). Plus: It’s free!

StoryFest celebrates all forms of stories, and storytellers from across all media.

Among the highlights:

  • StoryFest Kick-Off: Isaac Fitzgerald in Conversation with Saeed Jones (Friday, September 9, 6 p.m. — click here to register)
  • Tessa Smith McGovern and Patricia Dunn launch their new podcast, “Go Ahead, Write Something” with bestselling author Naomi Novik  (Saturday, September 10, 4:30 p.m. — click here to register)
  • Raise a glass to StoryFest weekend with specialty cocktails. Mallory O’Meara (James Beard Book Award-winning author) and Brea Grant (filmmaker/actress) bring their podcast “Reading Glasses” to the Library stage, with guest stars: Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones, Alexis Henderson and Clay McLeod Chapman (Saturday, September 10, 6 p.m. — click here to register).

Several authors authors are releasing new books early, for StoryFest. They include:

For the full StoryFest schedule, and more details, click here.

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It’s been nearly 30 months since the pandemic struck.

Westport — a town of commuters — changed immediately. Anyone who could work from home, did.

Metro-North slashed service. The railroad parking lots stayed empty. People who had waited for years for parking permits suddenly had them.

Offices re-opened slowly, often only 2 or 3 days a week. But many men and women — unwilling to sit next to others on trains where conductors did not enforce mask mandates — traded trains for cars.

Yesterday though, “06880” reader Ellen Bowen noticed something: The Westport train station’s eastbound lot was once again full. From Donut Crazy to the lower spots by Saugatuck Avenue, every spot was taken.

A sign that things are pretty much back to normal? A cause for celebration? Concern that the great experiment in working from home is ending?

Click “Comments,” to offer your take.

No spots — not even by Saugatuck Avenue. (Photo/Ellen Bowen)

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Aquarion has requested a revenue increase of $49.9 million — a 25% increase. If approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, it would add about $4.25 per month to the bill of a typical residential water customer using 72,000 gallons of water annually.

Public hearings will be held today (Thursday, September 8, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall), and Thursday, October 6  (via Zoom; click here) and Tuesday, October 25 (via Zoom; click here).

For more information, click here(Hat tip: Mark Lemcke)

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The Porch @ Christie’s is going to the dogs.

This Sunday (September 11, 10 a.m. to noon), the popular Cross Highway spot will be overrun by puppies.

Westport animal Shelter Advocates will bring a litter of 11, and other furry friends, including older dogs — all available for adoption.

There is no on-site adoption. But for those who follow up through WASA, Earth Animal is donating pup packs. (They’ve already provided nutritious puppy food.)

WASA will also hold a silent auction at the Porch, to raise funds to assist and advocate for neglected and homeless dogs. Featured items include a certified signed Aaron Judge baseball, and four VIP Yankee Stadium Legends seats for the September 24 Yankees-Red Sox game.

For more information, call 203-557-0361. or email wasa1@optonline.net.

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It’s a paradox: There are so many utility wires, we often don’t really notice them.

But Michael Brennecke does.

The native Westporter thinks there are too many. He cites this “particularly egregious example of wire pollution,” where Hillspoint Road and Prospect Road meet:

(Photo/Michael Brennecke)

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As the weather cools, the Joggers Club heats up.

The all-runners-welcome group once again sponsors Saturday morning events, starting at the Greens Farms train station at 8 a.m. The $50 yearly fee includes all paces, 2 new routes each week, free Brooks Endurance running shirts for all new members, unlimited post-run coffee, along with track nights and the Joggers Club Jr., for youngsters in grades kindergarten through 8th.

For more information, click here, or go to Instagram (@TheJoggersClub.CT),
Facebook or Strava for weekly courses and local running chatter.

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Speaking of sports:

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker honored Westport’s 11U Little League district all-star state champion team yesterday. Each player received a commendation for their “hard work and perseverance.”

Rear (from left):1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Nolan Walters, Wyatt Johnson, Justin Goldshore, Henry Ellis, Toby Slavin Jack McGrath, coach Jon Ellis, Dylan Burdeshaw, coach Marc Theisinger, manager Justin Walters Front: Torrey Rossetter, Chase Landgraf, Luke Moneyhon, Grant Theisinger, Miles Delorier, Christopher Lambert.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is a bit different than most.

Maggie Boroujerdi writes: “Tuesday’s much-needed rain revived our dry stream along Morningside Drive North and Keenes Road.

“We’re relatively new to the neighborhood. At the bus stop the other morning, neighbors said this is the first year they’ve seen the little stream dry up completely, for weeks. I took this photo:

(Photo/Maggie Boroujerdi)

“I’m grateful to have the water running again.”

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And finally … in honor of Sunday’s dog adoption event at The Porch @ Christie’s:

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(How much is that doggie in the window? No clue. But you can click here to support “06880.” Any amount is appreciated!)

Unsung Heroes #230

Vivian Podolec is a 7-year-old 2nd grader at Coleytown Elementary School. She has always loved dogs, and has a special spot in her heart for rescue animals.

Not long ago, she asked her parents how she could start her own business and help dogs. They suggested volunteering, and donating money to organizations that do good things.

Vivian decided to have an art show, and donate all proceeds to Westport Animal Shelter Advocates. Her mom Julie was proud, but wondered if she would actually follow through.

Vivian did. She made some drawings, and a flyer inviting neighbors to stop by. (She offered free donuts with a purchase.)

On a cold day, she set up outdoors. She sold every piece — and got orders for more.

Toby — a Shiba Inu abandoned at a groomer’s in Bridgeport — enjoys reading Vivian Podolec’s art show sign. WASA president Julia Loparo is at left.

“So many children have been so wonderful in this town,” says another Julie — Loparo, president of WASA, the all-volunteer organization that helps with vet care and re-homing for rescue and owner-surrender dogs.

Julie nominates Vivian — who WASA hopes can do a commissioned piece, to hang in Westport Animal Control — and other Westport youth as “Unsung Heroes,” for their work with WASA.

She says, “We are so grateful for the support we have received from both individual and groups like SLOBS (Staples Service League of Boys), Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts and more.

“From proceeds of a lemonade stand or bake sale, to assistance producing adoptable dog videos, to construction of a play area adjacent to Westport Animal Control that allows impounded dogs to kick up their heels, all of these efforts and so many more come from the generosity and kind hearts of Westport children and teens. They have benefited so many dogs in need of second chances.”

Thank you, Vivian and everyone else who helps WASA. You deserve much more than a grateful pat on the head!

Vivian Podolec with Kerri. The dachshund arrived at Westport Animal Shelter Advocates  after the death of her owner.

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)