Location: Ridgefield, CT
Job: Real Estate Salesperson
Fondest memory: Last trip to Disney World with all my children.
Proudest moment: Watching my girls graduate high school/college.
Biggest Challenge: I am just not technologically savvy. I love talking to people “in person.”
Why Looking Glass Animal Rescue: I’ve always been a dog person but rescue began for me when Ridgefield, CT built an animal shelter in 2005. As one of the earliest volunteers, I spent several years working at that local no kill shelter. It is where I found my passion and purpose. Unfortunately, I had to go back to work to help to pay for the impending college tuitions and my passion and dreams were put on hold. Advocating for animals, especially those in the NYC, is where I found myself everyday on the computer for the past couple of years. Tremendous feelings of loss, along with tears of sadness, were shed daily as the lists of the “Gone” grew larger. They were the innocent and voiceless who’s only crime was that they were homeless. Amidst the frustration born from sadness, I felt like I needed more, I could do more or that I HAD to do more. Jody and I were brought together when my advocating turned into a tribute to the death of a beautiful shelter dog named Hayes, whose life was cut short and he succumbed tragically to pneumonia. Fate intervened when the vast outreach of the internet travels only 1 mile down the road to bring advocate and rescuer together to implement change. The idea of a local, foster based rescue was conceived in a quick meeting that was only to be an hour. By the end of the 4th hour, we had a plan that would help our local Animal Control, who had limited exposure and resources. From there it grew to saving dogs languishing in smaller shelters across CT and the tri-state area. Destiny (along with my beautiful NYCACC death row survivor Kyra) brought us together to save lives. Saving lives is what we are going to do–4 paws at a time!
While almost any shelter dog can make a wonderful, lifelong companion for you and your family, some dogs will need more training, some will need more exercise and some will be happy to just sit on your lap staring into your eyes, trying to hypnotize you into providing more kibble.
Which kind of dog are you looking for? You may have an image of your perfect dog in mind, but often time your new canine best friend is the one you weren’t quite expecting. So keep an open mind as you browse our adoptable dogs, and consider the following questions:
1. ARE YOU CAPABLE OF CARING FOR A NEW DOG FINANCIALLY?
Licensing fees, food, heartworm prevention medicine, vaccinations, leashes, and regular veterinary care are just a few of the costs associated with having a dog. Among other unexpected occurrences, dogs may get injured or otherwise require extraordinary veterinary care, and they can also cause damage to clothing and property.
2. IS YOUR HOUSEHOLD SEDENTARY, ACTIVE, OR SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN?
Do you want to settle down on the couch at the end of the day with a dog in your lap, or do you go on runs, hikes, and camping trips regularly? If you like the idea of a dog in your lap, consider adopting a senior dog. Many senior dogs are already well trained and they generally require less exercise than their younger counterparts. Even if you are active, ask yourself if your activities are dog-friendly (e.g., hiking, running) or not (e.g., rock climbing). If your dog can’t join in your activities, you may wind up spending less time with your dog than a more sedentary person would.
3. HOW MUCH TIME WILL YOU HAVE FOR YOUR NEW DOG?
Do you have a job that requires you to be out many hours each day? Are you a homemaker with a house full of young children? What are the schedules of the other members of your household?
If everyone in the household is out all day, and no one will exercise or train the dog regularly, select a relatively sedentary dog. Be sure to set up either regular daycare or walks for your dog; otherwise he will lead a rather lonely life. On the other hand, if you or another member of your household works from home and likes to walk outside while taking breaks, an active dog that will enjoy lots of training and walks might be a better choice.
Bear in mind that both puppies and dogs from more “active” breeds tend to require more training and exercise. If you have little free time, consider choosing an adult or senior dog from a relatively calm breed, or a dog that has already learned basic cues and manners.
4. HOW TOLERANT ARE YOU OF SLOBBER AND FUR?
Some dog breeds tend to slobber more than others, while others shed a great deal. If you don’t mind grooming your pet every day, you can reduce the shedding significantly, but grooming time cuts into exercise and training time, so be sure to plan accordingly.
5. ARE THERE OTHER ANIMALS IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD ALREADY? IF SO, ARE THEY LIKELY TO WELCOME A NEW DOG?
Do you have other pets in your household? They may not be particularly thrilled about the addition of a new dog. If any of your pets are likely to be viewed as prey by dogs (birds, rodents, cats), make sure the dog you choose can understand that these pets are not prey. It’s also critical to set things up so that your other pets are not only physically safe, but also feel safe. A bird in a cage may not be at risk of being eaten by your new dog, but being stalked all day will likely cause the bird stress.
Getting everyone in the household to create and sign a contract outlining responsibilities and expectations can be very helpful.
6. DOES EVERYONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WANT A NEW DOG?
If only one person wants a dog, that person will not only have to do all the work, but will also have to defend the dog if the dog annoys another member of the household. It’s also harder to train a dog when the household isn’t united. Getting everyone in the household to create and sign a contract outlining responsibilities and expectations can be very helpful.
7. IS ANYONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD ALLERGIC TO DOGS?
If anyone in your household is allergic to dogs, getting that person’s permission to have a dog is even more important. That person will be more affected by the presence of the dog than the rest of the family, no matter how well behaved the dog is.
8. ARE YOU ALLOWED TO HAVE A DOG WHERE YOU LIVE?
If your building does not allow pets, or your community sets a limit to how many or what types of pets you can have, getting a new dog could result in a fine, or even an eviction.
9. ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS REASONABLE?
Do you picture nights by the fire with a perfectly behaved dog at your feet? A dog that stays in the yard for 12 hours a day unattended, without barking or bothering the neighbors? A dog that trots at your side as you run along the beach?
Life is not like a big-budget motion picture. Dogs require time and attention, and no matter how much training you do with your new dog, there will be occasions when your dog does something wrong. Dogs left alone in the yard tend to bark and dig up flowerbeds. Dogs chased by unattended toddlers may growl or snap. Dogs eat things left on the floor, and may stop to sniff just when you are hitting your stride on a run. Set reasonable expectations for your new dog.
10. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR A WORST-CASE SCENARIO?
What will you do if the dog you adopt turns out to have a terrible habit or two? What if he or she gets very ill? Many dogs wind up in shelters because someone wasn’t prepared to stick by them when the going got tough. Dogs are living beings, and bringing one into your home is not a decision to be made lightly.
No matter where you get your dog, or how many pets you already have, treat your new dog like a young puppy at first. Limit unsupervised access to the house, keep valuable items out of reach, and take the dog out for lots of potty breaks. He or she may turn out to be perfectly housetrained and well-behaved, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If you take the time to prepare, you have much better odds of a successful match. The investment you make in selecting a pet carefully and introducing him or her to your home properly will pay dividends for years to come.
Excerpted from Irith Bloom, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA), Certified Training Partner
I wanted to share the answer to a question that I often get from those who peek into the world of rescue and wonder “why do you do it?” I often struggled to find the words to answer that very legitimate question and I was fortunate enough to come across an “answer” that someone had already penned. As I read it I said (to myself), “wow, it is as if she wrote that for me.” And so now, I share it with you in hopes that you too understand “why I do it”. And for those of you who struggle to articulate that which you know to be true in your heart, it is my hope that you too can share this “answer”, or a variation of it, with those who ask a similar question of you. And maybe, just maybe, our passion will ignite a fire in another who can help us in our quest to “save them ALL.”
Someone asked me recently, why do I do it? Why do I put myself through the stress, the heartache of rescuing dogs when so many die anyway? Some people even have gone as far as to say rescuers just concentrate on death. They ask “why don’t you just focus on the nicer subjects of dogs – doggie fashion shows… adopt-a-thons… competing in obedience, things like that?” I thought about it for a while, and this is what came to me.
I would love nothing more than to promote the fun things with dogs. Believe me, I would REALLY, REALLY LOVE to do that. And there was a time when I did. Hell, there was a time I wanted to start my own show kennel. (UGH!) But that time coincides with the time when I thought that WAS all there was to dogs. I was ignorant.
I rescue. I spend all my money, my valuable time with my own dogs, everything on rescue. Rescue is hard. Rescue is sad more times than happy. Rescue is tiring. Rescue is not pretty. Rescue is expensive. Rescue is physically, mentally, emotionally, financially draining. Rescue will shorten my life. But sometimes, it’s not how long you live, but what you do with the time you have that matters.
On rescuer’s worst day, it is STILL better than it is for them. Imagine what it’s like to be them. Imagine, REALLY imagine what it’s like. To be at the whim of whoever claims you as their own.To have to accept when they do not feed you. To accept that you did something wrong when they beat you, even when you have no idea what it was you did. To accept the neglect, and still greet them when they are near. To accept being put in a concrete cell with other dogs like you, screaming to be out. To not know where you were going when someone came and took you out of that cell — will it be the yard outside in the sunshine? or will it be the small room in the back that no dog returns from? Imagine kissing the hand of a stranger, in hopes that they will take you away from all this… imagine that….. REALLY imagine that.
So why do I cry over and over and yet still come back…” when the last hundred dogs I posted, shared, transported, donated to were still put to sleep? Because of the one dog that WILL make it out. That WILL get a new start. That WILL be brought “back to life”. That will know again, or perhaps for the first time, sweet love. There is no more comforting feeling in the world than to see a dog FINALLY safe.
So I say to you, I do not “focus” on death, my friend. I focus on LIFE! The life of that one in a hundred dogs that, if I didn’t do what I do, would be dead. I will worry about my health, my financial future later. Right now, it is about them. And my only regret for being in rescue is that I did not act on the NEED earlier in my life. And my only hope is when I am gone, there will be someone to take my place. My promise to that person is this – I will be with you in spirit from wherever one goes when the breath leaves the body. Because I will ALWAYS be a rescuer, even when I am just a memory. – Excerpted by Ellen McNeely-Paquin • 19 April, 2011
Thank you for your unwavering commitment and dedication.
Our new website is finally up. We’ve worked hard to get a beautiful new site ready and we’re proud to show it off. Thanks for reading our blog. We have lots of great blog posts in the works. Please check back or contact us now to find out how we can help you.