Nothing beats coming home from work or school after a rough day to the warmth and unconditional love of a pet. Unfortunately, more and more families are having difficulties owning pets, finding it hard to find the money for pet food, veterinary services and additional pet expenses, considering the fluctuation and inconsistencies of the economy.
One year ago, a group of advocates formed Friends of Windsor Animal Care and Control, an organization dedicated to keeping four-legged family members in their homes and out of the pound by providing pet supplies to families that could not afford them. The organization has put forth an effort to provide support for more than 50 families and more than 100 animals in Windsor.
“It’s unfortunate to see families struggling during these times, and the last thing we want to see is pets suffering because of it, which is why we started up,” said Debbie Sansom, founding member of Friends of Windsor Animal Care and Control. “Originally we thought it would be a struggle for people to recognize the need, but it’s amazing how receptive the community has been, and it has helped us flourish.”
The group formed following the effort of Windsor residents to persuade town officials against moving the town’s dog pound to another town and regionalizing the service. After the Town Council agreed to keep the pound in town, the group of volunteers realized that its work was not done, and it was in fact just the first step. Shortly thereafter, the volunteers formed a mobile pet supply pantry, delivering bags of food and litter to doorsteps throughout town. In order to keep up with the large amount of families in need, the group has relied heavily on donations from the public and local businesses.
“It brings tears to your eyes when you see how much the community and local businesses have helped,” Sansom said. “They have helped us take off, their efforts have been incredible and a huge reason for our success.”
Bringing it full circle and commemorating its first anniversary, the group held a celebration as well as a pet food and supply collection on July 28 at Stop Shop. Along with gaining more resources for their pantry shelves, the group wanted to get the word out about their effort and let the community know they are always in need in need of canned dog and cat food, dry cat food, litter and especially volunteers. Revving up the support for their charitable efforts, they offered face painting by organization artist Angela Schweitzer, a barbecue manned by Animal Control Officer Brian Davis and raffles representing a wide variety of local businesses.
At the one-year anniversary celebration, members and businesses from the Windsor community were very generous to the group, donating 310 pounds of cat litter, 242 cans of cat food, 188 pounds of dry dog food, 77 cans of canned dog food and monetary donations, as well as a variety of treats, mix-ins and specialty pet goods.
“It was more than we anticipated and it was a welcome sign,” Davis said. “Everyone poured out and did their best.”
“We could not believe the turnout and generosity,” Samson said. “This community is blessed with great people who are extremely supportive.”
The group will also be collecting for the pantry at its next event, a Rabies Vaccination Clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the Windsor Fire Station located at 340 Bloomfield Ave. For more information about the group or where to drop off and donate goods visit the website www.friendsofwindsoranimal.com. The group can be reached at P.O Box 32 Windsor, CT 06095 or by calling 860-249-9463.