When the Connecticut Humane Society (CHS) was first founded in 1881 by Hartford High School student Gertrude O. Lewis more than 140 years ago, her mission was to give a voice to the voiceless including children, women, horses, dogs and cats. But with the development of state agencies who began looking out for children and seniors, CHS has narrowed its focus to serve only companion animals such as dogs, cats and small pets. Today, the organization is not only an animal shelter but also a vital resource for providing Connecticut’s animals with comprehensive care.
“CHS is still giving a voice to the voiceless,” says Kathryn Schubert, marketing and communications manager at the Connecticut Humane Society. “Just like its mission has evolved, so has the approach in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to animal welfare.”
How They Help
The organization has three locations in Newington, Waterford and Westport and will be opening a new Animal Resource Center in Wilton in the fall of 2024. Existing locations serve as adoption centers, pet food pantries and the Fox Memorial Clinic, in Newington, is a low-cost public veterinary clinic. “Behind the scenes of the adoption centers, all three locations offer medical care, behavioral support, and lots of TLC for pets that come to CHS so that every pet will be a safe and healthy companion animal when adopted,” says Schubert.
In addition to the standing locations, CHS has a traveling pet food pantry, traveling wellness and vaccine clinics, and community outreach and education programs that travel throughout the state.
“More than just a shelter, all the Connecticut Humane Society’s locations offer pets a fresh start and supports each adoption with the tools to keep pets in homes,” adds Schubert.
How to Make a Difference
With so many programs, clinics and services, CHS needs lots of help to keep the gears running and there are many ways to give back. They always welcome monetary donations, which support the many programs and services they offer. “Thanks only to the generosity of donors, CHS is proud to be the oldest and most comprehensive animal welfare organization in the state,” says Schubert.
However, families willing to adopt are vital as well. “Adoption is a wonderful way to bring a new family member into your life,” says Schubert. She advises those considering adoption to speak to someone at CHS, so they are prepared to welcome a pet into their home. “It’s a lifestyle change that is important to be prepared for,” she adds. But CHS is there to support families who want to do so, including counselors who will work with families through the adoption process, behavioral support for new pets and needed information and vet services for those caring for a pet.
For those who want to help but can’t adopt, volunteers are needed to help support pets in the organization’s shelters by keeping facilities sanitary, walking dogs, doing pet laundry, caring for the grounds of each shelter, working the front desk and giving pets needed play time and stimulation. Volunteers are also needed to foster pets waiting to be adopted.
Making Every Gift Count
The goals of Lewis, CHS’s founder, are alive today in every aspect of the organization’s programs, which continue to expand. “Everything—from the design of the new Animal Resource Center to the programs that will be offered there—showcases the evolution and growth that this organization has strived for through the years,” says Schubert. With each advancement, CHS continues to modernize its facilities and programs, making efficient and effective centers and programs to transform the lives of pets and support the families who love them.
Says Schubert: “All of our programs work towards enriching the special bond between people and animals here in Connecticut.”
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