Where to Look When Searching for a New Pet

There are several animal shelters you can look into when searching for a new four-legged friend.

Punxsutawney Phil has said spring is only weeks away. We even had a little taste of it a few days ago.

Now imagine this: gardens, freshly-mowed grass, the first crocus, star magnolias, and a new dog romping in the back yard – that's the perfect picture of early spring.

Achieving the first few items takes some skill or perhaps the number to a good landscaper, but where do you start when searching for the perfect pet?  

Rescuing a dog from a local shelter should be your first stop.

You can make the short trip over to the Oxford animal shelter behind the Oxford Fire Department on Route 67 to check out the great dogs waiting for their forever homes or you can call the shelter at 203.881.3653 to ask about possible pets available for adoption. 

You can even go online and check out the photos and stories of available pets at the Oxford Shelter on Petfinder.org. (Click here for that link.)

Need to continue your quest for the perfect pet?

Just 20 minutes away and tucked behind Maggie McFly’s at Exit 17 of Route 84, is a private, no-kill animal rescue organization sharing space with Middlebury’s Municipal Animal Shelter.

Animals for Life, a non-profit organization, was started by a small group of local individuals in 1998.  By the end of that year, they had outgrown their network of foster homes able to accommodate the growing number of rescued animals.

Servicing the surrounding area including Newtown, Southbury, Middlebury and Woodbury, Animals for Life, unlike most Municipal Shelters accepts surrendered animals from local families – a growing need as families find themselves without available funds to feed and care for their pets.    

With no funding to build their own physical plant and with their expanding need for more space, they approached the Middlebury about possibly renting space at the town’s Municipal Shelter. 

An agreement was reached and later that year, Animals for Life moved its rescued animals into the 10 runs the group leased from the town. 

Sharing the already cramped quarters can sometimes be trying, but the staff at Middlebury Animal Control and Animals for Life are very compatible because both have one goal in mind – giving the animals the best possible care. 

All the pets are seen by a veterinarian, spayed and neutered and given training and socialization when necessary, with the ultimate goal of finding forever homes for all of them.

In fact, as a no-kill shelter, Animals for Life, in addition to its other sources, immediately adopts any dog or cat under the auspices of the Middlebury Municipal Shelter when the town can no longer keep them – a win-win situation for all.

In addition, Animals for Life is just that. Once you adopt an animal from this group, the group will be your partner throughout your pet’s life with any kind of support required. 

Another unusual feature of the organization is their Regional Hotline at 203-267-6777If you have a question about a pet, are thinking of placing your dog or cat in a new home or just need someone to talk to about a pet or wildlife-related issues, there’s a qualified staff member who will gladly talk try to help. 

Of course, there are lots of success stories at the shelter, but there’s also a constant flow of wonderful animals waiting for their forever homes. 

Chaz is a Lab mix that spent the two years before he arrived at the shelter living outside.  As a result, he’s quite timid around strangers.  A beautiful, sweet, black medium- sized dog, he would make the perfect pet for someone with the time and patience to help him recover the great doggie-behaviors that are buried inside him.

Unfortunately, the pit bulls that make the shelter their temporary stop-over tend to stay longer than the other dogs.  Dozer, a beautiful pit with winning, comical and playful personality is a perfect example of a pit bull that would make a great pet.  He’s fine with other dogs, loves people and is mainly interested in finding a toy that squeaks and happily running around with it!

There are also cats available at the shelter.  Clyde, a gorgeous, orange and white, Maine Coon-type boy is an absolute love.  He’s a big boy, about 4-years-old and is looking for a family that can return the affection he readily gives to anyone stopping by his cage.

All supplies, food, vet care, etc. for these animals are provided through private donations. If you would like to make a monetary donation or donate your time at the shelter, contact the group at 203.267.6777.

To see the rest of the animals available for adoption and read about the wonderful work of this organization, visit them on the web at www.animalsforlifect.org. Available animals can also be found on Petfinder at www.petfinder.com.

Save the date:  April 30th, Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury. Animals for Life’s Annual Run for Rescue 5k road race and two mile walk with your dog.

Craig Zac February 22, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Very good article with tons of great info. I had recently moved to Oxford (last spring) and before that I was in Wallingford where my wife and I were both Board Members of "The Animal Haven" in north Haven. Now my wife is a member of "Help Willys Friends" a non profit org. whos only goal is to help out animal rescues and shelter (including municiple) who are inneed of food, bedding, toys and the like for thier "occupants" all items are collected from various fund raising events, donated by local business and collected in drives and in bins lacated in stores around the area (mostly around the hamden, north haven wallingford areas and out that way) They try to accomodate anyone who asks for help. Recently, some of the Valley area shelters who have taken advantage of the service (whic is free, all you need to do is ask!) include Oxford, Naugatuck and, Waterbury. So If your shelter could use a hand, write to: willy@helpwillysfriends.com


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