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The Little Guild of Saint Francis

At some point about 14,000 years ago, dogs and humans struck a bargain. Dogs would work for us in exchange for a place by the fire, some food and a show of affection. Today, crafty creatures that they are, dogs still have a place by the fire, lots of affection, plenty of food—but the humans work to support them.

No one in Northwestern Connecticut works harder for dogs (and cats, who never quite got the knack of working-for-humans) than the Little Guild of St. Francis in West Cornwall CT. Founded in 1960, the Little Guild has striven for more than half a century to place unwanted, strayed and abused animals into permanent, loving homes. Its current 3,000-square-foot, recently renovated, facility accommodates 20 dogs and 40 cats.

In a record year in 2015, the organization adopted out 515 dogs and cats—more than double the previous record—and began 2016 with a bang, settling 70 animals in new homes in January. And 2015’s Pittie Party, an annual event held in Torrington to provide free exams, vaccines and spay/neuter vouchers to Torrington-area dog owners—particularly Pit Bulls—saw more than 194 dogs served.

The group is not resting on its laurels, however. The move to place more animals is getting a boost in March with a special offer: any animal younger than a year will be adopted out for half the normal adoption cost.

And the Guild is launching an ambitious program to raise $10,000 by March 31 to support construction of a feral cat enclosure at The Guild. A feral cat enclosure will allow the Little Guild to safely house feral cats, either temporarily or forever, while serving as an important educational tool for the community to learn more about this wild population.

At the same time, plans are being laid to increase the Guild’s trap-neuter-release program, designed to reduce cat populations. In 2015 the Little Guild provided trap-neuter-release support to dozens of cats in Northwest Connecticut, partnering with two barn owners where it currently manages colonies of homeless cats.

Those wishing to help the Guild meet its goals can donate by clicking this link, the little guild, or can arrange “planned giving” by contacting Director Heather Dineen at 860-672-6346.

The Guild is located at 285 Sharon Goshen Turnpike, West Cornwall.