Photographer to the shelter pets

Note: A version of the story originally appeared in the Branford Eagle (


Sally Anderson Bruce (Photo by Mary Johnson)

What do CEOs and shelter pets have in common?

Sally Andersen-Bruce knows the answer because she’s worked with both. Bruce is the shelter pet and stamp photographer whose portraits of aforementioned shelter pets have graced the US mail since 2002.

Andersen-Bruce discussed her experiences at an event sponsored by the Branford (Conn.) Compassion Club and the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter. Attendees talked about their pets while sipping wine and dining on hors d’oeurvres to the piano jazz of Lori Fogler-Nicholson, and viewing the animal portraits in the rotunda. Read more of this post


The comfort of animals

We come home from work after a tough day and take great comfort in the soft fur, purrs, and kisses of our pets. They seek us out at night and we willingly flip back the covers to accommodate them or scoot over a few inches on the bed.

Our pets are an integral part of providing comfort in our lives.

For many animals in their roles as service dogs and therapy cats, they go further than everyday comfort. They offer help and guidance with daily tasks, call attention to life-threatening situations, and access deeply hidden emotions.

And, in the past few days, they’ve come from as far as Chicago and as close as Newtown itself to offer comfort to anyone and everyone traumatized by the massacre of 20 children and six teachers on Friday. Read more of this post

Pet Food Recall Redux

Multiple brands of kibble made by Diamond are being recalled due to salmonella.

So you think all the hand wringing about salmonella has to do with raw pet food?


A massive – and growing – recall is under way by Diamond Pet Foods. It’s not just confined to Diamond but to a whole list of well-known foods under Diamond’s umbrella that are probably in the cupboards of many pet parents. The foods were all manufactured in its South Carolina plant.

According to Food Safety News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 14 people in nine states have been diagnosed with Salmonella, likely caused by handling the pet food. It’s not clear whether dogs have become sick from the food. Read more of this post

Enrichment for Animal Behaviorists

IAABC president Marjie Alonso welcomed members and guests.

The 2011 IAABC Conference was amazing. More than 300 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultant members involved in all aspects of animal behavior came together to share their experiences and information and listen to a stellar line-up of experts – the likes of Victoria Stilwell of “It’s Me or the Dog,” Tufts University veterinarian behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Author and Certified Cat Behavior Consultant Pam Johnson Bennett, Dr. Frank McMillan of Best Friends in Utah, Ethologist Myrna Milani, radio show host and animal welfare advocate Steve Dale, and more. They covered such heavy-duty subjects as compulsive behavior, abuse and neglect, equine health,

Dr. Nick Dodman

psychological trauma, animal stress, aggression, and environmental enrichment.

Read more of this post

Miss Mollie settles in

Molly enjoys a prime snoozing spot.

Mollie finally joined us the end of September. It has been practically a seamless transition.

We figured it would be relatively smooth since Dusty, Pulitzer and Tekla were all part of a multi-cat family, and Mollie had exposure to all types of cats at the shelter. Of course there was the initial wary curiosity, but early on she learned to defer to the older guys. Of course there was the exploring and hiding. We kept her in the playroom for a short while, and thereafter the house was hers. Other than a few hisses, the process was incredibly smooth.

Read more of this post

Why it’s important to ‘Adopt-a-Cat’

Don’t let an older cat like Oreo spend his life in a cage.

Look no further than your local shelter to find the love of your life. Most shelters have their adoptable cats listed on, so it’s easy to find that special feline with a few clicks of your mouse.

Along with an increase in cats being relinquished to shelter, animal control officers and rescue workers, such as those from the Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford, Branford Compassion Club, and  Forgotten Felines, are finding many friendly cats with collars, signs that they were simply abandoned when their supposed caregivers moved on.

Read more of this post

When baby makes four … or more

Don’t forget you were Mom first to your four-legged baby

It’s Mother’s Day and if you’re expecting a baby, don’t forget your first baby—your cat or your dog. Too often we hear of the family cat or dog (or both) taking a back seat to the new arrival, or even cast off as being too much work or too curious or displaying unacceptable behavior.

A well-known pediatrician recently suggested that an expectant mother give up her cats, to the chagrin of an army of feline professionals.

Well, how would you react if this squawling, noisy creature with strange smells suddenly entered your safe and secure world?

Read more of this post

Helping pet owners through troubled times

One area’s efforts to keep pets in their homes

As if it isn’t bad enough that people are losing their jobs and homes, Branford (Connecticut)

Branford Animal Shelter Director Laura Burban with Lacey.

Branford Animal Shelter Director Laura Burban with Lacey.

Animal Shelter Director Laura Burban sees a big increase in the number of people who must give up their pets due to the recession. Relinquishments have doubled from last year and she’s determined to help people keep their pets.

A Pet Pantry, which enables residents to pick up food for their pets, is already located at the Volunteer Services Center’s clothing bank on Harrison Avenue, but it’s not an ideal set-up. Burban is on a mission to find a location that’s accessible to residents and provides more storage. She says that approximately 100 people are in need, but more have been turned away.

“It often comes down to feeding the kids or feeding the cat,” she says.

Read more of this post

Do you know your neighbor?

The local cat lady may have a more deep-seated problem than just feeding neighborhood strays.

Incidents involving cats and dogs living in squalid conditions come to public attention all too often these days. And the public response is one of outrage coupled with a sense of helpless in coping with the always-horrific conditions.

A hoarding situation in Branford, Conn.

Within the past year…

  • 30 cats were rescued from a hoarding situation in Branford, Conn.
  • Almost 50 German Shepherds and Labs, adults and puppies, were seized from a so-called breeder in Bethany, Conn.
  • The house of a supposed rescuer in East Hampton, L.I., burned and revealed more than 100 animals of all kinds, many dead as a result of the fire
  • More than 30 pit bulls were rescued from a so-called breeder in East Haven, Conn., where they were living in squalor
  • 94 cats were found in a house in New Haven and less than a week later five dead dogs and six severely neglected dogs were discovered in Hamden
  • More than 100 cats were rescued from a once stately home in Westbrook, Conn. Read more of this post

The Name of the Cat

Cat owners and experts alike agree that cats know their names


Tekla is dozing on top of the computer monitor, one of her favorite places.

“Tekla-la!” I call out.

Her tail twitches and she meows softly.

Nearby, Dusty is snoozing in a bed on the shelf.


He stretches out a long limb and squirms in his bed.

Coco strolls by me in the bedroom.

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: