The Little Guild kept tails wagging
Staff at The Little Guild in West Cornwall practiced social distancing as they continued to care for (and find homes for) dogs and cats in 2020. Photo courtesy of The Little Guild

The Little Guild kept tails wagging

CORNWALL — Little Guild Executive Director Jenny Langendoerfer reported that the numbers of adoptions held steady compared with the previous successful year. In fact, she said it was a good year for pet adoptions nationwide.

The nonprofit shelter found new homes for very nearly 200 dogs and cats.

COVID-19 brought adjustments to procedures, according to Langendoerfer, who said that adoptions were by appointment only; and that volunteer support, essential to the organization, was limited by public health guidelines.

“It’s remarkable how we’ve managed to thrive in spite of it all,” Langendoerfer said.

A cat success story is that of Eclipse, who arrived at The Little Guild with a full complement of her kittens all jammed together in a small carrying case — all of them understandably terrified. 

Having been homeless for 18 months before her arrival in Cornwall, for an additional 466 days she resided under the care of The Little Guild and in that time developed a firm friendship with a fellow feline, Princess. It was that bond that restored her good nature and ability to trust again. Both cats were adopted together by a local family and are equally loved in their new home.

Anticipating that 2021 will bring reinvigorated programs and community outreach, Langendoerfer said that the new year has brought a new president for the organization.  Karen Doeblin was elected in late 2020 to serve as president of the Board of Directors. Doeblin is succeeding John Guenther, following his six-year tenure.

Langendoerfer praised Doeblin as “a positive force” possessing a gift for strategic thinking, and above all demonstrating an abiding love for animals.

Returning to the organization as an officer will be Justin Vagliano, whose past service included the executive director’s position.  Four new board members were elected: Katherine O’Brien, Joan Osofsky, David Ott and Betsy Vorce.

It was the traditional Great Country Mutt Show in 2019 that attracted Doeblin to The Little Guild and its programs, although she and her family had adopted pets from the organization in years past. She said that she anticipates that “fabulous events” will be scheduled as soon as possible in the post-pandemic future.

Having spent 20 years weekending in Litchfield County, Doeblin is now settled as a permanent resident of Cornwall. Her love of animals has spanned her lifetime and her adopted pets have been readily included as family members. 

Managing to look ahead beyond the time of COVID-19, Langendoerfer is confident that The Little Guild will continue to thrive, thanks in large part to the many area residents who care about and support the organization.

In particular, the volunteer dog-walkers have been able to continue their program, as their activities can occur outdoors. She said that the organization is “amazingly fortunate” to benefit from the dedication of its volunteers.

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