Rescues and Retirees: ‘Where The Love Is' Animal Rescue Pairs Up Pets and Parents

The shelter in Hamden started a program this summer that connects rescue dogs to people who are retired.

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Heading out for a car ride is the first step towards a forever home for pups at Where The Love Is Animal Rescue in Hamden.

“I just, I love her!” Lisa Palmucci said about her adopted two-year-old dog Ruby.

Even if that hop to the car is on three legs! Ruby is one rescue from the shelter recently adopted after undergoing surgery.

“It's been a total transformation,” Palmucci said. “When we got her, she was all scraggly and dirty and frightened, and she's a totally different animal now.”

Now, the dog mom is looking forward to spending a lot of time with her fur baby in retirement.

“I'm home every day, and I really, really enjoy spending time with all my pets,” Palmucci said.

That mutually beneficial relationship is why Where The Love Is Animal Rescue is now reaching out to people who are retired to see if they would like to take home a rescue. They say it's changing lives for pups and owners alike.

“We know the many benefits of it,” Lisa Maloney, volunteer and director of marketing and communications for the animal rescue, said. “People who maybe live alone or live an isolated life, it provides them with a little more comfort. Companion animals reduce depression and loneliness. Also it lowers the risk of heart disease, because of unconditional love, and the exercise that they provide.”

Since the program started this summer, three pups have been paired with parents. One of those is eight-month-old Milo.

“I looked at him, said, ‘I have to have him,’” Tony Simone, of Hamden, said.

The puppy is keeping his dog dad’s days lively.

“We have a little dog pool in the backyard. He loved that. He's in there all the time,” Simone said. “But their favorite thing is go for rides. We put them in my car, we take a ride.”

Then there is Mabel.

“She starts barking at me to play with her,” Diane, of East Haven, said.

The mom to the German Shepherd mix is looking forward to companionship as she prepares to retire in a couple years.

“She's good company. She really is,” Diane said. “I talk to her like she's a person.”

Maloney said volunteers at Where The Love Is hope to expand the program.

“It gives you a purpose, you know, gives you somebody to take care of,” Diane said.

It’s turning lives around, and leading to smiles, and of course, plenty of wagging tails.

“It's just great program,” Simone said. “I wish more would retirees who have kind of a boring life, please do so. Because they'll give you full-time companionship.”

NBC and Telemundo Connecticut continue to help Clear the Shelters all year long. Visit the Clear the Shelters section of our website to learn more about how you can support our local shelters.

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