Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A big day at Little Shelter

Lori Rowe, left, donates "Home," to Jodi Record, on-site manager of Little Shelter. The shelter plans to auction the painting.

Lori Rowe, a wonderful artist who lives on Long Island, wrote the following piece about her experience donating "Home" to the Little Shelter.

The "Little Shelter" out here on Long Island, is open seven days a week, to make it accessible to all. I arrived on Sunday, the 29th of March, around 1 p.m., and was surprised to see the place so busy that there were no parking places - even though there's a generous amount of parking.

The Girl Scouts were there doing field work, and the other people had come to see the animals, and adopt some of them. My husband and I found a safe place to park, and locked our own dogs in the car. We were greeted by friendly staffers as soon as we walked in, and when I introduced myself, the shelter staff seemed genuinely excited. I was the artist who was donating my painting.

Jodi Record, the on-site manager, came out to greet us. She took us on a tour of the facility and answered all my questions. She spent an hour and a half showing us around, but I never felt her grow impatient.

The Little Shelter can house as many as 65 dogs. When we visited, 40 dogs were living there. As soon as one is adopted, the shelter workers go to the pound and bring in another new resident. Little Shelter takes great care to keep everyone safe. It is not equipped to house or adopt troubled dogs, but still, every dog needs an adjustment time. New dogs live in a separate area until they're used to the place. Dots on the dogs' cages let visitors know whether it's safe to pet the dogs.

I've worked for veterinarians, and been to many shelters. I've made surprise visits to gauge kennels for my own dogs. Little Shelter might be the cleanest kennel I've ever seen. There was almost no smell, even though there were 40 dogs - and 400 cats!

Jodi knew the story of each and every dog and kitty we visited. They all live in an open area of joined rooms with too many litter boxes to remember. The cats have the freedom to go out on a large outdoor porch that was built by a generous donor.

There were many kitty climbers and even part of a tree, 5 feet high, that the room was built around. A line of kitties waited for their turn to lie up there. My husband, who is not generally fond of kitties, spent so much time playing with said kitties, I almost thought he was going to take one home. All those cats and not a fight or grumble did I hear. My cat could learn a few things there.

Little Shelter employs 43 staffers and has too many volunteers to count. A good portion of them were there Sunday, walking, feeding and generally taking care of the group. The shelter has a yearly budget of $2 million, and depends on donations. The donations are up a little now but are still 50 percent lower than a year ago.

If you are interested in adoption, you fill out an application form, and give the shelter some money. Cats are $100, dogs older than a year are $110, puppies are $160.

All the pets have been examined, spayed or neutered and all have been microchipped. It's a great deal for a lifelong friend.

Little Shelter, which has been a no-kill shelter since 1927, is proud to be the only shelter in the area with a pet food pantry for those in need. You fill out some paperwork, and if you need food for your dog or cat, it's yours. How awesome is that? There will be an article on their food pantry in Newsday next Monday, April 6th.

This was a wonderful experience and the kicker was that they treated us like we were royalty visiting. Everyone seemed to know about me and my gift. What they didn't seem to realize is what a gift they gave me.

For more, check out:

Little Shelter Animal Adoption Center
33 Warner Road, Huntington, NY 11743, 631-368-8770

"Home," acrylic on canvas board, 14x18, by Lori Rowe. Donated to Little Shelter.


  1. That is soooooooooo awesome Lori. I'm so happy your visit and reception was so positive as it should have been. It is wonderful to see the painting in the hands of the person who greatly appreciates the time, effort, materials and creativity in making such a selfless gift. Thank you and BIG HUGS!!!

  2. GREAT story Lori! Little Shelter sounds wonderful.
    Love your painting too! :-D