‘It’s a Way That We Can Give Back’: Bankwell Launches ‘Pet Adoption Program’ for March and April

Two of Bankwell’s signature community outreach efforts involve showcasing the works of local artists in the gallery of its Elm Street branch and hosting goods collections for needy organizations in the area, such as Open Door Shelter and Inspirica.

Starting with a reception at 208 Elm St. on Wednesday evening, Bankwell is combining those initiatives to support another good cause: animal rescue.

Pet Pantry co-owners Ari and Adam Jacobson, pet photographer Mike Bagley with Seamus, and Bankwell staff members who started the project: Ann Mitrione, Lucy French and Lynne Gomez. Christopher Kolk photo

For its two-month “Pet Adoption Project,” Bankwell is partnering with area rescue groups to spotlight adoptable dogs and cats—see this page on its website—as well as offering incentives for prospective new owners, raising money for animal welfare organizations and featuring the work of a dog- and cat-loving photographer.

“If we get one dog a ‘forever’ home, I think that we have succeeded,” said Bankwell Marketing Assistant Lucy French, who helped develop the idea for the project with colleagues Ann Mitrione and Lynne Gomez.

“Obviously, the goal is to get all of them [a home], but if we can create the awareness and find one dog a forever home that is loved unconditionally and it’s a mutual relationship and creates all these memories, then I really think we’ve succeeded.”

Mike Bagley with Bankwell Marketing Assistant Lucy French (left) and Bankwell in Wilton Branch Manager Ann Mitrione

Local photographer Michael Bagley’s portraits of adoptable dogs and cats will be featured at the reception, and he himself will be on hand, Bankwell officials said. Select adoptable dogs also will be there, and partner rescue organizations for the project include Animal Haven, ROAR, STARelief and Pet Assistance, Stamford Animal Shelter, Red Leash Rescue, Strays & Others, Little Black Dog Rescue, One More Dog Rescue, Sunshine Golden Retriever and the CT Humane Society.

Pet Pantry on Grove Street also is providing a complimentary gift basket for the home of any pet adopted during the program and, together with Bankwell branch locations, will serve as a collection point for CT Humane Society “wish list” items (scroll down on this page to view).

Adam Jacobson, Pet Pantry’s executive vice president, said the local family-owned business is “always looking to partner with other business leaders to better serve the communities we operate in.”

“Being both a client of Bankwell and pet lovers as well, we jumped at the opportunity to support their Pet Adoption Project as a drop off location for donations to the CT Humane Society,” he said. “Every dog adopted through this initiative will also receive a welcome gift from Pet Pantry filled with some essentials including a gift certificate from us.’

They’ll also get a free 30-minute consultation with a professional trainer, French said.

“I think that will be really helpful because for a lot of people when you adopt a dog, you are uncertain of their habits and their past,” she said. “This creates a support system where people can learn how to work with your dog and communicate with them so it’s a really seamless transition.”

The bank is going even further, donating $100 to the CT Humane Society for anyone who opens a Bankwell personal checking account with direct deposit during March and April, while the project is running.

“It’s a way that we can give back, in more ways than one, so we can create awareness for these local shelters that have these dogs and cats that are so ready to be adopted and are looking for homes,” French said of the project.

Bankwell is putting much of its marketing muscle behind the effort—through billboards, ads and press releases—and has left it to the rescue groups to decide which animals will be featured.

“We really wanted to show the community how many dogs and cats are looking for homes in our neighborhoods, how easy the process is, and how they are equally cute and lovable where you do not have to spend an insane amount of money going to a breeder,” French said.

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