‘We Love Animals’: Local Girl Scouts Buy Materials for New Fence at Shelter

Asked about what spurred Girl Scouts Troop 198 to purchase the materials needed to enclose an area at the New Canaan Animal Shelter with a chain link fence, NCHS freshman Amanda Hill has a ready answer: “We love animals.”

That love drove Hill and her fellow Girl Scouts to purchase a dryer for the shelter last year, so that the dogs and cats could get dried off immediately after returning to the Lakeview Avenue shelter—say, after Kleinschmitt or a member of her staff took them for a quick, leashed walk. But when she’d take them for those walks, Kleinschmitt “always had to take them far around and by the dump and couldn’t really train them, because they always had to be on leashes,” Hill said on a recent afternoon and she and other members of Troop 198 gathered with Kleinschmitt in front of the fence, recently installed at the Lakeview Avenue shelter with the help of the New Canaan Department of Public Works. “So we thought if we gave her an outdoor area, she would be able to walk and train the dogs,” Hill said. For Kleinschmitt, the fence not only delivers new functionality to the shelter, but also enhances its aesthetics—creating an even nicer place for prospective parents to adopt the lost or abandoned pets that end up there. “First of all, we can put plants in front of here and it will look nicer for people who are coming either to pick up their dogs or for people who want to adopt a dog,” said Kleinschmitt, who will retire at the end of September.

Pet-Loving Girl Scouts Fund Purchase of Dryer for New Canaan Animal Shelter, Plan Future Projects

For these many years, whenever a dry towel or blanket was needed for a dog or cat at the New Canaan Police Department shelter, Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt had to wait for the item to hang-dry from its last use—a worrying prospect in the damp shelter, where animals must be dried regularly after walks. Sometimes it’s raining, as it has been this week, and even when it’s not, the grounds outside the shelter at the Lakeview Avenue Transfer Station often are dusted with the salt that the Highway Department uses, and if it isn’t washed off, the animals can get sores on their paws. Thanks to a group of dog- and cat-loving Saxe Middle School girls, warm and dry towels are now just minutes away for Kleinschmitt. “I am so excited about having this dryer,” Kleinschmitt said Tuesday, leaning against the shelter’s newly installed appliance and surrounded by members of Girl Scouts Troop 198 as a Nor’easter raged outside. Following a field visit with Kleinschmitt at the shelter in the spring, the seven girls in the Troop decided to use their cookie money to fund the purchase of the dryer.