WESTFIELD – Terri Kutayli has been a “huge animal lover” since her childhood so volunteering at the Westfield Regional Animal Shelter
is a perfect fit for her free time.
“Animals need a voice, an advocate,” she said during a recent interview with Reminder Publications
at the shelter on Apremont Way.
Kutayli and Kelly Thibodeau, both of Westfield, are co-chairing a tag sale on Aug. 22 and 23 to benefit the shelter.
“We raised close to $2,000 at our tag sale last year so we hope to double that amount this year,” she said.
The no-kill shelter can house up to 25 dogs and on the afternoon of Aug. 15, there were several four-legged canines including Reba, a Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua mix, Osiris, a Cairn Terrier Poodle mix, Jupiter, a pit bull, and Frampton, a Shar-Pei pit bull mix, all eager to be taken home by a loving family.
“Frampton was found tied to a tree at the Paper Mill School,” said Kutayli, noting that he has been at the shelter since July 7. In contrast, Major, a pit bull, has been at the shelter since last October.
“Our goal is to get dogs out of the shelter faster,” she said, adding that a professional trainer visits the shelter on a regular basis and works with the dogs on “manners and behavioral issues” if necessary.
The shelter, which serves Westfield, West Springfield and Agawam, boasts 150 volunteers who are dedicated to a variety of tasks including cleaning the kennels, walking the dogs, and providing companionship.
“We like to provide a lot of interaction for the dogs through games which keeps them mentally healthy too,” said Kutayli.
As Kutayli surveyed the storage containers with tag sale donations to date, she noted that the tag sale tables will be set up from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and will be grouped by category. She expects tables to be brimming with housewares, sporting equipment, items for pets, and a lot of children’s toys, games and books. There is also a variety of indoor and outdoor furniture that will be available for sale. Kutayli noted that they are not accepting clothing, electronics or televisions for the sale.
Tag sale items can be dropped off at the shelter weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. On the sale days, tents will be provided in case of inclement weather.
“Our shelter will also be open during the sale days so we encourage everyone to stop in to see our site and our dogs up for adoption,” she said.
For area residents who might not have tag sale items to donate but would like to make a donation, high quality canned dog food, blankets, Kong
toys, tennis balls, stainless steel dishes, bath towels and smooth peanut butter are among a “wish list” of items on a bulletin board as one enters the shelter. Monetary donations are also welcomed as well as gift cards from Petco
and Home Depot
Persons interested in volunteering their time are also encouraged to stop by the shelter or call 564-3129 for more information. The shelter is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
“When I walk away after volunteering at the shelter I feel great knowing I made a difference,” said Kutayli.